How To Cook A Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving turkey

There are about 45 million turkeys cooked in the US every Thanksgiving

Many of them are not successfully cooked for one or the other reason.

We will help you cook the best and easiest thanksgiving turkey.

There are no big secrets in cooking a turkey or any other poultry like chicken.
follow our guidelines here and I am almost sure that every turkey comes out perfect every time.

Pick the right size turkey

Some people like leftover turkey and I love it too, but it seems that I always had more leftovers than I needed. I found out that using the rule “one pound per person” works perfectly for me.

To cook a turkey I never use a turkey over 18 lbs in my way of cooking. If I need more pounds according to my one lb per person rule I cook 2 turkeys of about the same size.

Frozen or Fresh

This is one of the misconceptions we hear a lot. It is basically a personal choice of what you like to eat.
Frozen can be just as good as fresh when we talk about taste, but they contain a lot of water most of the time.

When you buy fresh you know more about the history of the bird and you can adjust your cooking to this.
Frozen turkeys need to be thawed out the right way. Look at our thawing-out table to have an idea of how long it takes to thaw out a frozen turkey

Fresh turkeys have the tendency to cook a little faster and you need to keep your eye on the internal temperature way before you expect it to be done.
You can always keep it warm. But you don’t want to overcook the Thanksgiving turkey.

Thawing out safely

The best and safest way to thaw out a frozen turkey is in the refrigerator. Place it at the bottom, however.
The leaking fluids contain most of the germs and you do not want them leaking on the other food you have in the fridge.

Other ways I read like running cold water over or using a microwave are not recommended. The chance of contaminating other food is a lot higher.

Frozen turkeys need to be thawed out the right way. Look at our thawing-out table to have an idea of how long it takes to thaw out a frozen turkey.

WeightTime in refrigerator
8 to 10 lbs2 to 3 days
13 to 16 lbs3 to 4 days
17 to 20 lbs4 to 5 days
21 to 24 lbs5 to 6 days

How to cook a Thanksgiving Tukey

Now we come to a very important and also very controversial part of the best Thanksgiving turkey.
How are we going to cook the turkey?

I have used many methods in my life. From deep-frying to cooking in the oven and even on a gas or charcoal grill.
In the last few years, however, there is only one thing I use to cook my Thanksgiving turkeys, and that is an infrared turkey cooker.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with my family in Tennessee. The turkey that we had for dinner was one of the moistest turkeys I have ever tasted. So I asked my host how he cooked it since I am always on the lookout for new recopies. He took me to his garage and showed me his new “toy”. A Char Broil oil-less turkey fryer.

I can tell you how to use it, but there are many sites and youtube videos available for that.
One of the main reasons I like it is that it does not use any oil like in a standard turkey fryer.
Now have I always been pretty much of a safety freak with turkey fryers and never had any accidents, but this takes all the risks away.

Another advantage of an oil-less turkey fryer is the fact that you can use a rub and it will not be washed off like in a fryer with oil. I love to use rubs on all my poultry.

My recommended infrared Turkey fryers

I have reviewed many infrared turkey fryers here on better grills but I am personally very impressed by the Char Broil turkey fryers.

You can have a look at all the prices by clicking on the buy button below or read all the Char-Broil easy infrared reviews by following this link.

Tips from real users

  • Use a thermometer in your meat to keep track of the internal temperature of the turkey.
  • Although this is safe to use. Keep an eye on it all the time.
  • Write down your results for future cooking.
  • Can also be used for bigger cuts of meat like chicken, roasts, pork loins, etc
  • Easy to heat up, cool down, and clean.


Let me know about your Thanksgiving turkeys and what your opinion is on how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey

recommend this article to your friends or share it on social media if you like.
In the meantime, I have done many other Char Broil infrared grill reviews here and am getting more and more impressed with their quality.

If you only thinking about a turkey breast you can read my smoked turkey breast recipe.

Sometimes it is easier to cook a turkey that has been cut up before.

I have an article on how to cut up a whole turkey.

If you also think that this produces the best turkey you have ever tasted, or think it is worth sharing this article please link to this website from your website or recommend it to others.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews he is doing. You can read more on the about page for Eddie van Aken

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