Fried, Grilled, or Smoked? The Perfect Turkey Guide for Your Thanksgiving

Fried Turkey, Grill Tips, Grilling, Kelly B's 101, Smoking

Thanksgiving is coming up, and for most folks, it’s time to get basted. There are a plethora of ways to cook that giant bird, so how do you decide what to do this year? You read this guide, that’s what you do!

Before we begin, keep in mind that poultry is done at 165 degrees, internally.

Deep fry it!

This is probably the most popular way to cook a turkey in recent years. Starting in the Southern states, the trend has quickly traveled to tables all over the country.


  • It’s fast as heck! Cook time can be under an hour depending on the size of your turkey (3 minutes per pound)
  • Crispy, flavorful skin


  • Outdoors only. Don’t burn your house down, please!
  • Dangerous – all of that oil is around a face-melting 350 degrees  


  • Don’t forget your meat injection syringe! You can inject with seasoned butter or Cajun Injection.
  • Use peanut oil instead of vegetable or canola oil.  Peanut oil allows for higher temperatures without catching fire… we don’t want fire
  • Use a turkey fryer pot thermometer for easy temperature maintenance-it clips onto the side of the pot so you don’t have to stick your hands near the hot oil!
  • Start with an initial temperature of 400 degrees and lower turkey slowly, slowly, slowly into the boil.  This prevents boil over and splashing.
  • After the turkey is fully submerged, the oil temperature will naturally drop drop to a desired 350 degrees.  If you put turkey in at 350 degrees instead of, the oil temperature will drop too low and takes too long to recover. You want to cook at 350 degrees constantly

Grill it!

Mmm, crispy goodness! A great way to free up your kitchen, too.  


  • Grill in any weather, snow or sun!
  • Crisp, smokey skin that an oven can’t buy
  • Freedom to brine, inject, and rub before cooking!


  • For beginner grillers, this might be tough to pull off.
  • You’ll need to maintain a constant temperature, which means adjusting charcoal and using your probe thermometer

Pro-Tip: This is a great for large turkey breasts.  A whole turkey will be a bit of a challenge to grill.

Smoke it!

A grill master’s favorite. A smoked bird is a beautiful thing if you’re willing to wait for it!


  • Creativity is yours – experiment with different kinds of wood to flavor with
  • Simple – you can tend to the stuffing or green beans while your turkey is outside
  • Smoking, if done correctly, keeps your meat moist and smooth


  • You’ll need a pretty large smoker for a pretty large bird
  • Cook time – up to 8 hours for a hefty one


  • Try stuffing your turkey with diced celery and white onion. This is great for keeping the bird moist.  It is also good as a side veggie.
  • After a few hours into smoking, cover your bird with some heavy duty foil to prevent it from burnt and over smoked

Roast it!

A classic – the way your mom made it. You can’t go wrong!


  • Beautiful presentation
  • That intoxicating smell is better than any candle!
  • Easy, simple, and no going outside!


  • Good luck fitting it into your oven
  • Can dry out easily – cook according to size!

Other fun methods:

  • Stewed
  • Crockpot turkey
  • Dehydrated
  • Spatchcocked
  • Braised

How do you cook your fowl? Let us know in the comments!