9 Contraptions to Cook a Turkey
Think outside the oven when you prepare your holiday bird
There is more than one way to cook a goose—or a turkey for that matter. If you're one of those hosts who's biting your nails over the prospects of a dry oven-roasted bird—or if you're a confident cook looking to experiment—then you need to check out these nine nifty contraptions for a new way to turn out the tastiest turkey.
It may sound like a fraternity party prank gone wrong, but in fact, beer-can turkey is moist and flavorful, marinating your bird from the inside out. The Poultry Pal makes trying the recipe easier and less messy; you put beer (or the beverage of your choice) and spices in the bottom tray and the turkey on the infuser tower so you don't have to brush or baste. About $20, Poultry Pal
Cooking a turkey in under an hour has long been the dream of procrastinators everywhere, and Turbochef's Speedcook oven does just that. In fact, a 12-pound turkey will cook in 42 minutes, and if you really want to go all out this holiday, the oven can hold a 26 pounder. It is available in single- and double-wall versions. About $7,895-$9,995, TurboChef
Smoking—a process in which meat is cooked slowly and indirectly via a hardwood fire—makes for a juicy, full-flavored bird. Technically you can smoke meat on any grill, but a smoker makes things a whole lot easier. The Smoke King more than lives up to its name. Constructed of heavy-gauge steel, it features six skewers, four hanging rods with 24 hooks, a removable ash pan, and a temperature gauge, as well as a porcelain-coated marinade pan. The smoker box has 12 cooking levels. About $480, Brinkmann
Can't decide whether you want to grill, smoke, or roast your bird this year? Try this multitasker from Hammacher Schlemmer. The modular cooker is comprised of two cooking units. You can use them both together to roast or smoke (its airtight design maintains an internal temperature between 225 and 275 degrees), or you can take off the top one and use the bottom as a standard kettle grill. A porcelain-coated water pan can be filled with broth or wine to add moisture as the meat cooks, and dual 17-inch-diameter chrome-plated grill grates line the top and bottom of cooking chambers, allowing you to separate meat and vegetables. About $100, Hammacher Schlemmer
If you're really—we mean, really—not in a hurry this Thanksgiving, consider sous vide to cook your turkey. The French method involves putting food in a plastic bag, vacuuming out all air, immersing the bag in water, and then cooking it in very low temperatures to produce exceptionally tender meat. Sous vide is usually used in high-end restaurants but can also be done at home. This thermal circulator can be used with any pot up to 30 liters. To cook a turkey, first cut it into pieces and separate white and dark meat. White meat should cook for about 3 to 4 hours at 160 degrees, while dark meat can be prepared confit (in its own fat) and cooked for up to 12 hours at 170 degrees. As these cooking times are estimates, be sure to check the core of the turkey to make sure it is at least 160 degrees before you eat it . About $939, Innovative Culinary Technology
This gizmo cooks up to 50 percent faster but uses 75 percent less energy than a conventional oven, according to the manufacturer of this patented technology that uses conduction, convection, and infrared rays. It holds 8 pounds of meat, but an extender ring lets you cook a 16-pound turkey. About $107, Morningware
If you want the fried taste without all those calories, The Big Easy may be your best bet. It uses infrared heat, allowing you to skip the oil—and preheating—altogether. A 16-pound bird cooks in about 1½ to 2 hours. About $140, Char-Broil
As many an online video has demonstrated, frying a turkey and burning a house down often go hand in hand. In fact, no fryer, including this one, is UL-listed for exactly that reason. However, this electric fryer offers a safer alternative to gas versions because it has an overheating automatic off feature. In fact, it can even be used on an indoor countertop. About $200, Masterbuilt
Still want to try a propane-powered fryer? Check out this DIY project designed by Food Network chef Alton Brown. The device (which was constructed by TOH fan Scott McKee, shown) allows you to safely lower a turkey into the fryer and retrieve it again. For downloadable instructions, go to Alton Brown's website.