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Five fabulous new ways to cook your Thanksgiving turkey

credit: William Berry/staff

credit: William Berry/staff

All those fancy cooks at the New York Times are proposing exciting  ways to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. Why shove your bird into the oven on a roasting pan, they ask, when you know that’s just a one-way ticket to the ho hums?

According to the New York Times, you should STEAM your turkey.

But if that’s too much work, then you should BRAISE the bird or — better yet — SPATCHCOCK the sucker.

We will not be outdone by those commonplace techniques here at the AJC. If you really want to impress guests far beyond any way they might be momentarily wowed by a New York Times turkey, may we propose one of these five exciting new preparation methods:

  1. Tie it to your exhaust manifold: Nothing could be simpler. Wrap the turkey in sage leaves and then chicken wire and then heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drive to Whole Foods (the one in Birmingham) to pick up your sides and desserts, and you will have one beautiful bird by the time you roll back into Atlanta.
  2. Go Japanese!: What could be more pristine and elegant (not to mention time saving) than turkey sashimi? Present the raw turkey to your guests, then cut translucently thin slices with a very sharp knife. You may want to have stuffing and seaweed on the table for do-it-yourself turkey sushi rolls. Fun and healthy.
  3. Wrap the turkey in clay: This is the method preferred by the pre-Columbian ancients for their Thanksgiving feasts. (And please don’t question my chronology: I was a history major and I know what I’m taking about.) Season the bird well and then cover it in a thick, sealed shell of clay. You roast it for three hours and then crack the shell at the table! The aroma alone will drive your guests insane. I have to admit I tested this technique with blue modeling clay I bought at Michael’s and it wasn’t totally terrific. But this recipe has potential, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it.
  4. Sear it over an oven burner: Why cook the turkey in your oven when space is at a premium? You’ve got so many pies and casseroles vying for space, right? So simply sear the turkey right on the burner. This technique works best with gas burners, but electric elements will do in a pinch. The searing locks in the juices in a way that people who steam their  turkeys could only dream of. Added bonus: fabulously charred skin. Just one caveat: we do not recommend this technique for stuffed turkeys.
  5. Go molecular and spherify your turkey: It’s time for advanced cooking science to get an invitation to the Thanksgiving dinner table, and here’s how. Take any size turkey and mince it, bones an all. Cover this with water and simmer at the lowest heat level possible for three days. Honestly, my home oven doesn’t quite get low enough for this technique, so we all took turns warming the broth with the radiated heat from curling irons. It did eventually begin to reduce. When the liquid has reduced by 98.3%, add a pinch of xanthan gum powder and reverse spherify using the kit you mail ordered from Spain. Serve with mother of pearl handled spoons. When these babies pop in your mouth, it is the essence of Thanksgiving.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

17 comments Add your comment

FM Fats

November 19th, 2012
11:02 am

e call our brined Kosher bird “Turschmucken”.

Cheryl Rankin

November 19th, 2012
11:29 am

I can’t wait to read all the outraged comments from people who try some of these hints. LOL!


November 19th, 2012
11:30 am

How about turkey sous vide? Of course you needed to start it last week…

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November 19th, 2012
12:51 pm

I don’t think any of these methods would work, or would be delicious.


November 19th, 2012
1:11 pm

Turkey sashimi? That sounds like instant food poisoning. They’re notoriously bacteria-laden.


November 19th, 2012
1:17 pm

Great idea for molecular, but I think that I would use liquid nitrogen — it would be finished in a flash!


November 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

oh please people………don’t you know a joke when you see one????


November 19th, 2012
1:48 pm

How about wrapping the turkey in foil, putting it in the engine compartment and driving twice around I285 or until the succulent smell of turkey comes through your dash vents.


November 19th, 2012
3:30 pm

1. Get ahold of some uranium fuel rods.
2. … Never mind.

Great piece, John. It seems to me that until the last 10-15 years or so, just about every American cook had been doing some variation of shoving a whole Thanksgiving turkey in the oven. Now, every celebrity chef and wanna-be is seemingly reaching for “the next big thing” in Thanksgiving turkey. Okay, brining–I get it. Frying–I get it. Enough. I wish they would leave the culinary one-upsmanship and relentless pursuit of perfection in Kitchen Stadium while we at home enjoy the simple annual tradition of roast turkey more or less in the same way generations have cooked it.


November 19th, 2012
4:00 pm

Jimmy, Kar…. You two should be taken out barred from commenting on anything on the ajc or having an opinion on anything in life. Dumb people are always good for a laugh


November 19th, 2012
5:34 pm

Darn, I was hoping for a recipe for turkey confit.

[...] HintsPatch.comThanksgiving Recipes: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Pies And More (PHOTOS)Huffington PostAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -Glamour (blog) -Natural Standard Blog (blog)all 231 news articles » Read more [...]


November 20th, 2012
8:01 am

I’m cooking our turkey in our furnace that way the whole house will smell of Thanksgiving well into 2013. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Legal Department

November 20th, 2012
4:54 pm

John, come see us about this posting please. Now. Thanks.


November 21st, 2012
7:54 pm

Now I can be thankful for the laughter I enjoyed reading this article. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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