Up Your Thanskgiving Game: Alternatives to Roast Turkey

grilled turkey

Thanksgiving is one week away. I’ve been on the phone with my mom every other day to hammer out our two-day menu. Yeah, we’re the family that’s added a meal on Wednesday to accommodate the appetizers and menu items we can’t fit in alongside the more traditional turkey trimmings (think Thai shrimp meatballs and Emeril’s Calypso pork pie).

We’re also the family that will occasionally venture off the beaten path and get a little adventurous with the star of the show: the turkey. We couldn’t not try a turducken the year the chicken within a duck within a turkey was all over TV. And a few years back, we handed the reigns over to my then-partner’s father to grill the bird.

That’s right, if you’re not already considering it, maybe it’s time to think of a few other ways to cook your turkey this year that don’t involve your oven. You’ll save space and treat your family to a truly memorable Thanksgiving dinner.

So instead of roasting, try:


There’s no reason to shy away from grilling your turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s just as easy as oven-roasting and elevates the flavors on your Thanksgiving table. And since you’ll have the grill going to begin with, you can throw other veggies and sides on the grill that you might not have made if you weren’t grilling to begin with.

To up your grilled turkey game, try adding some wood chips to the charcoal to impart that smoky flavor without a smoker.


Put your smoker to good use this season and smoke your turkey. Smoked meat will pair ridiculously well with all the buttery, creamy sides that tend to be served with Thanksgiving dinner.

Bear in mind that smoking does take awhile. This recipe is clocking cooking time at about 20-30 minutes per pound of bird – so a 15 pound turkey would take at least 7.5 hours to cook, not counting resting time. Consider getting up super early, or getting a jump start on the day by smoking the turkey the day before.

Deep Frying

If you really want to get daring with Thanksgiving, you can deep fry your turkey. But be smart about it, you really need to follow the directions in your recipe closely and have all the proper equipment on hand.

Make sure you don’t overfill your fryer with oil. It’s a common mistake that can result in overflowing oil and even fire. Frying definitely requires a lot more attention and focus, but it will result in a super delicious bird.

Have you cooked your Thanksgiving turkey in an unusual way? We want to hear about it!