• Thursday Tip-Off: Turkey 5 Ways

    Our Thursday Tip-Off series is a weekly set of tips, suggestions, and tricks for making you a better-informed person. You're welcome.

    This week we're breaking out our stretch pants and getting ready for the greatest holiday ever: Thanksgiving. If you're new to making your own dishes for Thanksgiving, chances are you've got the sides down (mashed potatoes are impossible to ruin! Cranberry sauce can be dumped out of a can!), but the one daunting dish of Turkey Day is its namesake: the turkey. To help make your big Thanksgiving dinner debut a little easier, we rounded up five of our favorite ways to make turkey. They're easy, delicious, and might even make you excited for next year.
    Lead photo by Tessa Barton

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    1. If you are new to The Art of the Turkey, then you may not know about brining. Let us sing the praises of brining to you, then: brining is amazing. Basically, brining just means you're letting your turkey sit in a bath of salty water overnight. Sounds weird, but it makes the juiciest, most tender turkey you will ever chomp down on. It's also almost impossible to mess up! Hooray! (And you'll need to get minimal ingredients since water and salt are the most important things here.) Here's a great step-by-step instructional from the queen of the kitchen, Martha Stewart.

    2. Dry-brining your turkey is another option for cooking. The only difference between dry-brining and regular brining is that dry-brining doesn't need any water to soak the turkey in. Instead, the dry-brine (salt and spices) help pull out the juices from the turkey before dissolving. The result is a juicy, tender turkey without needing to worry about throwing your turkey in a bath overnight. Here's a recent article from Popsugar that sings the praises of the dry-brine.

    Friendsgiving memories with the crew! Photo by UO Chicago.

    Photo by Belen Amaro

    3. If for some reason you're not on board with brining (you should be!), then delicious butter turkey is another option for a juicy, flavor-filled centerpiece. This recipe from Epicurious takes care of everything: the gravy and the turkey. It's got a whole lot of butter, too, so it's perfect for all you butter lovers out there. 140 4-star reviewers can't be wrong.

    4. To make sure your turkey is properly cooked, no matter what recipe you use, you'll need to check out how much your turkey weighs and then go from there. If your turkey started off frozen, make sure you give yourself ample time to defrost the turkey (at least 4 days in the fridge). Once it's thawed and ready to go in the oven, you'll need to plan to have it in there for at least 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees F. Invest in a meat thermometer if you're going to be cooking your own - they're crucial to figuring out when your bird is completely cooked on the inside. The consensus is that it should reach right around 165 degrees F.

    5. If you're not into turkey but you couldn't possibly force yourself to eat Tofurky, here's a great list from the Huffington Post with 42 vegan Thanksgiving recipes. There are so many amazing sides on this list that the turkey will hardly be missed, but you'll still be left with a centerpiece-worthy feast.

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