The centerpiece of any Thanksgiving meal is unquestionably the turkey, regardless of how much you enjoy the accompanying pies and side dishes. If you, like many of us, are planning a more intimate get-together this year, you’re going to want to share a bird that’s the optimal size and quality for the number of people attending. In addition, despite the fact that brining, basting, and roasting are all extremely essential steps, the first step in the procedure is to ensure that the turkey you choose is of high quality. The following is a list of things that you should and should not do when searching for the ideal bird:
How to Choose a Turkey DO: Search for a natural or organic frozen turkey, and try to find one that was “pastured,” which means that it was allowed to freely roam outside. If you have access to a butcher or a farmer who can offer you a fresh turkey (meaning it has never been frozen) or a heritage breed turkey (historic breeds that have been raised naturally), the taste will be superior; however, the price tag will reflect that.
DO NOT purchase a turkey that has been “basted,” “self-basted,” or “injected,” as these turkeys are typically factory-farmed and injected with substances to make them bigger.
When Choosing Your First Thanksgiving Turkey, It’s Important to Know These 7 Terms
How Big of a Turkey Should I Buy?
DO: To ensure that there will be leftovers, plan on two pounds of food for each adult and one pound of food for each child.
DO: If you’re having a lot of people over, you might want to think about ordering two smaller birds. If you do not have a second roasting pan, you can easily roast smaller birds in a large skillet or on a baking sheet with a rim if you have either of those items.
DO NOT: Spend your money on a monstrous 18–20 pounder. Smaller birds are less likely to be pumped full of chemicals, which means that in addition to thawing more quickly and cooking more evenly, they are also less likely to be frozen.
Where to Get Your Thanksgiving Turkey in the Neighborhood
DO: If you want to find local poultry farmers, you should go to a reputable butcher or your preferred farmer’s market.
If you decide to go the route of a frozen turkey, you should check out a supermarket like Whole Foods. Because of the store’s stringent requirements, you can rest assured that you will walk away with a quality item.
Where to Find and Order a Turkey for Thanksgiving Via the Internet
DO: Consider purchasing online. There is a large number of online butcher shops that sell all kinds of meat, from organic to wild turkeys, and will transport their products anywhere in the country. The following are some of the available choices, ranging from whole turkeys to hens and hams:
Crowd Cow is currently taking pre-orders for turkeys ranging in weight from 12.5 to 18 pounds, with birds available in both white and dark meat. If you place your purchase before November 10th, the pasture-raised birds from Gunthorp Farms in Indiana will be delivered to your door in time for Thanksgiving. You also have the option of ordering a whole chicken, which is suitable for households with fewer members.
Williams-Sonoma is the retail name.
Additionally, Williams-Sonoma provides a delivery service for turkeys ranging in size from 10 to 12 pounds all the way up to 22 pounds for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Willie Bird turkeys are produced in Northern California on organic grains, and they are free-range. Willie Bird turkeys are shipped out fresh, arrive cold, and should be consumed within seven days (will be sent right in time for the Thanksgiving holiday). Additionally, they provide pre-cooked smoked turkey breast, bone-in hams, and fresh bone-in turkey breast as options for those who like a fuss-free meal.
You can also order turkeys from Omaha Steaks, but the company offers an even better deal, which is an entire meal in one that includes a 10-pound turkey, an 8-pound Thanksgiving ham, two sides, and one dessert for a total price of $220. You can get this deal by ordering the Omaha Steaks Thanksgiving Meal. You also have the option of purchasing a turkey that is already basted with brown sugar and honey and is ready to be cooked for an additional cost of $80. If you have a smaller gathering, you can get completely cooked turkey breasts starting at $40 per.
Turkey is available through D’Artagnan’s extensive online shop for mail-order cuisine, which also features a variety of other foods. Order the natural bone-in turkey breast for $45 if you want a dish that serves fewer people, or try the smoked turkey breast if you want something that can be prepared more quickly.