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To brine or not to brine -- a heritage turkey

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So, we're not having Thanksgiving dinner until Sunday and I went shopping today.  Heritage turkeys were on sale for .99 cents a pound.  Got a $100 bird for $18.  I've never had a heritage turkey.  Was intending to brine a plain old turkey but will I need to brine a heritage turkey?  I still have a day to decide and could use any words of wisdom from you fabulous chefs and cooks.  Thanks so much!!

post #2 of 9

I don't know really.  What's the difference between a Heritage turkey and a plain old turkey?

post #3 of 9

Normally, about three-four bucks a pound. biggrin.gif

 

"Heritage" is the word being used with animals comparable to "heirloom" vegetables. It refers to the old-fashioned varieties that are now out of the mainstream. Although hogs have been given more than their fair share of exposure, the fact remains there are people raising just about every type of meat animal, maintaining flocks and herds of the old-time types.

 

Generally speaking, heritage turkey lack the fullness of modern birds (which have been bred specifically for their oversized breasts---to the point where they cannot, in practical terms, breed on their own). This is, it is said, a result of breeding programs reacting to public preferences for breast meat.

 

About 99% of the commercially available turkey are all white. Heritage types, such as, say, the Bourbon Red, will be colored, looking more like wild turkey than domestic ones. Here, again, the all-white birds were bred to meet a market preference. Or so the growers say.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 9

Yes, you can (and should) brine a heritage turkey. 

 

BDL

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks, BDL.  I'm on my way right now to mix the brine solution.  Found a good one with apple cider.  Will make apple, sausage, walnut stuffin muffins to go with.  Can hardly wait.  

post #6 of 9

I don't know about "heritage" turkeys, I just buy the cheapest turkey I can find and brine it every time. It has not failed me yet. It comes out moist and tender and delicious. Unfortunately, I keep getting picked to do the turkey every family gathering. Brine, brine, brine. I brine whole chickens for putting on the smoker. When I take them out of the brine I split them and put them on the pit for a few hours. Best chicken you will ever eat! 

 

Lyniebeck mentioned the hundred dollar bird for $18. I called my daughter and asked her to stop by the store last Monday on her way from class and buy a turkey. I told her to just get a cheap one around 23 pounds. She went to Kroger and got a 25 pound turkey for $0.25/lb. Yes, 25 cents. She was so excited she bought a second one to donate to a needy family (through Kroger). 

I should've been a chef. Where else can you eat your work?
Searching for food nirvana!
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I should've been a chef. Where else can you eat your work?
Searching for food nirvana!
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post #7 of 9

Was just reading an article that talked about how deeply into the loss-leader thing stores are with turkey. Apparantly, the average wholesale price is a buck a pound. But almost everyone is selling them considerably less than that.

 

Frankly, I didn't expect to see that, this year. But I'd advise anyone with a freezer to pick up an extra bird or two, to have during the year. You just can't beat it for economical meals.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 9
The 13 pounder I slightly overcooked cost me $6. All I had to do to get that price was spend at least $25 on other groceries there. Like that was difficult when shopping for Thanksgiving.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

My heritage turkey was the best I've made in 40 years of making holiday turkeys.  I brined it in a solution of water, apple juice, salt, sugar, aromatic veg and herbs.  I'd never brined anything before, btw. Also smeared it with herb butter inside the skin and out.  It was soooo succulent, flavorful and moist.  Don't know if it was the bird or the brine but the combination was amazing.  Thanks BDL for answering my question.  I discovered the price of HERITAGE turkeys range from $4.50 - $8.00 a pound.  Got a real bargain at a buck a pound.  They were sitting next to the .29 cent a pound turkeys but I decided, what the heck!  It's Turkey Day!!  And it's still lots cheaper per pound than New York strip or standing rib roast.  Why cheap out on a turkey when you can get a deal on a really good one for a few more bucks?  Was worth every penny!!  I'm having fun now deciding what to do with leftovers.  I love Thanksgiving!!

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