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Time to Shop and Talk Turkey

APTOPIX Thanksgiving DinnerThe weekend before Thanksgiving brings on a rush of shoppers, crowding markets in search of turkeys with all the trimmings.

According to the Turkey Sector page on the USDA Economic Research Service website, “Turkey meat production in the United States over the first nine months of 2013 has totaled 4.4 billion pounds, down 1 percent from the same period in 2012.  Total production for the year is forecast at 5.9 billion pounds, also slightly lower than the previous year.”

Any way you slice it, that’s a whole lot of turkey. And the website breaks down all sorts of turkey facts and figures, including answers to questions like, what is the No. 1 turkey producing state (Minnesota), and what is U.S. turkey per capita consumption (16 pounds is the 2013 projection).

And then there’s the news that Butterball, the nation’s largest turkey processor, is reporting a shortage of “large, fresh” (16 pounds and over) Thanksgiving turkeys.

For those concerned with industrial farming practices, there’s some interesting  commentary on the Butterball problem — “Is the Butterball Turkey Shortage for Real?”— by Tom Philpott on the Mother Jones website.

Whatever your politics or thoughts on eating turkey, it’s a provocative read.

Are you cooking a turkey this Thanksgiving?

If so, what kind? If not, why?

— By Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.

11 comments Add your comment

Doc Hollidawg

November 22nd, 2013
12:54 pm

I have never been a fan of roasted turkey…ala Thankgiving style. It always has a very metallic taste to me.

Smoked turkey is ok, the thinner sliced the better. Just not a fan of the Thanksgiving Bird.

Now a Honeybaked Ham on the other hand…….

Baltisraul......

November 22nd, 2013
4:43 pm

Doc…….roasted turkey can be great and very moist, if done right. Brine turkey up to 12 hrs before roasting. In a deep pan and a 1 1/2 cups of white wine in the bottom w/ a rack, roast at 325 degrees till internal temp reaches 165 degrees. Place turkey in a clean pan and put in an ice chest. Cover bird w/ bath towels for 15-30 min. The FDA changed the cooking internal temp reccomendation in 2006. Many of the cookbooks you see still list 180 degree internal temp. (it goes up to 185 degrees covered and standing) Thats when you get a real good chance of having a dry tasteless bird.

If you are roasting a Butterball, kosher or other self-basting turkey, DO NOT BRINE. It will turn out too salty in most cases.

Since there is only 4 this year for Thanksgiving, we are doing a Honeysuckle 9lbs turkey breast, using the same method as above w/ herbed mayo under the skin and around the outside of the bird.

Baltisraul......

November 22nd, 2013
4:46 pm

The herbed mayo, drippings and wine is a great starter for that gravy.

Robert

November 23rd, 2013
7:52 am

Interesting article, thanks for the link. I have to admit as I have gotten older I am more attuned to not using meats from commodity farming – at least what I buy for home cooking. Regarding Thanksgiving turkey I have never cooked one as we always go to someone else’s house for T’giving. However,I have always found it better the next day for making sandwiches – with Durkee’s of course.

Baltisraul......

November 23rd, 2013
11:25 am

Robert…..give it a try. Maybe do a small breast first. If you like dark meat also, roast a couple legs along side the breast. They will need to cook about 15 min longer than the breast. I am w/ you on the next day sammies. But for us Hellmann’s trumps Durkee’s Sandwich Sauce but not by much. Both are always in our house.

littlebird

November 23rd, 2013
3:54 pm

Fry one turkey and you’ll never go back.

Baltisraul......

November 23rd, 2013
4:46 pm

littlebird….you are soooo right. For 3 straight years I put my order in for a fried turkey at Popeyes. Had to order a week in advance and pick it up on Thanksgiving morning. Max size was 14 lbs for them but wow were they good. Sorry they stopped doing it.

Johhny Frato

November 24th, 2013
8:36 pm

I only eat turkey inside the perimeter.

Baldi'srule

November 24th, 2013
8:43 pm

You had to order a turkey at a fast food place instead of making it yourself? Okee.

And to Jonny Frato – I moved ITP as I was OTP before and I wanted to get near the beltway so I could get to the Old Fourth Ward so I could go to Leon’s Full Service to get a PBR before I went to Sister Louisa’s and then to the Clermont Lounge after dinner at The Colonnade. Getting full sleeves, not shaving, glasses from Warby Parker – should be ready for hipster times…

RK

November 25th, 2013
4:18 pm

Getting mine from Heirloom.

Baltisraul......

November 25th, 2013
4:21 pm

Baldi’srule…..no I did not have to order a turkey from Popeye’s for three years running. I did because the first year was soooo damn good. I was not the only one, 225,000 did the same thru out the SE & Mid-Atlantic each year. They shut it down because they could not keep up w/ the ever growing demand. Sorry you had to miss out!!!!!!! But good is good no matter where you find it.