4 Alternative Ways to Prepare Thanksgiving Turkey

Cooking Thanksgiving turkey

So, you’re hosting Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s your first time, or perhaps this isn’t your first “Turkey Day” rodeo. Either way, you know the bird is the star of the show. But how to prepare it? Tradition stipulates the typical oven-roasted method. However, cooking an entire bird that way can be very daunting, especially for greenhorns. If that’s the way you want to go, we recommend contacting the highly knowledgeable and friendly folks at Butterball. If you’ve got crazy questions about how to roast your Thanksgiving Turkey, they’ve got all the answers. Contact them via hotline, chat, email, and text. But you’re here because you’re thinking about going rogue and making your turkey some alternative way. We admire your rebellious nature! Here’s how to go about making it great.

First, ditch the bird and get a breast

Yep, we recommend NOT getting a whole bird. Sure, a whole bird can make a great impression but do you really want to take the time to clean and dress it? Or put your hand in the cavity to pull out the packet of giblets? And are you honestly going to make homemade gravy from said giblets? Most people throw that giblet packet away. What a waste! Instead, purchase a nice turkey breast. It’s much more manageable. Plus, a whole turkey breast makes more than enough servings for a small “Friendsgiving” party of four to six. And if you decide to roast it after all, you’ll still have plenty of pan drippings to make a delicious homemade gravy.

1 – Grill it

Calling all grill masters! Cooking your turkey on the grill is not only super-delicious, but it also frees up valuable oven real estate on a day when you need it most. As you know, turkey can be notoriously dry (thus the need for gravy) so be sure to marinate your bird for a few hours before grilling. This delicious recipe for grilled, marinated turkey breast is sure to become a new favorite.

2 – Smoke it

If you have access to a smoker, consider yourself fortunate. There’s something to be said about that delicious pink ring on the meat. As far as the smoke itself is concerned, go for hickory or apple wood chunks for the best flavor. Also, it will be essential to brine your turkey first for this method. Try this recipe for smoked turkey breast, and we bet you make it again and again.

3 – Sous vide it

Sous what it? We hear you. Pronounced “sue-veed,” it’s a method of cooking requires an immersion circulator to cook food in a water bath at an exact temperature. Recently gaining popularity among home cooks, sous vide is a French term that means “under vacuum.” It refers to the food being bagged and vacuum-sealed before being immersed and cooked in hot water. Want the juiciest turkey ever? Cook it this way, and you and your guests will love it.

4 – Pressure cook it

No, not in the old-school, scary, explosion-prone pressure cooker that grandma labored over. We’re talking about the new and improved electric pressure cookers of today. These things have a major cult following, and it’s understandable as to why. It gives the ability to cook delicious food extremely fast and best of all, do so unsupervised. Give this recipe for Instant Pot turkey breast with gravy a try, and you’ll see what we mean.

PS – So, let’s say you forgot to defrost your turkey breast. It’s NBD when you have an electric pressure cooker! It’ll cook that frozen turkey in 50 minutes, not including the time it takes to pressurize and depressurize (which could be about another hour.) Congratulations, you’ve saved the (Thanksgiving) day — and this will give you more time to take a walk through Grant Park (which is why living at Burnett Grant Park is so awesome!)