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Kitchen Notes: Buying Whole Turkeys
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a natural turkey, then go read the previous post on brining. You can refer to Alton Brown's recipe ( http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_8389,00.html ) for a good brine. Have done this twice last year and the turkey is amazingly moist.

The biggest issue was finding a vessel large enough for a turkey of any decent size (15-18lb), ended up getting an NSF garbage can from the restaurant supply house for a couple dollars. With some looking finding another suitable container should be easy to find if a trash can isn't your style.
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Doug
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A cooler or ice chest might work well too, if you have one of those monster ones sitting around Smile
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supergood
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Free Range vs Caged Birds.

I have to disagree with you as well on this one. A free range bird should have a stronger flavour than a caged bird, particularly around the thighs. I am pretty sure this is because muscles that do more work on an animal have an increased blood flow during life, but also other reasons as well potentially. The flipside to this is that animals that have spent more time running around will have tougher meat than those that don't.

I would assume then that a caged bird that does very little excercise would have a different flavour to a free roaming bird. However in my experience with New Zealand chicken farms at least, the birds that are raised for eating are kept in large barns (and fed around 16 hours a day to help them grow quickly) which would quite possibly give them the same amount of exercise as an outdoor bird, so it depends on how you Americans farm your turkey I guess.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It never ceases to amaze me what you can find on the web.

There's really someone out there who classifies tofurkey as turkey??
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heath
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is your feeling about deep fried turkey?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deep fried turkeys are great tasting and usually the meat is extremely juicy and tender. Make sure you don't over fry or let the oil temperature drop too far because the oil can enter the turkey.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a strange question that I'm hoping someone can answer. Why are american turkeys so darned big? Seriously?

In Canada, we go to the grocery store and all the turkeys are under 10lbs. We usually get like an 8lb turkey to feed the family. Where do these huge birds come from?

btw, it can't be hormones because hormones on turkeys are illegal pretty much everywhere. Oh and they're usually killed at 3-7 months here.
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Guest






PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: posting by someone in Canada claiming not to see any turkey more that 10 pounds in the grocery stores. I think you actually meant 10 Kilograms (22 pounds).
In BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan anyway, the Safeways that I frequent have a whole section for birds "under 8 kg" and another for "over 8 kg" (16 lbs)
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Arlene
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a whole stuffed cooked leftover 24lbs turkey for Xmas and was coming down to the beach so threw the whole thing in freezer andf am now wondering how to deal with it! Should I thaw it first or put it in a slow oven covered with tinfoil for about 8 hours, maybe at 300 temp? Anybody out there who reads this and has a sugestion HELP as I have to do it today!Thxs
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: frozen turkey

I would thaw the turkey first in the refrigerator (this will take about a week with a turkey of that size) before reheating/cooking. This is because cooking in the oven for a long period of time will dehydrate the bird and create tough and possibly unpleasant meat.

If I read your question correctly, and the turkey was fully cooked already and then put back into the freezer whole, then after thawing, I would carve the turkey and serve the meat cold or braised briefly in seasoned chicken or turkey broth broth to reintroduce some moisture to the meat.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in the fresh vs frozen debate, one website discusses how fresh birds are aged to promote tenderness while frozen birds are not.

http://www.samcooks.com/flavor/turkey%20talk.htm

can anyone confirm this? I prepared a fresh turkey a few months ago (not brined), and it was fabulous! A couple of days ago i brined a utility grade turkey and it was dry and tough ( i also think i didnt defrost it long enough).

before i spend money on a frozen bird again, i will look for a fresh one.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For years I have had traditional (e.g.: frozen or fresh) turkeys at Thanksgiving.

Last year I decided to try something I've wanted to try for a long time - a Heritage Turkey.

Most turkeys you get in stores today are the Broad Breasted White, and frankly, are kinda boring in taste. A few years ago I found out there are small farms that are resurrecting other breeds (like Bourbon Red) that are what people used to get when they had a turkey.

I wanted about 20 lbs of bird, so I got two 8-10 lb birds last year (total cost, shipping included, $110), and I have to say they were just fabulous. I didn't know what to expect, but the taste was great and they made an absolute wonderful gravy.

I would get them again in a second, and would never go back to plain old store-bought turkeys again. Even "free range" is still going to be the same breed. The heritage turkeys (so-named because they are "heritage" or original breeds) are pretty much the only thing I want to eat/cook from this point forward for a major meal like Thanksgiving.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Free range Vs. caged and Heritage vs. Broad Breasted Reply with quote

You state in the article that free ranging makes no difference in taste as long as the birds are fed the same things. I cannot argue with that, only point out that how many grasshoppers, flies, beetles, butterflies, etc. is a caged bird going to catch? I have raised both Broad Breasted and Heritage birds on my small farm and believe me they taste way better than any turkey I have ever purchased, Diestel included. The Heritage birds are so tasty they seem to me to be a whole different bird than the turkeys I have been eating for the last few decades.

I think one of the difficulties in analyzing the taste of free range birds is that the is a huge disparity in different free range methods and places. For example, I have never had more than 200 birds on three acres. That is a lot of bugs and fresh grass per bird. The recomended maximum for free ranging is 800 birds per acre. There is a fellow that will buy Heritage birds from you if you raise no more than 500/ acre. I have no doubt that my birds will taste different than any of those birds because their diet will invariably be different , just as my eggs are far richer than any free range egg I have bought in a store. Even those densities are only recomendatiuons. There is no standard set for how many birds you can raise per acre and still call them free-range.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

10 pound turkeys? 15 pound turkeys? Try 43 pound free roam turkeys eating fresh fruit and vegetables out of the garden all summer (6 months at slaughter). I would just like some good recipes for cooking such large birds (no hormones, anti biotics - just good living!)
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starxcrost



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
Posts: 4
Location: London

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:25 pm    Post subject: Corn Fed Reply with quote

My husband lived in Spain for a few years and grew accustomed to having corn fed chicken. I have to admit I was quite skeptical regarding the difference it would make. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a big difference in the flavour of the bird. If you ever get a chance to try one...go for it. Be prepared for some good eating...yummy!

By the way, I have found a that Sainsbury's does a good fresh, free range, and corn fed chicken.

I also shop at Tesco's to get eggs from free range, corn fed hens. The yolk is bigger and I think the egg is much tastier as well. Wink
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