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Thanksgiving Recipes: How to Cook a Turkey

If you need a new recipe for your Thanksgiving turkey, give one of these non-traditional twists a try.

Everyone has different methods for cooking up Thanksgiving's signature sleep-inducing bird. Each family has its own special technique for cooking a turkey, whether it's using an old family recipe, adding a secret ingredient or shopping at a certain store in town that helps make the turkey taste all the better.

Patch Asks: Where do you go in South Pasadena to get ingredients for your turkey (or, a pre-made turkey)? Brstol Farms? Pavilions? Trader Joe's? Ralphs? 

If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, you can try any of the recipes below to add a new kick to your feast. If you're attending someone else’s dinner, hopefully their turkey will taste as good as one of these!

Just the name of this recipe makes my mouth water. An Allrecipes.com user contributes this Greek take on turkey, which combines ground beef and pork with tangerine juice, rice and other ingredients for an in-bird stuffing. This one requires no pre-made brine.

Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for a Cajun-spiced turkey is not for those looking for a simple roast bird this Thanksgiving. It calls for the equipment and safety precautions necessary to deep-fry a good-sized bird, but for those looking for a little extra flavor and adventure this year, this may be the perfect alternative to the oven. The results will undoubtedly be delicious, but be sure to heed the safety tips at the bottom of the recipe before attempting. If you want the Cajun flavors without the hassle, risk and calories of deep-frying, try this recipe from Jimmy Bannos.

This recipe calls for the use of a turkey breast roast, but variations can be worked out fairly easily for a smaller whole bird or even diced meat for a stir-fry or bake. I’ve made chicken dishes with a very similar yogurt marinade to this one and the key is letting the meat soak up the sauce overnight. The flavors are intense and aromatic, and will definitely lend themselves to a unique Thanksgiving meal.

Not to be confused with Nefarious Turkey, this recipe’s name—and its use of whiskey—was intriguing. A flavorful blend of unconventional ingredients make this dish sound delicious and feasible, and it requires fairly simple preparation. Check out the chef’s note to see how you can use a crock pot for a quicker, easier version of this recipe. Some of the user comments also have great ideas for stuffings that use the same components.

If you're in the mood for something more traditional this year, try this recipe:

The Food Network’s Alton Brown brings us this fairly simple (for a whole turkey) and by-the-book recipe, which uses a brine peppered with allspice berries and candied ginger. It takes about 10 hours of total cooking time, not including defrosting.

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Donna Evans (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 02:34 AM
I'm hosting this year & we're going to try something we've never done before: butterfly the bird. Have you tried that?
Chris Evans November 20, 2012 at 02:51 PM
What the hell is THAT? I suppose that's better just having a butterfly. My best recommendation for turkey? Cheat! I do .. I buy a smoked turkey .. tastes better, and it's already cooked, you just warm it up .. I make a big honkin' bowl of mac 'n cheese, and everybody thinks I'm the Iron Chef I do .. my boys and D.I.L. are coming to my p;lace for dinner this year
Donna Evans (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 04:09 PM
@Chris What is D.I.L.?
Chris Evans November 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Daughter-in-Law .. (that was an extraneous line I meant to delete) .. just the same, I am really happy they're gonna be with me, and that's the biggest part of Bird day .. I like cooking, too, and am told I'm not half bad
Donna Evans (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Very cool that the whole fam dam will be there! That's super cool. Yeah, family is the best part of the day, for sure. You should've been there the year I was making appletinis for Peggy - a drink, at the time, her hubby made for her all the time. Cept, he used one part vodka, two parts sour apple and, I, um, poured the opposite. She was hosed by dinner. Asleep by dessert.

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