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Old 11-23-2007, 10:47 AM   #1
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Unhappy Tough Old Bird

For Thanksgiving, we bought an all-natural, fresh, young, turkey. We've had the brand before and been pleased. This year, it was definately not worth the extra $/pound. I was suspicious the entire time it cooked as it hardly gave up any juice--I kept having to baste with melted butter and chicken broth. It ended up being one of the most disappointing birds I've ever cooked. Very flavorless and tough. Between getting very little sleep the last few nights and waking up with a cold yesterday morning, I stood in the kitchen and cried!

Topped with some gravy and fresh cranberries, it wasn't terrible, but still a bit of a let-down (at least to me). Of course there was a lot else to eat, so we didn't have to worry about starving!

Anyone else ever get a "surprise" turkey like this?

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Old 11-23-2007, 10:59 AM   #2
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yes, last Christmas :(
it was dreadful, it was like roadkill and I swear there was Bicycle tread marks over it! (no I`m NOT kidding), it also turned out Very similar to yours as well, and when you cut it you could see the bruising too, the sausage meat that I made the stuffing balls with was also Trash and tasted almost Off.

and to top it all off my Arthritis that day was a Record for me, it`s Never been that bad ever, but I still had to stand and cook regardless.

at the days end, I was crying inside too.
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:23 AM   #3
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My sister had a similar problem this year.
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:31 PM   #4
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Oh, Stacey, I'm sorry your birdie was a disappointment. Wish I could send you some of our leftovers.

On the other hand, ours was probably the best ever. I brined it overnight and cooked it using my usual cheesecloth method. It was golden and tender and the white meat was practically soggy it was so moist. Plus, even though it was just over 13 pounds, I still got a half gallon of rich, dark gravy. Yeah!!!!
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:05 PM   #5
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My first turkey was awful! Turkey disaster. It reminded me of National Lampoon's Christmas vacation. Live and learn, my turkeys have been good since. (Knock on wood)
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:19 PM   #6
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i've had fresh turkeys for years and a coupl years ago had one just as you describe. This year I found a nearby organic farm and ordered one from them, and I am sold!! Great flavor, cooked beautifully, juicy, browned well, drippings made fine gravy etc etc. These folks have my business.

Brining a turkey is often the way to a moister tastier bird, but I didn't have to with this pastured critter.
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Old 11-23-2007, 03:12 PM   #7
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Sometimes, not matter what you do, you still come out with a tough bird. Age plays an important part, as does the amount of exercise that the bird gets.

Use the leftover turkey meat in soup, and grind some up with your food processor to make turkey salad for sandwiches. You may be able to make it more tender if you throw the meat into a pressure cooker, with some broth. This will add both flavor and moisture to the meat, and help break down the tough protiens as well. Then you can make gravy out of the broth and have open faced turkey sandwiches. Your leftovers can be better than the oven-roiasted bird was.

And I'm sorry your turkey didn't come out perfect.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:09 PM   #8
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Thanks, everyone! I'm sorry others have had bad bird experiences, too, but it makes me feel better! With a toddler, I don't cook as much as I did a couple years ago, so there are times when I question my abilities, especially when it is a more-involved meal.

Robo, last T-giving we bought an orgainic and had the same wonderful experience as you! I just dug in my heels and refused to pay that much per pound this year, but like DH reminded me, I guess sometimes price does make a difference.
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:59 AM   #9
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the lesson I learned was Do NOT experiment with new things on special occasions, stay with the old Tried and tested.

so this year I`m buying a frozen Butterball turkey like I always used to, and I`m buying the same sausages I always used to for the stuffing balls.

I`ve got a whole 364 more Other days with which to experiment :)

if it aint broke, don`t fix it!
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Old 11-24-2007, 05:04 AM   #10
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Amen, YT. One year my sister made the feast and as the day wore on, we realized we couldn't smell the turkey cooking. She had not turned on the oven! Talk about tears...
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:02 AM   #11
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PA, sorry to hear about the tough bird - it is disheartening when you spend so much time preparing for something and it does not turn out as you had hoped. I bought a fresh bird this time and used Corazon's method of brining. I suggest you try this next year - it was delicious - flavorful and juicy. I agree with Y2, I usually don't try new things on company or holidays, but that is the only time I cook a turkey. Corazon's method will be the tradition in my kitchen every Thanksgiving. Although I am curious about Katie E's cheesecloth???
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:09 AM   #12
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Have to say, I ALWAYS try at least one new thing on guests and often at Christmas, something new is created. Need to have a surprise at the table to keep it all interesting.
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:57 AM   #13
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Well, at least someone tried to tenderize it for you by biking over it a few times....
;)

This year, I brined our turkey, which probably saved it from disaster.
We got a little distracted during the cook time, so Turkey was a bit overdone.

Once through the uber-dry outer layer, the rest was pretty darn good.

My stuffing was an absolute disaster. One would think moisturizing bread crumbs
was a no-brainer.....

So I have next year to attempt Turkey Day Cooking II... this year was my first at the
helm!
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