Whole Turkey



Cooking a whole turkey on Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a chore. If you make a plan—for brining, basting and roasting—then there's no need to worry that you'll end up with a dry, disastrous bird. Too often people wing it, which can cause their cooking strategy to unravel. F&W's guide to turkey provides any expert tip you might need, from choosing the right bird to using up all those leftovers. We have recipes for easy brines, flavorful rubs and fast pan-juice gravies. Something tells us that Thanksgiving might actually be stress-free this year.

Most Recent

Essential Smoked Turkey

Smoke, spice, and acid team up to deliver the best smoked turkey you’ve ever tasted. This bird starts its flavor-building journey in a fragrant brine infused with ginger, cardamom, star anise, garlic, and lemon which penetrates and tenderizes the meat. After brining, an herb butter stuffed under the skin sets the turkey up for some beautiful self-basting action, introducing some much-needed fat to the typically lean meat. Finally, the heat and pressure from the smoker push all of these flavors deeper into the turkey, yielding a stunningly burnished bird that will be the talk of your table. Not in the mood for a whole bird? Use this same recipe for two turkey breasts to yield a week or two of amazing sandwiches. Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature inside your smoker and adjust the vents as needed to ensure even cooking.
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Vinegar-Brined Roast Turkey


When Top Chef winner Kristen Kish took over the responsibility of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, she gave her brother the job of roasting the turkey. This recipe, which she taught him, uses cider vinegar as the brine, which tenderizes it and yields flavorful drippings perfect for pan jus.
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Lemon-Pepper Roast Turkey

Getting the turkey on the table at the right time can easily be the most stressful part of Thanksgiving. F&W’s Justin Chapple shares his solution: make it the day before. Yes, make your turkey ahead! It’s actually quite simple: After roasting, let your turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving the entire bird. Arrange the carved turkey on an ovenproof serving platter or in a large baking dish and drizzle with 1 cup of turkey or chicken stock as well as any juices from the pan. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature, then reheat for 20 to 30 minutes in a 375° oven, until hot; remove the foil the last 5 minutes. Slideshow: More Holiday Turkey Recipes
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Clementine-and-Garlic Roast Turkey

To make the tastiest, quicket, easiest jus for turkey, Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple includes juicy clementines and garlic in the roasting pan, adding excellent flavor. Slideshow: More Holiday Turkey Recipes
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Spatchcocked Turkey with Pink Peppercorns and Thyme


This turkey from cookbook author and TV cook Ayesha Curry is moist and juicy with wonderful crisp skin because it’s spatchcocked (the backbone is removed and the bird is flattened before cooking), which allows it to cook evenly. Ask your butcher to spatchcock your turkey for you. Slideshow: More Turkey Recipes
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Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

The bacon bastes the turkey breast as it roasts, keeping it moist. Use applewood- or maple-smoked bacon for extra-smoky flavor. Slideshow: More Turkey Recipes
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More Whole Turkey

Mustard-and-Rosemary Roast Turkey

Because so many people are hesitant to make a whole turkey, cookbook author Melissa Clark suggests roasting the turkey in parts, separating the dark meat from the white meat to guarantee a perfectly cooked bird. Slideshow: More Turkey Recipes
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Anthony Bourdain's Stunt Turkey

Anthony Bourdain’s Thanksgiving turkey is as simple as it gets. He suggests making two birds—one that you can parade at the table, dressed up “like a showgirl, with chop frills and elaborate fruit garnishes on a bed of old-school parsley or kale,” and another that’s already carved in the kitchen, ready to be served.
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