There are a few common methods for how to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. The most traditional way is making roasted turkey using a roasting pan in the oven. A lot of butter, a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of fresh herbs can go a long way to making a turkey that has crispy skin and flavorful, succulent meat. There’s also the less-popular but quick-cooking method known as spatchcocking turkey, which is also a version of a roasted turkey. The outdoorsy types may be inclined towards deep-fried or even smoked turkey.
So why would you smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving? Smoking a turkey doesn’t necessarily save time, but it does save valuable oven space, making room for larger-than-life casseroles and stuffings. The real reason why you would choose this cooking method is because of those delicious smoky flavors. If you love barbecue, smoked turkey might be just the thing to transport you to the woods of Tennessee, a glass of bourbon in one hand, and a plate piled high with turkey in the other. While there are many methods for cooking a turkey that has golden-brown skin and juicy meat, there is really no way to build an authentic, smoked flavor in the bird without the use of an electric smoker or grill.