How Do YOU Cook a Turkey?


Oct 26, 2008
Los Angeles
We've done the turkey in a variety of ways. The one time we did the 5-gallon-bucket method was the best-tasting of all time, though closely seconded by my brother-in-law's deep-fried bird, back when family used to actually get together. This year we're brining it, but my wife found a recipe for brining that involves soaking the bird in a brine of 128 grams of sea salt and 3 quarts of buttermilk. I have concerns. But mostly about having to go flip the bird over in its plastic bag every few hours and getting the smell of buttermilk (not my favorite) off my hands.

This year it's the two of us at my mother-in-law's house, and our kids and their spouse and significant other may do cameo appearances. My responsibilities are mostly limited to getting down the cooking equipment from high shelves, procurement runs (14 years in the supermarket business has taught me how to get in and out of a store with enhanced speed), and most likely, dishwashing. And of course, brining rotation. Despite the reduced headcount, I did not decrease the number of pies ordered (I'm not stupid).

As for Wild Turkey, it doesn't taste bad, but I prefer Maker's Mark, either cask-strength 46, or something from the Wood-Finishing series. I have a new bottle of FAE-02 that's most delightful. My new band is called The Boilermakers, and we're all bourbon aficionados, but for scotch, most Speysides are to my liking, so Glenfiddich would be welcome, I haven't settled on a favorite yet, there are still so many to try.


Feb 12, 2011
Iowa City, IA
As I was reading your description, I was thinking this had to be Alton Brown's recipe. I've done it and it came out great. And it's really not all that fussy. Where you lose me, though, is making the refrigerator space for a five-gallon bucket the day before Thanksgiving. My refrigerator was usually already stuffed to its limits. Otherwise, I'd have probably done it more than once.
Alton recommends, as I also do, a dedicated cooler like this:

The bird fits nicely. Add the brine and ice, fill with water till the bird is covered. Screw on the cover and sit it in your basement or a cold/cool garage overnight.
As soon as the bird comes out I dump the contents out and it goes into my shower. A little dish soap and my hand-held shower head cleans it up. Dried, the screw cover goes back on till the next turkey needs brinin'. Dedicated.


Dec 7, 2011
St Helens, Or
I brine my turkey in salt water for 2 or 3 days depending on my schedule more than anything else. Roast at 350 for 15 min/lb. or the breast meat is 170*, whichever comes first. Turkey comes out juicy, tender, and tasty. People make things harder than they have to be.


Friend of Fred
Feb 12, 2009
Where the action is!
One option is to not cook it. That's the method my sister-in-law went with this year. We got there at noon and she was telling us that she was expecting it to take four hours but it got up to temp in two. That didn't sound possible, but I'm not about to second guess the cook. When her husband went to carve it, it was totally raw. We managed to salvage it, but I was pretty nervous about eating it. But nobody got sick, so no harm, no fowl.


Oct 2, 2019
Palm Coast, FL
Roasted in an oven was always what the family did when growing up. My own tradition became smoked in a smoking grill. And I don't have enough of a deep fryer to cook one, but that's the 3rd way whenever we ordered one of those.

Recent holidays, I had a pork shoulder or a pork picnic instead. That's either roasted or smoked as well.