What Turkey Should I Buy?
Suggestions from Chowhounds
It’s time to buy that bird for the holidays. While some people have already ordered their turkeys at local markets, others are still puzzling over which brand to commit to. Will guests really notice the fancy heritage bird through the slurry of gravy and mashed potatoes, or will a generic store brand do just fine? Is it OK to like Butterball? And are kosher birds that good? Fortunately Chowhounds have long been debating the merits of different turkeys, and offer great insight. We’ve summarized their comments about some of the brands. No matter which you choose, make sure you have a trusted recipe.
|Taste||“I really like gamey meat, and I like Diestel turkeys, so yes, the Diestels are gamey.” –Humbucker||“It was delicious. ... I had also read a taste test article where Butterball won out over other turkeys (brined, injected, Kosher, etc.).” –scoot||“I think it has a more intense turkey flavor than supermarket birds.” –TomSwift||“[T]he final roasted bird never fails to turn out totally succulent and delicious.” –RGR||“I have never had a ‘bad’ frozen supermarket turkey. They are a bit bland, but simple saltwater brining takes care of that.” –sheiladammassa|
|Texture||“[C]ooking at a low temperature results in a very tender and moist turkey.” –gordon wing
“[N]ot all that tasty or tender, IMO.” –JoyM
|“[T]hey always turned out moist and delicious.” –attran99||“The whole thing tasted like dark meat though it had a more unctuous texture than a regular turkey leg.” –heidipie||“The meat was moist, it sliced beautifully.” –Alexandra||“[Safeway’s bargain bird] was awful. It was dry and tasted like sawdust.” –rworange|
|Appearance||“They tend to be smaller than traditional turkeys which is ideal for our small family.” –Morton the Mousse||“Those folks have been practicing making fool-proof turkeys for decades—they are basically pre-brined and very consistent.” –jdherbert||“[T]hey are apparently not that easy to raise to a large size.” –sfbing||“My friend spent the better part of an hour pulling out quills, pinfeathers and outright plumage before the turkey could be put into the oven.” –Bertie Lightoller||“I usually buy a fresh store-brand turkey on the week they’re on sale, they tend to be less processed/injected than the frozen ones.” –ironmom|
|Other||“I didn’t find a bit of difference taste-wise between the organic and regular Diestel.” –rworange||“Butterball sells turkeys that aren’t pre-treated. I have brined many a Butterball myself. You need to read the label to find out if it has been injected.” –C. Hamster||“The [Bourbon Red variety] have so much more dark meat than the big-breasted white turkeys. Less breast meat, though.” –TomSwift||“[Y]ou can’t count on the package containing giblets.” –JoanN
“It is already brined.” –Rochel Kram
|“If your market has a great price on loss-leader birds, buy a 2nd one and save it for Christmas or New Year.” –Sharuf|
- Further turkey reading on Chowhound:
- Supermarket brand turkey
- best local birds for Thanksgiving?
- What brand of turkey cooks up the best?
- SLO county–Help Me Find a Yummy, Fresh, Organic Turkey
- What brand foods can you not live without?
- Local turkeys for Thanksgiving?
- Empire Kosher Turkey
- Empire kosher turkey
- Kosher turkey v butterball or other
- BUTTERBALL TOM OR HEN?
- Heritage turkeys—worth it?
- Help! I forgot to order a turkey! (MSP)
- Turkey for Dummies
- Bell & Evans Turkeys—better than Butterball?
- call for Thanksgiving debriefing: the good, the bad & the ugly.
Please share your greatest successes and also any duds to learn by
- Hosting first t’giving: fresh or frozen turkey?
- Diestel Turkey comes through
- diestal turkey prices? availability
- Turkeys, again
- Kosher Turkey v. Brined Turkey