Thaw the turkey in the coldest part of the refrigerator, in the far back on the bottom shelf. You're not alone. It is best to preorder a fresh turkey with your local butcher and arrange to pick it up a few days before the holiday. The quality of the turkey meat is often determined by the farm that raised the turkeys. Check out our How To's section so you can cook your top turkey. Once fully thawed, frozen turkeys will still take longer to cook than fresh ones. All-Natural vs. Free-Range vs. Local vs. Heritage. “But it all depends on the space.”. Butterball, LLC strives to make its web experience accessible to all users. Buying organic turkeys, according to a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, may actually help prevent the spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria, largely considered to be a major food health crisis today. “Always fresh turkeys,” he said, adding “Fresh turkeys will hold their moisture better than frozen. It is more likely that birds raised indoors or under high stress factory farmed conditions will be at greater risk of pathogens because of the unhealthy conditions they are raised in. A fresh turkey cooks a lot differently than a frozen one does. Fresh and frozen turkeys cook differently. “There’s nothing wrong with a frozen turkey. Frozen turkeys require additional time for thawing; therefore, additional prep time is required. “I do like to brine sometimes,” said Ian Robbins, executive chef for Williamsburg Winery. Fresh turkeys normally roast much quicker. There are new labeling laws for turkeys. If you adhere to all the buying and storing guidelines mentioned above, the preparing and cooking the two birds is essentially the same. Frozen turkeys are best when flash-frozen packaged immediately to 0°F. Allow 1 day of thawing for every 4 pounds of turkey. When purchasing the turkey, it’s best to get one from a local butcher or small family farm instead of a chain grocery store. Below are some critical factors in how and when you choose your bird. Every year, the search for the ultimate Thanksgiving bird continues. In this case, our friends include experts at the National Turkey Federation, the United States Department of Agriculture and even Consumer Reports. The texture tends to be a bit different as well. The process works best when the turkey is minimally processed and does not contain any salt solutions or preservatives, information home cooks can find on the label of their turkey. They are also a lot pricier, costing up to $10 per pound, like this $160 for a 16-pound turkey from Heritage Foods. To figure this out, stick a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the turkey: the thigh. “You’re supporting the local economy.”. This study done a few years ago was on ground turkey, but you can hopefully get the idea: Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. Given this year’s COVID-19 restrictions, I think most of us won’t have to worry about any 15-pound turkeys. Fresh turkeys should not be purchased more than a day or two before it’s to be served and it needs to be kept in the coldest portion of the refrigerator, most often the bottom shelf in the rear of the unit. Frozen turkeys can be bought in advance too, of course, but Ray says you actually don't want to purchase a frozen turkey too early. This is because freezing creates water crystals that rupture the cell membranes in the muscle tissue of the turkey. Some types of turkeys simply aren't large enough to serve a massive crowd. Please use a meat thermometer when cooking. This means keeping it inside the original plastic packaging until you’re ready to cook it. But if your turkey time is going be a rather intimate occasion, buying pre-portioned pieces might be a better idea. Chances are that when you sink your teeth into your first fresh bird, you’ll notice a definite difference, usually caused by the fresh turkey’s natural diet. Fresh turkeys are best if held in the refrigerator for 24 hours before final preparation. Heritage turkeys, which are much closer to what the Pilgrims likely would have seen roaming around, are leaner and gamier in taste. Fresh vs. Are you a fresh or frozen turkey person? Frozen turkeys can be purchased a few weeks in advance of the meal for which the bird is to be served. Save up to 85% on gifts from small businesses.


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