Artwork by Giordano Poloni

New Takes on Turkey

By Craig Moy

We all love holiday traditions—until they start feeling a little too traditional. This year, instead of tossing the same old bird in the oven all afternoon, try a new way to get poultry on your plate. Our two turkey alternatives both start with tried-and-true prep—plus some additional TLC thanks to a chef-approved brine or rub. Or savour a meatless meal with our tips for elevating your Tofurky roast.

Prefab flavour

Chef Curtis Toth of The Hotel Saskatchewan, Autograph Collection (a CAA/AAA Four Diamond Award Winner) offers two ways to give your bird a boost before you cook it.


10 L water
750 g kosher salt
750 g brown sugar
80 g pickling spice
25 g fresh thyme
55 g fresh sage

Combine ingredients in clean, appropriately sized container. Immerse turkey and let rest in fridge for 24 hours.

Wet Rub

34 g kosher salt
8 g black pepper
6 g smoked paprika
2 g ground sage
6 g poultry seasoning
24 g brown sugar
100 mL canola oil

Mix in small bowl, then rub all over turkey, including cavity. Let rest in fridge four to eight hours.

Grilled Turkey

Extend barbecue season and give your bird some flame-kissed flair.

1 Position a drip pan underneath grill grates.

2 Prep grill for cooking with medium-high heat (400 F)

3 Place turkey breast-side up in centre of grill.

4 Cook with lid closed until turkey reaches 165 F in breast and 180 F in thigh (about 2–3 hours for a 10–15 lb. turkey).

5 Remove from grill and rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Tip: Aid moisture retention by giving your turkey a pre-grill massage. Gently lift skin around the breast and thighs and smear the areas with butter—plain or mixed with your favourite herbs.

Sous Vide Turkey

Use an immersion circulator for succulent set-it-and-forget-it results.

1 Break down the turkey into legs and thighs, wings, and breast.

2 Place breast in vacuum-sealable or heavy-duty Ziploc bag with a couple spoons of butter, a few halved shallots and some sprigs of thyme, rosemary and/or sage.

3 Do the same for legs and wings, keeping them in a single layer.

4 Submerge legs-and-wings bag in water preheated to 150 F

5 After about 3 hours, add breast bag to water; continue cooking 4 more hours.

6 Remove from bags, discarding shallots and herbs. 

Tip: To get crisp, golden skin, pat dry your turkey parts, then pan-sear or broil them briefly over high heat—or use a kitchen torch.

Vegetarian Tofurkey

Enjoy a meatless feast with plenty of fixins’.

1 Line a Dutch oven or baking dish with vegetables like potatoes and carrots, chopped into large chunks, and tossed in olive oil.

2 Place Tofurky on a dish of parchment paper, then lay on top of veggies.

3 Cook according to package directions.

4 Remove from oven and carefully carve roast with a serrated knife.

Tip: Before your Tofurky goes in the oven, brush it with a glaze for added flavour. (Chef Curtis recommends a mixture of honey, truffle oil, thyme and butter.) Reserve some to reapply during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Addicted to the kitchen? Learn about cast iron cooking here.