Let’s talk turkey and make it easy

Cooking the Thanksgiving bird doesn’t have to be stressful.
Cooking the Thanksgiving bird doesn’t have to be stressful. MCT

The angst is building over Thanksgiving dinner. It’s linked to the pressure that inexperienced home cooks put on themselves to cook an absolutely perfect turkey. OMG, what if it’s dried out? What if I burn it? Just how do I handle 20-pound bird, anyway? Will it even fit in the oven? And what about all those side dishes?

Of course, you can never go wrong with a standing rib roast or pork loin. If those aren’t options, home economists are standing by at the Butterball Turkey Talk Line to help (do you know the “Four T’s” of turkey food safety?), but the reality comes down to you and your oven on “T Day and counting.”

Confusing the issue are the many ways a turkey can be cooked. Let’s see, after the brining (you know about that, right?) there’s roasting, deep-frying, smoking, braising... You get the picture.

Coming to the rescue (sort of) is The Daily Meal, the online site for all things food and drink. It offers “The 25 Best Ways to Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey” (with recipes), including garlic-smoked, yogurt-glazed, Red Bull-brined, cider-marinated and bacon-wrapped.

The Daily Meal’s No. 1 choice is honey-glazed, involving honey, orange juice, grated orange zest and sage. No. 2 sounds better to us — maple-brined calls for maple syrup, chile flakes and chopped ginger.

Once the turkey-cooking issue has been resolved, there’s another little problem the day after Thanksgiving: What do you do with the leftovers? For some guidance on that, click here.

Now, about Christmas dinner...

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.