Thanksgiving Dinner: Recipes for Roasting, Smoking, and Frying Thanksgiving Turkey

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If you’re still looking for Thanksgiving dinner recipes, or don’t know how to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey, then you’ve come to the right place. The Thanksgiving bird is a traditional dish for Thanksgiving, but how you make it can really add a lot to the Thanksgiving experience.

Whether you do a roast turkey, or are adventurous and deep fry it, making a Thanksgiving turkey can be done in several different ways—you just have to figure out which route you want to take.

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

Frying turkey: Although delicious, frying a turkey has its risks. One pro to frying your turkey is that the cooking time is much less than putting it in the oven. To ensure that you’re safe—and that your turkey comes out well cooked—there are some precautions to take. Ensure the fryer is outdoors and a safe distance away from other flammable materials.

Do not fry your turkey in the garage, as it can cause a lot of smoke. Do not leave the fryer unattended and ensure there are no children around. Avoid overfilling the fryer, and use safety goggles and wear oven mitts. Lastly, make sure that the turkey is completely thawed before dipping it in the fryer.

Roasted turkey: For maximum flavor, get yourself some butter, ranch dressing packets, and of course, the turkey. Cover the turkey with seasonings and simply roast it in a roasting pan. The size of the turkey will determine cooking time: a turkey weighing less than four kilograms will require 20 minutes per kilo, plus 70 minutes at 375 degrees. Turkeys larger than four kilos will need 20 minutes per kilo, with an additional 90 minutes at the same temperature.

Braised turkey: Braising a turkey includes cooking it at a high heat—500 degrees. For flavoring, you can add apple cider, lemon, orange zest, and fresh rosemary. Braising the turkey ensures it comes out golden brown and a bit crispy.

Grilled turkey: For the BBQ lovers out there, you can definitely grill your turkey. Keep your BBQ on a medium-high heat—to ensure the turkey is fully cooked, make sure the internal temperature is 180 degrees. Allow it to stand for 15 minutes and wrap it in foil to keep it moist.

Turkey Defrosting Times

How do you know a turkey is defrosted? Here are some guidelines you can follow based on turkey size.

4 to 12 pounds – 1 to 3 days in refrigerator (2-6 hours in cold water)
12 to 16 pounds – 3 to 4 days in refrigerator (6-8 hours in cold water)
16 to 20 pounds – 4 to 5 days in refrigerator (8-10 hours in cold water)
20 to 24 pounds – 5 to 6 days in refrigerator (10-12 hours in cold water)

Regardless of how you prepare your Thanksgiving turkey, one thing is for sure, you don’t want your guests to become sick as a result. This means taking the necessary measures to ensure that your turkey is well defrosted and well cooked.

It’s a good idea to invest in an internal thermometer that you can insert into the bird to check its internal temperature. Many turkeys also come with devices that will pop-up once the turkey is cooked.

However you cook your Thanksgiving bird, we hope that you enjoy this holiday season among friends, family, and good food.

Drakeford, C., “How To Make A Thanksgiving Turkey 2016: 5 Recipes For Roasting, Smoking, Grilling, Braising and Frying America’s Favorite Holiday Bird,” International Business Times web site, November 22, 2016;, last accessed November 22, 2016.
“Deep fryer fires,” FDNY Smart web site,, last accessed November 22, 2016.