Saturday Just for Fun: Talking Turkey

Heather says:

Brined, oven roasted, smoked, deep fried. There are plenty of options out there, but I want to know is how you do your Thanksgiving turkey and where you got your inspiration.

Do you cook your turkey because that’s how it’s always been done in your family? Or have you experimented over the years until you found what you love best?

In our house our favorite is deep fried, so that’s our go-to on Thanksgiving day. The extra room in the oven is just an added bonus.

With turkeys being so cheap around the holiday, we usually throw a few extra in the deep freeze to use at other points in the year.

What about you? Is Thanksgiving the only time you have turkey? If so, why?

The comments are wide open, jump in.


  1. simplyD on November 23, 2010 at 9:38 am

    We've been the route of deep frying a turkey, and even though it was absolutely delicious, I hate to even think about what it did to our waistlines. Smoked turkey would be our 2nd choice for the best tasting turkey, but once again there's the long preparation and constant stoking of the wood and coals through the night prior to the feast, and buying one already smoked just doesn't cut it. This year it's going to be just oven roasted, but I really would like to see if the cheesecloth helps keep the meat from getting too dry. We'll see!! πŸ™‚

  2. Richelle on November 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    We don't have turkey for Thanksgiving. We go to my parents house where they smoke duck, salmon and beef. I usually buy turkey during the holiday sale, then cook it in the spring and turn the leftovers into turkey pot pies and tamales. That way we have freezer meals for those busy summer nights!

  3. J Wynia on November 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    My family had a turkey farm when I was younger, raising 14 pound hens. We ate fresh turkey year 'round in pretty much all of the same kinds of things that chicken gets used for.

    I don't make it as often as then, but I make turkey regularly. Most of the time, I cut it up and freeze 1-2 pound portions for use in other recipes.

    One tip I will say is that one of the best deals you'll see for turkeys is the day after Thanksgiving for fresh "never frozen" turkeys. The stores can't freeze them and they go on BIG discounts in most stores on Friday. Some years, I buy 2 or 3 and run them through the oven in a big cooking day Friday or Saturday and have plenty of quick, cooked turkey in the freezer to throw into recipes for weeknight dinners.

  4. Lucy on November 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

    LOL, I despise turkey and goto great lengths to avoid it. When I was a small child we ate primarily fish and turkey was the second most often served meat. Can't stand either now! I am enjoying following along and plan to apply some of these ideas to (acceptable) chicken.

    • HeatherSolos on November 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

      I can completely understand. It was many years before I could even look at tuna noodle casserole again. πŸ™‚

  5. Sharon LeClair on November 21, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Hi.:) I just started following your blog. πŸ™‚ We only really have turkey once a year. We are not big turkey eating people. We roast it in the oven. I do love cooking.:)

    • HeatherSolos on November 21, 2010 at 9:10 am

      Well hello, Sharon. Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      I believe you'll find there's a wonderful group of people who swing by this site from time to time. I hope you enjoy it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

      • Honeysuckle on May 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm

        Hey, youΒ’re the goto expret. Thanks for hanging out here.

  6. Jenny King on November 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    We stuff it, give it a massage with olive oil and then cook it in the Weber Kettle Barbecue using the indirect method.

    We start the fire by piling 25 charcoal briquettes on each side of the grill and getting them started. We put a catch pan for drippings between those piles, put on the grill and place the turkey over the pan. Cover and cook for 1 hour. Put 10 briquettes on each side and replace cover. Continue cooking and adding 10 briquettes to each side every hour until done; 15 minutes a pound plus 15 minutes if stuffed. Remove turkey and juice pan.

    When making gravy with the juices in the pan, we always add more than triple the volume of broth because the drippings/juices are very strong as-is.

  7. Eugene Mah on November 20, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I have no qualms about roasting up a turkey any time of the year. October-December just happens to be when I do most of them. For the years when I'm really on the ball and not being too lazy, there's the Canadian Thanksgiving turkey in October. The carcass gets recycled into turkey stock, some of which is used for the end-of-October/early-November "Thanksgiving practice turkey". This carcass gets turned into more turkey stock for Christmas turkey and if I'm lucky, I've got enough Christmas turkey leftovers to keep me going for a while until I've recovered enough to do another one.

    One year I tried to do a turkey on my grill with a couple of foil packets of wood chips. Unfortunately I didn't have quite as much gas left in the tank as I thought and ended up running out halfway through. Had to finish in the oven. Still turned out ok though.

    i've been doing the brining thing ever since Good Eats' Romancing the Bird came out. Never failed me yet. One of these days I'll get ambitious enough to try a fried turkey.

  8. Stacy on November 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I've only made a few turkeys and I roasted them. This year, I'm pretty sure we're going to grill it; I have a recipe from a Thanksgiving book I got. We'll see how it goes. Last night I bought our 12-ish pound turkey for about $7, so now I'm definitely thinking I need to go back and get a couple more. The store had a deal that if you bought $25 or more in groceries, you get a big discount on the turkey (it was about $11.50 pre-discount). I'm not actually a big fan of turkey, but it's good enough at that kind of savings. In fact, Thanksgiving food in general is just kind of so-so in my book, but I'm going to try to make most of the usual stuff this year because I'm trying to get over the intimidation I feel about it.

  9. ThatBobbieGirl on November 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Turkeys (and chickens) just get rubbed with butter, sea salt and pepper, then oven roasted or done in my tabletop roaster oven. I just did one this week, then carved it up into a large baking dish, covered it with turkey stock and frozen. It's for tomorrow's dinner with my inlaws.

    My favorite thing about roasting a turkey is making turkey noodle soup afterwards — it's a good memory for me, as my dad would do that every time we roasted turkey at home.

    I makes me die a little inside when I see someone toss a perfectly good turkey/chicken carcass out without making stock with it first. I have been known to save them from being pitched so I can take it home and make my own stock. It was embarrassing the first time only πŸ˜‰

    My son and I are heading to Ohio for Thanksgiving with my sister's family, and our brother & his family are coming as well. I plan to pick up a jar of Hot Dog Relish (basically sweet pickle relish & yellow mustard) so my sister and I can revive our day-after-Thanksgiving tradition of nibbling on cold turkey dipped in hot dog relish, something that was always in mom & dad's fridge for some reason. Memories XD

  10. Joyce on November 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I use the gas grill for my turkeys which leaves the oven free for other things. I use a foil pan lined with a couple of layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Turkey gets basted by laying strips of bacon over the top (learned from a friend's English mother). Bacon needs to be replaced midway so it doesn't burn. Someone is always happy to eat the bacon.

    Leftover turkey doesn't last long. I'm lucky if I can manage to freeze enough for a batch of turkey tetrazini. The carcase goes into a giant ziploc in the freezer till I have time to make stock.

  11. Carol Shive Mirek on November 20, 2010 at 10:49 am

    How does it freeze? Or do you use it to make stuff like soup and turkey pot pie, turkey tacos, etc? We do have a vacuum sealer and love it.

    • HeatherSolos on November 20, 2010 at 11:01 am

      I save the breast meat in slices for eating reheated with mashed potatoes or dressing and it freezes quite well. It's better than say the Hungryman frozen dinners. Is it exactly AS good as the first time? No, but it's still excellent comfort food with no work. Also when thawed, the breast meat works fine for sandwiches.
      The dark meat, thigh, legs, and back I shred into portions for use in tacos, pot pie, jambalaya as you mentioned.
      The skeleton gets turned into stock. If I know I'll be too busy for a week or two to do the stock, I just break it down as much as I can and freeze it in a couple of grocery bags and use it when I have an afternoon free (ish).

  12. Alice Dick on November 20, 2010 at 11:41 am

    We oven roast ours; my mom has tried brining it the last couple of years and it works well. I've had a couple of unfortunate experiences with attempts at smoking turkeys (when I was a guest at someone else's house) and I'm not a fan of the smoking method. As for deep fried, I have always wanted to try a deep fried turkey and there are some places in South Central L.A. that do this as a specialty for Thanksgiving. I have volunteered to order one from there but my mom keeps turning me down. πŸ™‚

  13. Carol Shive Mirek on November 20, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I would love to try a brined turkey, but my sister is in charge of cooking that, so we have to eat what she serves. I enjoy turkey, but we rarely eat it any other time of the year, because it is so big and just making the breasts isn't the same.

    • HeatherSolos on November 20, 2010 at 10:28 am

      Do you have a vacuum sealer? I don't normally recommend them as a cost saving measure, but over the years ours has more than paid for itself. When I cook a meal like roast turkey or I roast an extra chicken (or two!), I portion the leftovers immediately, before we sit down to dinner. (This way I don't fall into the, oh-I'll-get-to-it-laters and waste it). With the turkey or chicken already in dinner sized portions, cooling, it's much easier to seal, label, and toss in the freezer during the after dinner clean up.
      Naturally this isn't a weeknight exercise. πŸ™‚

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