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How to Cook a Turkey? Let Me Count the Ways

The internet offers a treasure trove of versatile turkey cooking methods.

If you’re like me, you’re happily thinking up side dishes while leaving the turkey prep to someone more willing, capable and in possession of a larger oven. If, however, you find yourself in the role of host and master of the bird, you may be in search of a few different takes on turkey this year. Here are a few traditional and non-traditional recipes we found to help get your Turkey Day preparations set and your bird table-ready.

The Food Network’s Alton Brown brings us this fairly simple (for a whole turkey) and by-the-book recipe, which uses a brine peppered with allspice berries and candied ginger, and takes about 10 hours of total cooking time, not including defrosting.

Just the name of this recipe made my mouth water. A www.AllRecipes.com user contributes this Greek take on turkey, which incorporates ground beef and pork, along with tangerine juice, rice and other ingredients into an in-bird stuffing. This one requires no pre-made brine.

Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for a Cajun-spiced turkey is not for those looking for a simple roast bird this Thanksgiving. It calls for the equipment and safety precautions necessary to deep fry a good-sized bird, but for those looking for a little extra spice and adventure this year, this may be the perfect alternative to the oven. The results will undoubtedly be delicious, but be sure to heed the safety tips at the bottom of the recipe before attempting this one. If you want the Cajun flavors without the hassle, risk and calories of deep-frying, try this recipe from Jimmy Bannos.

This recipe calls for the use of a turkey breast roast, but variations can probably be worked out fairly easily with a smaller whole bird or even diced meat for a stir-fry or bake. I’ve made chicken dishes with a very similar yogurt marinade to this and the key is letting the meat soak up the sauce overnight. The flavors are intense and aromatic, and will definitely lend themselves to a unique Thanksgiving meal.

This recipe’s name and its use of whiskey intrigued me. Fairly simple prep and a flavorful blend of unconventional ingredients make this dish sound delicious and feasible. Check out the chef’s note following the recipe to see how to make this recipe a bit quicker and easier by using a crock pot. Some of the user comments also have great ideas for stuffings using the same components.

One of the best parts of cooking is tweaking a recipe to make it your own, so have fun improvising on these and other favorite recipes this Thanksgiving!

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