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Three surprising ways to cook turkey for Thanksgiving

Turkey is the main dish of choice for most Thanksgiving Day meals which is usually roasted and served whole to be sliced. But there are alternatives…

Surprising alternative ways to cook your Thanksgiving turkey

Turkey is the main dish of choice for most Thanksgiving meals with around 88 percent of American households serving a gobbler on the big day. Usually the birds are roasted whole and presented in their full splendor to be carved up at the table.

While not a big fan of radical innovation without first doing some trial runs, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as the saying goes, a tweak here and there usually doesn’t result in disaster, just some constructive criticism from the assembled guests. However, for those that are not faint of heart and looking to take a leap of faith this year, here are some of the more surprising ways that you can cook your turkey.

You might also be interested in: What can I cook for Thanksgiving if I have vegan guests?

Three surprising ways to cook turkey for Thanksgiving

Ideally you want you’re the turkey that you serve to be tender and moist on the inside with crispy skin on the outside. And of course, be succulent. There are many ways to prepare a turkey besides just roasting it, some are much stranger than others and some ways you need to proceed with extreme caution.

Deep-fried turkey

Those looking to enjoy crispy skin and tasty, moist meat can try deep frying their Thanksgiving turkey. However, not piece by piece and battered, although that is an option too, but the whole bird in one piece. The Kitchn provides a ‘How to Deep-Fry Turkey: The Terrified Beginner’s Guide’ for those that would like to attempt this.

But be careful as this method does result in 5 deaths, 60 injuries and around $15 million in property damage every year. So it should go without saying that it is important that you take precautions and have the cooking area in a safe place, far from flammable objects including yourself and others, think Fido. The Reno Fire Department gives a demonstration of just why…

Cooking a turkey in a dishwasher

From the more dangerous side of turkey preparation to the quirkier. Who’d of thought that you could use your dishwasher not only to help with the clean-up but the actual getting the Thanksgiving meal ready. Both at the same time? Well according to chef David Burke you can, at least the cooking part, and it’s “delicious.” He told the Los Angeles Times that you can’t do the bird whole, but a pair of boneless turkey breasts will fit.

Here’s Burke’s recipe for a dishwasher turkey:


  • 2 boneless turkey breasts – 12/14 lbs.
  • 4 tablespoons parsley
  • 3 tablespoons sage
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons thyme
  • 4 tablespoons garlic
  • 4 tablespoons shallots
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons pepper


Combine herbs, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper with olive oil. Rub into turkey breast and cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in tightly-sealed Tupperware and sit on top shelf of dishwasher.

Run dishwasher for 3 full cycles for a total time of about 3 hours and 25 minutes. Let sit for 25 minutes then place under broiler to crisp skin for finish. It should go without saying, the last part without the plastic wrap nor tupperwave.

Beer-can turkey

Truly any time of year is a great time to BBQ over an open flame, if you don’t mind braving the elements. And just like with a chicken, you can use a beer can to cook your turkey on the grill saving precious space in the oven for other dishes. Author of 32 cookbooks, Steven Raichlen on his Barbeque Bible webpage provides a recipe for how you too could put your grill to use to prepare this Thanksgiving Day’s turkey.

There are other methods for cooking your turkey using your grill where you don’t have to use a beer can too. Or if you have a smoker, that would also work.

Best of luck to you if you get creative this year and enjoy your Thanksgiving Day meal. Bon appétit!