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Old 10-29-2007, 01:18 PM   #1
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Favorite Turkey Brand

With the holidays upon us, I was wondering what brands of turkeys other folks have found to be their favorites.

I grew up in a "Butterball" house. Thanksgiving wasn't Thanksgiving without a huge Butterball turkey as a centerpiece. In fact, my grandmother, who always had stronger than strong brand preferences for everything & anything (bless her heart), claimed that she could tell a Butterball apart from all other brands (ahem. . . yeah. . . lol!!). So when I was out on my own, obviously Butterball was what I too bought, but after awhile I found Butterballs both temperamental to cook & too salty to the taste (probably because of all that internal basting stuff they inject them with). Other brands - "Shady Brook", "Honeysuckle", etc., also seemed to be hit or miss as to quality.

So now I positively swear by Whole Food's fresh organic/free-range turkeys. Ever since we tried one a number of years ago, we haven't gone back to any other brand for our Thanksgiving bird since. We now order a bird from Whole Foods every year & have never been disappointed. You order the bird ahead of time (in fact, we'll be doing that within the next 2 weeks), & then pick it up a day or two before the Big Day. Always fresh - not chilled to the semi-frozen state & then thawed.

And I definitely do NOT mean the above in a snobby way at all. Believe me, I know all too many people who love to spout off about all the organic/free-range stuff they buy at uber prices, yet really don't give a hoot about the difference, if any. These birds clearly are better - at least in our opinion. Tremendously better in both taste & texture. And for that one day a year when husband & I enjoy a large whole bird (not to mention all those tasty leftovers), we feel the added expense is definitely most worthwhile.

Absolutely no brining necessary with these beauties (thank God - I don't need another extraneous holiday task - lol!). As far as seasoning, I normally make my stuffing/dressing separate from the bird, but do normally place some onions, garlic, & celery in the cavity. Other than that, I baste once in a while with plain melted butter & that's it. The bird - both white meat & dark meat - comes out tender & juicy, & what's almost even better, that tenderness & juiciness continues through any & all leftovers. The leftovers from that first initial Whole Foods turkey had us looking at each other in amazement. They were so moist without any prompting with broth, gravy, etc. Cold turkey sandwiches were ethereal - lol!!

They truly are supreme birds, & I highly recommend them.

I also have to mention that Whole Food's customer service is also above reproach. One year I unwrapped our turkey to find one whole wing/shoulder limb missing. Now since it's just husband & I, it wasn't any big deal, but since the turkey's are pricey, the next time my husband was shopping there, he did mention it, & they gave us a credit for the bird with a smile!! Now that's great customer service.

And just so you don't think I'm just "taken" with the idea of "organic/free range", after that first Whole Food's turkey epiphany, we decided to spring for a Whole Foods organic/free range goose for Xmas, & both of us agreed that we frankly didn't taste any difference between it & any other Xmas goose we'd purchased.

So nix the goose, but go for the turkey.

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Old 10-29-2007, 01:48 PM   #2
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we've done fresh turkeys for years and have always had great ones. This year I am in the country and have ordered one from an organic farm. I've tried their fresh chickens...omg WONDERFUL!, so I have high hopes for their heirloom turkeys.

In the summer time for bbq or grilling, I'll get a sale item store brand...but that may change if I can get an end of season frozen bird from this farm.
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:15 PM   #3
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Yes, we have an organic meat farm (bison, turkey, chicken, goat, pork) right around the corner from us, & we've often debated getting a bird from them. It's just that those Whole Foods' birds are so darn good & haven't disappointed in, like, 10 years now.

Decisions, decisions. . . .
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:50 PM   #4
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I personally like fresh Bell and Evans but strangely enough, the people I cook for on Thanksgiving (loads of family) prefer Fresh Butterballs.
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:44 PM   #5
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Sorry, to me a turkey is a turkey - names don't count- they are all good to me ~!
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:50 PM   #6
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We live in a very rural area....let me elaborate - VERY rural area, so not much in the way of organic, etc., so I just purchase the least expensive bird that doesn't have any extra "butter" basting, etc. So far, in 14 years we haven't been disappointed once.

When Buck and I lived in the Washington, D.C. area, we were very near a turkey farm. NOW...those were awesome turkeys. We would call and tell them the size turkey we needed and be able to pick it up 24 hours before we needed it. Fresh, fresh, fresh.

Those were the best turkeys we ever had. The last, and largest one, was 33 pounds before it was stuffed. It was so bit it needed its own zip code. I thought it would last for days. Wrong. By Saturday, the old boy was gone, gone, gone. Of course, that's when all 4 boys and our daughter were living at home.

The ones I cook for the two of us are pitifully small compared to the behemoth we had from the farm. I kinda miss that.
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie E View Post
The last, and largest one, was 33 pounds before it was stuffed. It was so bit it needed its own zip code.
Katie, I'm pretty sure they lied to you....that wasn't a Turkey, it was an Ostrich!

I've never, ever seen one that big! How long did it take to cook?
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:09 PM   #8
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It's been at least 15 years, keltin, but I think it took nearly 6 hours. It was stuffed, too. Even though it was quite large, it was tender and juicy. The children still talk about that one. I was soooo in hopes of leftovers with one that size. I love turkey.
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:25 PM   #9
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I buy whatever's cheap, and usually frozen. I do whatever I need to to make that turkey good.
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:47 PM   #10
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Turkey is justa turkey for me too. However I just read the results of some kind of finding, were the penal of specialist desided wich brend is the best. The one they thiught was number one was kosher turkey, Rubashkin Brend. Go figure...
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Old 10-31-2007, 09:45 PM   #11
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That little 33 lbs of turkey is a peewee compared to the "Loveless" turkey that I used to
get back in the 60`s we had a hen that weighted over 50lbs. and the young toms would
get up to 98 lbs. these were the "loveless Broadbreasted turkey`s from Dinuba Ca." the
only place in the world that had these and like she said about thw 33 pounder these came out so nice and tender and juicy. I think maybe the go under the Norbest Brand now. I am not sure because it been such along time ago.
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:29 PM   #12
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A turkey is a turkey to me! I fry some, and BBQ roast others...I can't really tell a difference. I did find this site interesting reading!

Norbest: Turkey Facts - Quick Facts
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Old 11-01-2007, 12:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjimbray View Post
That little 33 lbs of turkey is a peewee compared to the "Loveless" turkey that I used to
get back in the 60`s we had a hen that weighted over 50lbs. and the young toms would
get up to 98 lbs. these were the "loveless Broadbreasted turkey`s from Dinuba Ca." the
only place in the world that had these and like she said about thw 33 pounder these came out so nice and tender and juicy. I think maybe the go under the Norbest Brand now. I am not sure because it been such along time ago.
For real? A 50 - 100 lb. turkey? How the heck did you fit it in the oven? Still, I'd love to get my hands on one of those because I'll bet it makes the most dramatic Thanksgiving spread ever!!!
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:45 PM   #14
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the first and probably the best turkey I ever had was a 32 lb hen. from loveless farms in
Dinuba, Ca. that is where at the time Loveless processed there turkey`s and i had just
started working there right out of high school, still 17 yrs old. they would sell those turkey eggs 105.00 a piece. then I think they moved to selma, ca to Norbest processing.
I have`nt had a loveless turkey in yrs. a 50lb tom will fit in your oven but nothing else.
with all the racks removed.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:26 PM   #15
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We just buy what's on sale. The store brands really are as good as the Butterballs.
I've never met a turkey I didn't like.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:40 PM   #16
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When I was a kid we raised turkeys. Dad wanted to butcher before they got to big the smallest was 27 pounds and the largest was around 35 pounds and ever since I have considered them MOST FOWL I will not eat one, I eat long island duck 2 if we have company Thank you very much
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Old 11-06-2007, 07:28 AM   #17
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Have not tried the Whole Foods turkey, usually just buy a bird.

For a number of years we lived near a turkey farm (called green acres, really) and would often purchase one from them. They even smoked them for you if desired, which we often did, but not for T-day.

They were not organic, but they sure were tasty. We truly thought they were better than most of the birds we find in the markets. Whether that opinion would have stood the challange of a blind testing, have no idea.

We are about 30 miles from a Whole Foods, maybe we'll order one.
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Old 11-06-2007, 02:48 PM   #18
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I've never tried a smoked turkey or deep fried. Seems people are trying new things to the birds to stray away from the oridinary traditional recipes. This is our 1st year to break tradition with trying the 2-hour recipe. I have heard good things about it, so I don't see bad results. Our boss is trying it for the second year, so it can't be bad, right? :-p
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Old 11-06-2007, 03:47 PM   #19
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I deep fry my turkeys, I have alwys baked them before and I got a deep fryer and I would
buy a couple of 12 lb hens, it took 35 minutes for each one. and everybody loved it. I
still like to bake them, but this year I am going to do both. deep fry one and bake one.
I have to have enough leftovers for frozen dinners and sandwiches. happy holliday`s.
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Old 11-06-2007, 04:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morerecipes
I've never tried a smoked turkey or deep fried. Seems people are trying new things to the birds to stray away from the oridinary traditional recipes. This is our 1st year to break tradition with trying the 2-hour recipe ....
LOL - if my memory of American history serves me right .... the original T-day (1621AD) birds were roasted over wood fires .... so perhaps smoked turkey is actually going back to a more original flavor than what you get straying away from the ordinary traditional recipes by roasting in a new fangled gas or electric oven, or one of those electric roasters?

Now, back to BreezyCooking's original question ... my favorite brand is the one that I get free for spending $50 - or did until a couple of years ago when it seems everyone around here quit doing that. Before that, we aways got a free turkey at work ... and I wasn't going to turn it down because it wasn't a certain brand.

The best turkeys I've ever had were the fresh free-range birds my uncle raised on his turkey and egg farm. Of course, back then, free-range is how they were all raised ...
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