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Learning to cook a turkey, well chicken

Updated on June 29, 2010

Learning to cook a turkey, well chicken

The thing about me is that I love to cook and all of my friends actually love my cooking.  The problem is that I cannot follow a recipe and all of the things I make are flukes or mistakes that somehow taste amazing.  In my desperate attempt to figure out a way to prepare a thanksgiving meal (Yes I am starting in June because it will probably take that much time to get perfect) I have decided to try new things and see if there are alternatives to a turkey in an oven or what I would prefer, a deep fryer, since I cannot use one because I live in a high rise in a major city.  Recipes and flavors aren’t the issue for me.   I have found plenty of those and even made my own dry rub mix that I put on before I marinate the turkey or chicken. 

The issue for me is that even if I get it to the right temperature the meat never actually cooks right or somehow over cooks in a split second.  The other thing is that I hate turkey, turduckens are just scary as well so my other problem is what to use as a replacement and since I do love chicken I am trying chicken recipes.  Once I find a chicken recipe or flavor that I like and can be transferred over to a turkey and the turkey’s flavor I’ll give that a test.   

Ovens for me just don’t do it.  I love the smell of the herbs like rosemary and sage coming through but for some reason no matter what oven and how much I baste the bird it never cooks right.  So in my quest to find a great alternative to baking or roasting a turkey, and because I cannot deep fry my turkey I am looking at alternatives to ovens and found a few things.  The first is a halogen oven or turbo oven.  I found both the New Wave Oven and the Flavorwave Oven.  (If I’m going to order one it is definitely the Flavorwave Oven since it has Mr. T as the spokes person and who doesn’t love Mr. T.  I’d Pitty The Fool who doesn’t love Mr. T and his Flavorwave Oven, ok I’ll stop.)  Both look the same but I’m not sure if they can hold a Turkey but they may be an excellent option for my chicken dishes. 

After reading about Halogen Ovens online I found that Halogen Ovens have about a split mix between positive and negative reviews.  Some people love their halogen ovens and are requesting recipes for their halogen oven everywhere while others complain it doesn’t cook well enough.  This leads me to believe that if there are a ton of people who love their Halogen Ovens then maybe the people who are complaining about them just aren’t using them correctly.  You also have to take into consideration that the people who voice their opinions are more likely to be unsatisfied people or extremely happy people, you don’t get the ones who use the product and are ok with it often.  I love my George Foreman Grill but have never written a positive or negative review anywhere (I guess until now) but I could not live without it so I am going to assume that Halogen Ovens do work and I’ll probably give it a shot. 

If for some reason the halogen oven does not work, then I’ll probably get a rotisserie oven or spinner that I can use, then again that would also stop me from being able to use all of the recipes I wanted to try that I came up with, but it doesn’t mean I cannot try to make my own dry rubs for the chickens and possible turkeys.  I wonder if I found the right mix for a dry rub and then a rotisserie that was big enough if I could create a turkey that I could actually enjoy eating. 

My next issue and the biggest one is the fact that I hate turkey.  I’m not the only one but something about thanksgiving makes turkey special.  I’ll probably end up with a small Turkey for people who have to have it but I think that we can easily start to twist this tradition by offering another bird like a chicken and offering a selection of styles.  The ones I am going to test this week and then in my halogen oven are my Mediterranean one.  (I’ll share part of the recipe.  Sundried Tomatoes soaked in rosemary infused olive oil, Feta Cheese with oregano mixed in, chopped kalamata olives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Garlic and Onions…the rest of my recipe is a trade secret but I think roasting it or marinating it in this base and stuffing it with it then baking or roasting it will definitely give a great twist).  My traditional US Turkey version of stuffing stuffed chicken.  I’ll take a traditional Sage based stuffing and stuff the chicken then use a traditional dry rub on it and let it bake and roast.  My next chicken will be an asian fusion done with scallions, shallots, garlic, basil, soy sauce and some fun other spices I found at a local shop.  I think that offering a roasted chicken buffet instead of turkey may help to turn a few people from the traditional thanksgiving bird over to a new tradition.  My mom would be so proud to know I am actually become domesticated and am learning to cook.  Then again she’ll be invited to come visit for Thanksgiving Dinner this year so hopefully she’ll come and get to see what I’ve come up with. 

I’m excited to try and figure out how to cook a bird for Thanksgiving and how to do it so I can either enjoy it or be able to get everyone to want to change over from Thanksgiving turkeys to chickens and other types of foods.  Sure it isn’t traditional but I can try to make my own traditions as well.  If you have any suggestions on how to turn a turkey hater into a turkey lover, please feel free to leave a comment and/or your favorite recipe below. 


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