Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Turkey - Tips from The Kitchn

Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Turkey - Tips from The Kitchn
From The Kitchn - November 9, 2017

The turkey often feels like the trickiest part of Thanksgivingespecially your first time around the turkey trot. When it comes to turkey, the questions start early: Just what do you buy? Should it be frozen? Fresh? Heritage? What's with the kosher turkeys, anyway?

This guide will answer all your questions so you can shop with confidence. Here is everything you need to know to buy a great turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey: The Most Traditional Thanksgiving Dish

Unlike some of the side dishes on the Thanksgiving table, turkeys are one of our original local foods and native to the Americas. Although, most of the turkeys we eat today have little resemblance to those wild ones from the Colonial days since now they are bred for their large white breasts.

But there are diverse choices that are more readily available for the Thanksgiving dinner main course. Here are some things to consider when thinking about buying turkeys, and a primer to help you select the right one at the store or butcher shop!

How Big of a Turkey Should I Buy?

If this is the first time you are buying the Thanksgiving turkey, here are things to keep in mind when thinking about what size turkey to buy.

Do I Buy a Fresh or Frozen Turkey?

Fresh turkeys are rarely availableexcept right before Thanksgiving! Here's what you should know about the two.

Which one you buy depends largely on your schedule. If you want to shop well before the holiday and have the time to thaw a bird, then frozen is just fine. But a truly fresh turkey, never frozen, often tastes just a smidge better.

A Guide to the Types of Turkeys

Self-Basting, Basted, or Injected Turkeys

Natural Turkeys

Kosher Turkeys

Free-Range or Free-Roaming Turkeys

Organic Turkeys

Heritage Turkeys


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