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YOU SHOULD KNOW: How to cook a turkey

From fried to smoked, we (and the Food Network) have got you covered!

TYLER, Texas — With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's important to know the different ways to cook a turkey!

From fried to smoked, we (and the Food Network) have got you covered!

SMOKED TURKEY - Recipe from Bobby Flay 

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh whole turkey (15 to 17 pounds), patted dry with paper towels
  • Canola oil, for brushing 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  •  2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Wood chips (such as hickory, apple or pecan wood) soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours; a charcoal grill or smoker 

Directions:

  1. Remove the turkey from the fridge and allow to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill or smoker for indirect heat, at approximately 275 degrees F. Sprinkle in wood chips (such as hickory, apple or pecan wood) that have soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours, and allow them to char before cooking.
  3. Place the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Brush the entire turkey with the oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the turkey in the grill or smoker and cook for 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix together the chicken stock, honey and vinegar. Baste the turkey after cooking for 45 minutes. Repeat the basting every 45 minutes until the internal temperature of the thigh registers 165 degrees F and the breast registers 155 degrees F, about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the bird.
  6. Remove the turkey to a large cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

DEEP-FRIED TURKEY - Recipe from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 6 quarts hot water 
  • 1 pound kosher salt 
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar 
  • 5 pounds ice 
  • 1 (13 to 14-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
  •  Approximately 4 to 4 1/2 gallons peanut oil* (See Cook's Note below)

Directions:

  1. Place the hot water, kosher salt and brown sugar into a 5-gallon upright drink cooler and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Add the ice and stir until the mixture is cool. Gently lower the turkey into the container. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure that it is fully immersed in the brine. Cover and set in a cool dry place for 8 to 16 hours.
  2. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.
  3. Place the oil into a 28 to 30-quart pot and set over high heat on an outside propane burner with a sturdy structure. Bring the temperature of the oil to 250 degrees F. Once the temperature has reached 250, slowly lower the bird into the oil and bring the temperature to 350 degrees F. Once it has reached 350, lower the heat in order to maintain 350 degrees F. After 35 minutes, check the temperature of the turkey using a probe thermometer. Once the breast reaches 151 degrees F, gently remove from the oil and allow to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to carving. The bird will reach an internal temperature of 161 degrees F due to carry over cooking. Carve as desired.

Cook’s Note:

*In order to determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey into the pot that you will be frying it in, add water just until it barely covers the top of the turkey and is at least 4 to 5 inches below the top of the pot. This will be the amount of oil you use for frying the turkey.

Make sure you follow safety protocols for frying a turkey outlined by the U.S. Fire Administration.

ROASTED TURKEY - Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 12- to 14-pound turkey (thawed if frozen) 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 onion, quartered 
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks 
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into chunks 
  • 3 sprigs sage, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves 
  • 3 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves 
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter 
  • 2 teaspoons paprika 

Classic Gravy:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed 
  • Turkey neck and giblets (liver discarded) 
  • 1 onion, quartered 
  • 1 carrot, chopped 
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, plus more as needed 
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • Turkey pan drippings 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Let the turkey sit at room temperature, 30 minutes. Position an oven rack in the lowest position (remove the other racks); preheat to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and set aside for the gravy. Pat the turkey very dry with paper towels and rub inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the onion, carrot, celery, and sage and thyme sprigs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Put the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan and tuck the wings under the body.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat; whisk in the paprika and chopped sage and thyme. Let the paprika butter cool slightly, then brush all over the turkey. Transfer to the oven and roast 1 hour. Meanwhile, make Classic Gravy.
  4. After the turkey has roasted 1 hour, baste with the drippings. Continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 2 more hours.
  5. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before carving; reserve the drippings for the gravy.

Classic Gravy:

  1. Prepare the stock: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the turkey neck and giblets; cook, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves; stir to coat. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup; reserve the saucepan. You should have 7 cups stock-if you're short, add more broth.
  2. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in the reserved saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the 7 cups stock; bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside until the turkey is done.
  3. Pour the turkey pan drippings into a fat separator and let stand until the fat rises to the top. Discard the fat (or drizzle on your stuffing). Whisk the defatted drippings into the gravy; season with salt and pepper. Reheat before serving.

SLOW-COOKER PULLED TURKEY - Recipe from Trisha Yearwood

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder  
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika  
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper  
  • 3 medium onions, quartered  
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled  
  • 1 bone-in skin-on whole turkey breast (about 6 pounds), rinsed and dried 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix the salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and pepper until well combined. Put the onions in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker with the garlic cloves.
  2. Slowly work your fingers under the skin of the turkey breast to separate the skin from the breast, being careful not to tear the skin. Rub the butter under the skin, covering the entire breast as evenly as possible, then rub the outside of the skin with the garlic powder mixture.
  3. Place the turkey breast on top of the onions and garlic in the slow cooker and set the slow cooker to low. Cook until the meat is falling apart, 6 to 8 hours depending on the size of the breast.
  4. Remove the turkey and any bones from the slow cooker. Pull the meat off of the bone and place the turkey back into the juices left in the slow cooker. Using 2 forks, shred the meat in the juices and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Happy cooking, East Texas!

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