Over the last decade I’ve learned some valuable lessons when it comes to the home. For example if a guy says “Trust me, I can figure it out….” don’t. If a product has an 8 week lead time, don’t procrastinate until 8 weeks before you need it to order it. Another very valuable lesson is that if your oven is going to fail it will most likely happen the day before Christmas or the day before Thanksgiving. That is why it is always good to have a plan “B”. I’ve compiled this list of alternate ways to cook your turkey.
The deep fried turkey is a far cry from healthy, but I doubt that matters much for a holiday where the goal is to eat so much you pass out on the couch. The best place to do this is outside if available. There are many different recipes for how to deep fry a turkey, but make sure you have a deep fryer and plenty of peanut oil or vegetable oil just in case. The usual cooking time is less than an hour, which is a plus.
ON THE GRILL
Although not the most traditional way to prepare a turkey, it can be very juicy and very simple to prepare. After all, isn’t a grill really nothing more than an outdoor oven? A metal box with a heat source? There are a number of good recipes out there, such as this one from Sunset Magazine. With 30 minutes of prep and about 1.5 hours of cooking time this leaves the chef with plenty of time left over to be a social host.
Kamado cooking is nothing new, and is quite a versatile way to cook. Archaeologists have discovered clay cooking pots and stoves in every part of the world. Some of the earliest dated by archaeologists to be over 3000 years old have been found in China and over 4000 years in Indus Valley Civilization, India. Some kamados have dampers and draft doors for better heat control. Clay stoves have evolved in many different ways across the globe, the tandoor for example in India, and in Japan the mushikamado is designed to steam rice and is used by Japanese families for ceremonial occasions. The most common fuel is natural lump charcoal, not the processed manufactured stuff (sorry Kingsford lovers).
One of the most popular Kamado cookers is the Big Green Egg. Any appliance whose diehard fans fans willingly call themselves “Eggheads” and travel to various locations everywhere for “Eggfest” must be doing something right.
DUTCH OVEN TURKEY
For anyone who’s camped with the Boy Scouts, you’ve no doubt enjoyed a whole array of tasty treats from a dutch oven. Of course, a well prepared outdoor chef can use a dutch oven for more than cobblers and campfire chili. A little seasoning and some lit coals, and you have yourself a new twist on a holiday classic.
Sous-vide is French for “under vacuum”. This is a method of cooking in which the chef seals the food in airtight plastic bags. He then places the bags in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for longer than normal cooking times. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture. This recipe is great because it can be cooked up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It’s also much faster than roasting a turkey, and the herbs and seasonings will infuse right into the meat.
Remember these options if you find yourself without an oven this coming holiday season. There’s more than one way to cook a turkey.