Many people have their favorite ways to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. Long standing traditions. However, not everyone has discovered their turkey jam. In addition, others are cooking a big bird for the first time this year.

The big question faced every year around this time, is how to cook a turkey. It’s a phrase that over the past 30 days has increased in Google searches by 233% according to the folks at Meal Kits Canada.

Cook a turkey

It’s time to figure out how you are going to prepare your Thanksgiving Day turkey, if you are cooking this year.

They found that the search term “How to cook a Turkey” and “Turkey recipes” peaked around the holiday season in both America and Canada. The conclusion is more home cooks want to discover more ways to prepare their bird.

Despite new advances in cooking technology with kitchen gadgets that are available, home cooks still prefer to go the traditional route when cooking a Turkey.

Ways to cook a turkey

Frying is the 6th most searched for. It can result in a golden bird with crispy skin and juicy meat. It does require brining prior to cooking and the hot oil can cause a hazard for some.

Air-frying is the 7th most searched. One thing to watch out for. Many turkeys do not fit into a typical air-fryer and cooking can be uneven.

Grilling a turkey is the 8th most searched method.  A marinade is needed to ensure flavor and tenderness. It also frees up the oven to cook all the delicious side dishes.

If cooking a turkey isn’t in the cards for you this year, consider dining out. Here are some Southwest Florida restaurants serving special meals for the holiday.

When it comes to favorite ways to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, here are the top five searches this season.

  • #5 Oven Roasted

    Roasting has become less popular as it can be time consuming and dry out meat. Oven roasted Turkey’s require more prep and basting time. As there is no moisture, and the heat is consistent, parts of the bird can cook quicker than others resulting in dry meat.

    One way to combat this is to consistently baste the Turkey at least every 30 minutes or covering the Turkey breast with a compound butter or bacon to prevent any drying out. Another method would be to stuff the inside of the bird with stuffing or vegetables, which adds more moisture internally.

  • #4 Dry Brining

    Dry brining 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. The salt and spices need to be directly rubbed onto the bird and then letting the bird dry in the fridge for at least 8 hours.  

    This method uses the Turkey’s own moisture, as well as the salt, to help tenderize and moisten the meat. Since the skin of the bird is dried out, once cooked in the oven, it will result in crispy skin.  

  • #3 Smoked

    Smoking is the third most popular method used to cook a Turkey. Smoked Turkey does require more time to ensure the meat is cooked and has reached 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 often, which can explain why it is popular. 

    The holiday season can be hectic especially in the kitchen, and this method does not occupy the oven, leaving it free to be used for other dishes.  

  • #2 Spatchcock or Butterfly

    Spatchcocking is a method that reduces cooking time of a Turkey or Chicken drastically by creating more surface area that can cook the meat quickly. 

    It is done by removing the backbone and then pressing down and flattening the bird so it resembles a butterfly.  

    This method allows the bird to cook evenly and become crispier due to all the skin being exposed to the heat of the oven.  

  • #1 Wet Brine

    Brining is a method used to counteract dryness, especially with poultry such as Turkey. 

    There are two types of brining methods, dry or wet. The wet brine is a traditional method where the raw turkey is submerged in a brining solution for at least eight hours to help the Turkey to take in more moisture and become tender due to the salt content. 

    A basic brining solution consists of water and salt. Adding herbs and spices to your brining solution can also help boost flavor with minimum effort, which is why it remains a popular method.