Eleven-Twelve: “A turkey never voted for an early Christmas.”

[Watch the video] One of my favorite classics…

Each year around holiday time, we chef’s get asked a variety of questions on how to prepare for this fowl full celebration.  These questions range from the basic such as “How long should I cook the turkey?” to the more advanced “How do you brine a turkey?” to the downright absurd “Do I have to thaw a frozen turkey before I put it in the oven?”   And the beat goes on…

With only 10-days until the big Thanksgiving Day feast, I’ve decided to countdown the days with my ten tips for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip #1: What’s the best Turkey to buy?
My favorite bird is the Heritage Turkey for 3-main reasons:

Heritage Turkey

1. Naturally mating: A Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating. This means that turkeys marketed as “heritage” must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.  No arranged marriages here.

2. Long productive outdoor lifespan: In order to be considered a Heritage Turkey, the bird must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years. The Heritage Turkey must also have a genetic ability to withstand the environmental rigors of outdoor production systems.

3. Slow growth rate: A Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth. Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. Crossfit- devotees everywhere would be proud.

And let’s not forget the most important factor – TASTE.  Heritage birds, when brined and properly cooked, are one of the juiciest and tastiest birds I’ve ever had.  Cooked at the appropriate time and temperature – Juicy, Delicious and Crispy is how my birds roll!

Stay tuned each day as we count down my top ten tips, tomorrow: “How to write a Thanksgiving Menu?”

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4 thoughts on “Eleven-Twelve: “A turkey never voted for an early Christmas.”

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