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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time to Talk Turkey

         This being Thanksgiving and all I'll try to avoid any major controversy. Instead of deep issues of debate, today we'll just gobble at each other on the topic of turkey. Now surely there won't be too much thought here, but I know there are some differing opinions about the best way to fix turkey. So here is my question for today:

Is Roasting a turkey in the oven the best way to prepare the bird?

          Now I've never had it fixed any other way so I really can't  say for sure, so I'm just going to argue not from the standpoint from how it tastes and all, but from the practicality.  I've heard it said that deep frying the turkey is the absolute best way to fix it. Supposedly it comes out moister and more flavorful so maybe some of you who swear by that method can confirm that point. My argument against doing it that way starts with the deep fryer equipment.  I don't know what else you could use these big deep fryers for unless you're making massive batches of french fries.  I believe you have to use them outside, so if the weather's good it's not too much of a problem, but if it's really cold I wouldn't want to be outside deep frying a turkey.  But I understand they cook pretty fast by that method and actually if you were standing by all that hot oil you probably wouldn't get that cold.  But I tell you, all that hot oil sounds kind of dangerous to me.

         Also, it's got to use an awful lot of oil. I don't know, but maybe 15 or 20 gallons.  Firstly that seems like an expensive way to cook the turkey.  Do you reuse that oil or do you have to just dump it?  And where do you dump it?  I guess you could clean or filter it or whatever and use it in a car that's been converted to use cooking oil, but how many of us have that?

         Another method I've heard people tout is smoking.  Well, once again you got to have the smoker. Now I can think of a lot of things to smoke.  I love bar-b-que and a smoker would probably be great for that.  But on the other hand don't you have to buy a bunch of special wood like hickory or something?  And doesn't all that smoke contribute to air pollution?  Can you imagine what it would look like if everyone smoked their turkeys on Thanksgiving?  It might smell kind of good but then again it might be hard to breathe.

          I suppose you could do something like boil the turkey, but I guess that might be better if you were making turkey soup. Yeah, throw in a bunch of vegetables then add some rice and you might have some darn good turkey rice soup, but you're not going to have any Thanksgiving dinner.

           No, to my thinking there's no better way to fix that turkey than in the oven.  It may take longer but you can mostly just leave it in the oven and forget about it for a few hours. Well, except for all that turkey cooking smell that starts whetting everybody's appetite.  Of course, I'm not thrilled about the pan you have to clean afterwards, that is if you don't use a disposible pan. Then again, I've had the pan be such a mess I throw it out so I don't have to wash it.

           The oven turkey, if cooked properly, comes out moist and tasty.  And you got to have the oven going anyway for all the casseroles, dressings, pies, and dinner rolls so you might as well be cooking the turkey at the same time.

           So what do you think?  In the oven?  Deep fryer?  Smoker?  Microwave?  What's your choice cooking method for turkey? 



  1. I used to work the early shift at a hotel, so was home by 10 am or so. I was supposed to put the turkey in the oven, but fell asleep on the couch, and when my parents got home the turkey should have been in the oven for 2 or 3 hours by then.

    What saved us? Convection oven. Cooked it in half the time. Thanksgiving saved. Win!

  2. You gotta try the deep fried. We're talking two gallons of oil at the most, if that much, just enough to cover the turkey. The chicken or turkey is very moist and flavorful. The time is the big factor. I had the deep fried at work for the employee luncheon and oven cooked today. When you pull the fried skin off the turkey, it's moist and doesn't taste greasy! Rent one and give it a try!

  3. Simon
    Yes I've heard of that convection oven. I think my mother has one. I don't have any experience with using one.

    I keep hearing how moist and delicious deep fried turkeys are. I just picture a huge fryer filled with a lot of oil needed to cook a 15 or 20 lb turkey. Hopefully I get invited to someone's house sometime who's an experienced turkey frier.


  4. Lee, the best turkey I ever tasted was cooked for me by my daughter. It was done in a Weber. Do you have those in the States? It's a big round BBQ covered by a high domed lid. The bird sits on an open grill & underneath are the glowing coals...(you can add eucalyptus leaves if you're in OZ, or hickory if in the USofA to get that smokey taste). Roast covered, adding all your veggies wrapped in alfoil about an hour before the bird is done. It's delish...a crispy golden bronze with lovely chunks of roasted vegetables to accompany, except for the sweet potato which is mashed and of course the greens. Hope you had a Happy Day !

  5. White Dove:
    We do have the Weber grills here. I love meats cooked on a grill and I love the smoky taste. What you're talking about really sounds good.

  6. I love my oven roasted turkey - not much that's better than that!

    I have eaten deep fried turkey - while camping. Friends have a deep fryer. It hardly takes any time at all - tastes ok too.

  7. Jemi,
    The cooking speed issue is one of the big frying advantages I've heard. For many years I've been "brining" my turkey, or soaking it for a couple days in saltwater. I always start cooking the turkey, per normal instructions, early in the morning, but it's always done way before our midday meal. A turkey cooks much faster by the method and turns out tasty and moist, not salty like I might have expected.


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