No matter the technique or flavoring, these 21 variations on Thanksgiving turkey and 3 recipes for gravy are guaranteed to deliver a show-stopping entree for your holiday feast
Thomas J. Story
Rubbing turkey with salt 2 days before roasting seasons it well without the messiness of a brine, and a flavorful herb butter adds juiciness.
An aromatic rub of fresh celery leaves, plus bold fresh herbs and black pepper, give this turkey a flavor boost.
Recipe: Celery-Herb Grilled Turkey
That secret ingredient in Italian sausage—fennel—transforms turkey into a main course that summons up the allure of the Mediterranean.
Recipe: Fennel-Garlic Grilled Turkey
Cooked in a water smoker, the Thanksgiving bird takes on a whole new flavor. It just might become your holiday tradition. We created this juicy, fragrant bird flavored with herbs and applewood smoke. You’ll need 4 small metal skewers to close up the turkey’s cavities.
Sage and Thyme Smoked Turkey (using a water smoker)
Thomas J. Story
Butterflying the turkey—removing the back so it lies flat—makes it cook faster and more evenly.
Photography by Leigh Beisch; food styling by Dan Becker
California leads the West in turkey production and in consumption of fresh and natural turkeys (those with no artificial ingredients). They cost more, but the flavor is so worth it. Sunset spin: Butterfly it, then cook on the grill― it’s done in 1 1/2 hours.
Is this your year to try a heritage turkey? Many people favor them over standard grocery store birds for their deep flavor, but they do require careful cooking to be tender. With this recipe we show you how.
Leigh Beisch; Dan Becker
Smoking turkey on the grill with wine-infused wood chips gives the bird lots of flavor and provides extra oven space.
Recipe: Wine-smoked Turkey
We took the flavors we love in the big holiday meal and turned them into casual diner fare.
Recipe: Thanksgiving Turkey Sliders
Shelly Strazis; styling by Valerie Aikman-Smith
A chile-rubbed bird cooked on the grill and served with mole gravy makes for a richly seasoned centerpiece. Brining the turkey is the secret to a moist bird. For the most even cooking, leave turkey legs loose. Or if you prefer a tidy look, tie them. For garnishing, add color with herbs, a banana leaf, and fruit like kumquats.
Generously smear seasoned butter beneath the turkey’s skin, then slowly grill the bird over indirect heat until it’s brown and succulent.
Thomas J. Story
For perfectly cooked meat and extra-easy carving, get a butcher to cut the turkey into pieces before roasting.
Recipe: Roast Turkey with Wine and Herbs
For a Hawaiian take on Thanksgiving, marinate turkey with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar, and brown sugar.
This turkey’s sunny Southern California flavors of citrus, herbs, and garlic are always a hit.
Cook gently spicy guajillo chiles with tart-fruity tamarind, roasted garlic, honey, and lime to create an outstanding Mexican-style glaze for your holiday bird.
Recipe: Guajillo-Tamarind Turkey
This method avoids the fuss of brining, but still results in a succulent, flavorful bird.
Recipe: Dry-Cured Rosemary Turkey
Out West, we love to grill everything, and turkey is no exception. It gives somewhat bland turkey meat an exceptional smoky flavor.
Recipe: Barbecued Glazed Turkey
Jim Henkens; Karen Shinto
Presalting theThanksgiving turkey ― not to mention covering the breast and drumsticks with bacon ― adds flavor and helps it stay moist during roasting.
Recipe: Juniper-and-herb Roast Turkey
This recipe has all the components we look for in a great turkey recipe, from the brine to ensure moist meat, to the herb butter under the skin for flavor, and an herb gravy from the drippings to ladle on at the table.
Recipe: Spice-rubbed Roast Turkey
This recipe takes the last-minute hassle out of gravy making by not relying on pan drippings. Before browning the flour, have the broth measured so you can whisk it in at just the right moment.
Recipe: Make-Ahead White Wine Gravy
An easy version of the giblet gravy Grandma used to make, this cornstarch-thickened favorite is made by using turkey necks, giblets, carrots, celery, and onions to enhance store-bought chicken stock. Giblets can be strained out of the stock or chopped up into the finished gravy.
Recipe: Classic Gravy