University of Illinois Extension

Cooking Techniques

cooking techniques

There are literally hundreds of ways to cook a turkey and each year new recipes and techniques are created based on trendy regional ingredients and creative cooking methods. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright unsafe. All are designed to tantalize the senses and produce the perfect turkey - moist breast meat, tender legs and thighs, golden brown skin and memorable flavor.

The greatest challenge for new and experienced cooks alike is to avoid the dreaded "dry turkey," which is usually in reference to the white meat of the turkey breast. Because the flavor of turkey marries well with a host of ingredients, turkey can be successfully braised, roasted, grilled, fried, boiled, broiled, barbecued and so on.

Believe it or not, cooking a turkey is not that difficult. Which turkey cooking method chosen is up to the cook, just make sure it is a safe method.

Do not wash the turkey (see Wash Hands: Not the Turkey). Wash hands, utensils, sink and anything else that has come in contact with the raw turkey with hot, soapy water immediately following preparation.

The Good Method

Traditional Roast Turkey (unstuffed)
Traditional Roast Turkey (stuffed)
Oven Cooking Bag Method
Aluminum Foil Wrapped Method
Microwave Oven Method
Braised Method: Covered Roasting Pan
New Orleans Fried Turkey
Grilled Turkey
Marinated Turkey
Brine Method
Spiced Apple Cider Brined Turkey

The Downright Unsafe Methods

Brown Paper Bag Method
Trash Bag Method
Slow-cooking Over Night Method
Turducken Method