The How-To Guide for Buying Your Next Thanksgiving Turkey

One may think that all store-bought turkeys are created equal… but are they really? The answer is NO. Let us educate you on the many options available to YOU, the consumer, when deciding on which turkey to serve your family and friends this Thanksgiving.

Free-Range (or Free Roaming)

For the USDA to consider a bird “Free-Range,” the farmer or producer must demonstrate to the agency that the poultry has had access to the outdoors; pecking and gobbling as nature intended. So what does this mean for you? In this type of environment, the feed given to the turkeys when raised makes a significant difference in the taste. The quality and lack of chemicals, hormones and any other additives is also important to most consumers who opt for the Free-Range Turkey. Does this sound like “the one” for you? Try the Free-Range Turkeys available at B&A Pork Store, Paisanos Butcher Shop, and Schatzie the Butcher.

BONUS: For a dollar more per pound, Schatzie’s will cook the turkey for you!

Cage-Free    

Cage-Free turkeys are just that! They are able to roam without being confined to a cage, but they are not given access to the outdoors as their “Free- Range” counterparts. Try the Cage-Free Turkeys found at Honest Chops Butchery.

Organic

Organic turkeys are those that have been fed a strict diet of only organic feed. Think ground corn or soybean meal. Organic Turkeys can be found at Paisanos Butcher Shop.

Kosher

Like any Kosher food, Kosher Turkeys conform to the regulations of kashrut which is Jewish Dietary Law. Some say there are potential benefits to eating kosher. The mandatory salting and rinsing used in the preparation of the food, for example, has been studied for its ability to reduce the amount of bacteria present on the actual meat or poultry. Or, for those who live a dairy-free lifestyle, a Kosher Turkey may be preferable simply because of the meticulous nature in which kosher food is prepared; where meats & poultry are handled separately from dairy products.

Halal

Eating Halal is primarily an ethical or faith-based choice. Halal foods adhere to Islamic law, as defined by the Koran. One of the primary differences in eating Halal is the way in which the animals are treated. Special care is taken to minimize the suffering of the animal itself. In affect, consumers boast that the taste and quality of Halal meat is superior to any other. You and your dinner guests will be grateful for the rich flavor that results from the careful upbringing of these animals. The Halal Turkeys at Honest Chops Butchery are naturally delicious with tender, juicy meat and are raised on Mennonite Farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. Taste the difference for yourself, and pre-order your Halal Turkey today!

BONUS: If you’re really feeling the true spirit of Thanksgiving, consider the Give One & Take One option from Honest Chops. This alternative buys you a turkey for yourself and a turkey that will be donated to a local charity on your behalf!

Fresh vs. Frozen

Technically speaking, turkeys that are labeled “fresh” have been recently butchered and have not had their internal temperatures below 26°F. The lesser the time between the point that the turkey has been slaughtered and the time it is cooked, the tastier and juicier the flesh of the turkey. So, skip the frozen turkeys found at the local grocery store and treat your guests, and yourself, to a Fresh Turkey this holiday. Find them at B&A Pork Store, Paisanos Butcher Shop, Honest Chops Butchery and Schatzie the Butcher.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly – the best tip for buying your turkey this year is: DON’T WAIT! Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away! Turkeys (free-range, organic, and otherwise) need days to thaw if you’re buying frozen. And even if you do decide to “go fresh,” there is no guarantee that a good quality turkey will be waiting for you if you buy at the last minute. So, whether you are hosting for twenty or hosting for two, pre-order your Thanksgiving turkeys today! You’ll be thankful you did 🙂