Canada meal kits Investigate Google Trends data to determine which method remains popular when it comes to cooking turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
They found that the search terms “how to cook turkey” and “turkey recipes” peaked during the holiday season in both America and Canada. This suggests that home cooks, or people who want to take charge of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, will want to know what other methods are available for preparing the bird.
Despite new developments in cooking technology with kitchen appliances available to consumers, home cooks still prefer to go the traditional route when cooking turkey.
1. Turkey brine (brine)
Soaking in salt water is a method used to counteract dryness, especially with poultry such as turkey.
There are two fermentation methods, dry or wet. Wet brine is a traditional method where a raw turkey is submerged in brine for at least eight hours to help the turkey absorb more moisture and become tender due to the salt content.
The basic brine is made up of water and salt. Adding herbs and spices to a brewing solution can also help boost flavor with minimal effort, which is why it’s still a popular method.
2. Spatchcock / The Butterfly
Spatchcocking is a method that significantly reduces the cooking time of a turkey or chicken by creating a larger surface area that can cook the meat quickly.
This is done by removing the backbone and then squeezing and flattening the bird so that it resembles a butterfly.
This method allows the bird to cook evenly and become crispy because all of the skin is exposed to the heat of the oven.
3. A smoker
Smoking is the third most common method used to cook turkey. Smoked turkey requires no extra time to ensure that the meat is cooked to a safe temperature.
This method is a “set and forget” method, where you leave the bird for a few hours to cook without having to check on it too much, which could explain why it’s so popular.
The holiday season can be especially busy in the kitchen, and this method doesn’t occupy the oven, leaving it free to use for other dishes.
4. Dry brine
Dry brine is an easier alternative to its wet counterpart because it does not require large amounts of water.
The ingredients are similar to a wet brine, but the method is different. Salt and spices should be rubbed directly on the bird, then let the bird dry in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
This method uses the turkey’s own moisture, in addition to the salt, to help tenderize and moisten the meat. Since the skin of the bird is dry, once cooked in the oven, it will result in a crispy skin.
5. Toaster oven
Roasting is becoming less popular because it can take a long time and dry out the meat. Oven roasted turkey requires more preparation and roasting time. Because there is no moisture and the heat is constant, parts of the bird can cook faster than others resulting in dry meat.
One way to combat this is to baste the turkey frequently at least every 30 minutes or cover the turkey breast with compound butter or bacon to prevent any drying out. Another method is to stuff the inside of the bird with stuffing or vegetables, which will add more moisture internally.
Turkey frying was very popular in the 70’s. It can result in a golden bird with crispy skin and juicy flesh. Compared to other methods, it is one of the quickest ways to cook a turkey, but it does require marinating beforehand to provide some extra flavor and tenderness.
Once the turkey has been drained of the brine and drained, it can be placed in a very large pot of oil to cook. The basic cooking method for fried turkey is to cook the bird for three to four minutes per pound at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
It should be noted that fried turkey can be dangerous to cook and should be cooked outside to prevent any fires. In America, fire departments are responding to at least 1,000 fires caused by deep fryers. To ensure the turkey is cooked safely, make sure the bird is completely thawed and dried, if not in brine.
7. Air fried
Air fryers have grown in popularity over the years, garnering a global search volume of 3.1 million, so it’s inevitable that consumers will try to cook their own turkey in the Air-Fryer this holiday season.
Although air fryers have become a popular tool used to cook whole roasts, they may not be the most efficient. Due to the size of general air fryers, some turkey fryers will most likely not fit, resulting in the bird being cut into smaller pieces for even cooking.
If you are using an air fryer, you will have to make sure that there is enough space for the hot air to circulate.
8. Grilled / BBQ
Roasting or grilling a turkey provides juicy meat and a smoky flavor, however it requires seasoning to provide additional flavor and tenderness.
In addition to providing extra room for other dishes, broiling or grilling is a great healthy way to cook meat and poultry and requires less fat than other traditional methods.
No matter what new cookware is available to consumers and home cooks, such as combi ovens and air fryers that shorten cooking times and can prevent meats from drying out, home cooks will still go the traditional route with bringing in moist turkey for their holiday dinner. However, this data shows that there is interest in other cooking methods.