A dozen ways to make a turkey

12 Recipes
A whole turkey on a silver platter sits atop a dining table alongside a filled gravy boat.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

One is sure to be just right for you.


A process rife with decisions, making a Thanksgiving turkey is an endeavor that can take anywhere from two hours to seven days. It starts with what size and what kind of turkey to buy Once you get the bird home, the decision tree expands. To brine or not to brine? Wet brine or dry brine? Stuff it or just “dress” it? Start high and finish low; start low and finish high; or cook it low and slow all the way? Baste it or let it be? Roast in the oven or on the barbie? Grill it? Smoke it? Deep-fry it?

Of course, the answer to each question is, “it depends.” Truth is, each method will elicit the tender, juicy meat every Thanksgiving cook aspires to serve. The real trick is knowing how much time, energy and attention each method requires and how much of each you have and want to put into making your turkey — and being really honest with yourself about that last one.

Never cooked a turkey before or only have a few hours? Try the Easy Thanksgiving Turkey. Want to spend four days brining, air drying, tracking down obscure ingredients, basting and the like? You will love Ray Garcia’s Thanksgiving Turkey. Are you somewhere in between — looking for something different but don’t want to kill yourself doing it? Try the Ultimate Turkey, a Soy-Brined Turkey or perhaps an Herb-Roasted Spatchcocked Turkey.

Below are a dozen recipes from our food writers and editors over the years. They feature best practices at every level of the game. Whatever your skill set, however much time you want to spend, you’re bound to find one that’s just right for you.

Easy Thanksgiving turkey

Time2 hours
YieldsServes 8 to 10

Roasted turkey

TimeActive work time: 20 minutes Total preparation time: 5 hours 50 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Herb-roasted spatchcocked turkey

Time2 hours
YieldsServes 8 to 12

The ultimate turkey

Time3 hours
YieldsServes 11 to 15

Dry-brined turkey

Time2 hours 50 minutes
YieldsServes 11 to 15

Barbecued turkey

Time3 hours 30 minutes
YieldsServes 14 to 16

Maple-bourbon smoked turkey

Time40 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Roast brined turkey

Time3 hours
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Soy-brined turkey

Time6 hours
YieldsServes 12 (with leftovers)

Citrus-rosemary grilled turkey

Time4 hours 30 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 12

Ray Garcia's Thanksgiving turkey

Time4 hours
YieldsServes 8 to 12