Deciding which turkey cooking method is best for holiday gatherings depends on preparation, cook time, taste and presentation. Turkey dinner is often served at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. It’s a special time and we want the turkey to meet our expectations.
Pan Roasted Turkey
Pan roasted turkey can take 2-6 hours to cook depending on the weight of the turkey. In addition, stuffed turkey will take and extra half hour to cook.
Due to roasting and basting, the turkey skin will reach a desired golden-brown color.
Roasted turkey will often make it to the platter in one piece, allowing a beautiful presentation.
Pan drippings are most concentrated by pan roasting, achieving the best results to make turkey gravy.
Frying a Turkey
The quickest method to cook turkey is to fry it. Although, you may need to fry more than one turkey depending on how many guests you will be serving. Turkey fryers can accommodate turkeys up to 15 pounds. Turkeys will take 30-45 minutes to fry. Fried turkey will need to sit out to cool for 15-30 minutes before serving.
Stuffing a turkey prior to frying is not recommended.
Frying turkey achieves crispy skin and juicy turkey breast, thighs and drumsticks. Often thinner portions and outside areas of the turkey can be dry.
Some fried turkey will have to be skewered before frying. The turkey will likely have large holes depending on the fryer cooking instructions.
Guests might prefer not to eat fried turkey for dietary reasons. Consider the crowd you are cooking for.
Frying a turkey won’t leave pan drippings to make gravy with.
Turkey Cooked in an Oven Bag
Cooking turkey in an oven bag can accelerate cook time. Expect turkeys to cook 2-5 hours depending on the weight of the turkey. Stuffed turkey will take additional time to cook.
Turkey will be juicy and falling off the bone. Although, it’s often hard to remove the bag after cooking is complete. The bag often gets stuck on the turkey’s skin. In result, the legs will usually fall off while attempting to put the turkey on a serving platter.
You will still be able to make gravy, but it’s not as concentrated as the pan roasted drippings.
We have cooked turkeys by all the above methods and enjoyed them all. Our preference and needs have changed over time. As a younger couple we fried turkeys. Once we felt we needed to turn to healthier alternatives we began to roast the turkey or cook the turkey in an oven bag.
The National Turkey Federation