The Great Thanksgiving 2022 Dilemma: How to Cook the Turkey This Year


By Derek Brawner


It’s November—that means the Thanksgiving holiday will soon be upon us. This year, I’m faced with a true dilemma of how to cook the turkey. I have three possible options. For the past 13 years, I’ve taken it upon myself to cook the turkey for the entire family that gathers for Thanksgiving at my dad’s. One of the great things about working for Health AllianceTM is that we’re given either a turkey, ham, or fruit basket for the holiday. So turkey in hand, I face the dilemma of three possible options for cooking this bird!

Option one: the traditional way of cooking a turkey—roasting it in the oven. This method is the most-used choice. Most of us remember growing up as children, the family all gathered together waiting for the turkey to be cooked…the house smelling fantastic as the turkey roasted in the oven (or roaster) for about four hours…family members opening the oven to baste the turkey and…finally…waiting for it to be carved and served. Delicious memories! This was the way I always remember the Thanksgiving holiday and still like it myself. But times have changed—and there are a couple other options available!

Option two: fry the turkey. Turkey frying became popular in the early 2000s. It’s a much faster way of cooking, and it usually takes about an hour-and-a-half to two hours depending on the turkey size. Now don’t get me wrong—frying a turkey can be a bit dangerous with some of the old turkey-friers out there—but technological advances have made it much safer these days. Also, if you’re trying to be health conscious, frying a turkey might not be a very healthy method. I personally love frying a turkey—I inject the bird with a Cajun butter you buy at the store and season the outside with Cajun seasoning. Mmm! My family loves it.

Finally, option three: smoke the turkey. My wonderful wife just bought me a smoker, since I love to cook outdoors and consider myself a griller extraordinaire. Smoking a turkey is quite an easy way to cook it, too—you put it in the smoker and check on it every so often. You can also brine your turkey or inject it for the smoker. The only issue with smoking a turkey is the time, since it takes up to seven hours. But a smoked turkey is also a little bit healthier than the other two options—however, in my opinion, the time frame makes it a little harder to pull off for Thanksgiving.

As you can see, I face quite the dilemma in choosing between three quality options! The same can be said about healthcare coverage options for older adults. There are so many Medicare Advantage plans out there for those 65 and older. I implore anyone 65 or older to please check out all Medicare options that are available in your ZIP code. Evaluate each plan and find the best one that fits your needs for the upcoming year. Don’t be a turkey and get caught uninformed!

As for me and my Thanksgiving dilemma, I’ll probably choose option two, frying the turkey. At this time, it’s my best way of preparing the bird and the quickest—giving me more time to spend with my family. From all of us to you, have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!


Derek Brawner is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. He’s a small-town guy living in the big city of Springfield, married with two kids, a huge Star Wars fan and a griller extraordinaire.

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