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Turkeys

A Guide to Resources - Gobble Gobble

Turkey Buying Guide

Below is a list of wesites that contain how to buy the best quality turkey!

Choose Your Turkey

Basted

Basted (or self-basted) turkeys have been injected with a liquid to enhance flavor and prevent the meat from drying out during cooking. The maximum amount of liquid is 3% of the total weight.

Broad-Breasted White

Most supermarket turkeys are Broad-Breasted White (BBW) turkeys. The BBW turkey is specifically bred for lots of white/breast meat, white feathers, and quick maturation. Some characterize BBW turkeys as drier and less flavorful than heritage turkeys.

Free-Range Turkey

Free Range turkeys must have access to the outdoors (even in winter!) for at least 51% of their life. Both BBW and Heritage varieties of turkeys may be raised free-range.

Fresh and Frozen Turkey

"Fresh" turkey has been stored at 26°F or warmer. "Frozen" turkey has been stored at 0°F or colder. Frozen turkey should be thawed before cooking. Both "fresh" and "frozen" turkeys may have been stored for days or weeks prior to sale.

Hen/Tom

Hen and Tom refer to the sex of the turkey (female and male, respectively). Both hen and tom turkey may be offered for sale (toms are usually bigger).

Heritage

"Heritage" turkey breeds include the Bourbon Red, Narragansett, and Standard Bronze as well as many others. Heritage turkeys could be considered the forerunners of BBW turkeys. While more expensive than BBW turkeys, and with less white meat, many people find Heritage varieties taste better and have more flavor than a typical BBW turkey.

Turducken

A chicken, stuffed inside a duck, which is stuffed inside a turkey and then cooked. Yummy.

Chicago Turkeys

Want to cook a turkey? The first step is to obtain one! Some suggestions about where to find a good bird from around the web:

Neighborhood

Treasure Island, 55th and Lake Park, Chicago. Our local supermarket (just a few blocks from the Reg) offers HoKa turkeys.

Aldi, 6621 S. Cottage Grove,  Jewel, 7530 S. Stony Island, and Dominick's, 2101 E 71st St. Cheap BBW turkeys. We've heard rumors of coupons for free turkeys being offered to loyalty program customers (with purchase of other items, of course).

Whole Foods, 1101 S. Canal St. In addition to offering Midwestern-raised turkeys (some pre-brined), there is rumor that Whole Foods also has heritage turkeys on request.

Chicagoland

Paulina Meat Market, 3501 N. Lincoln, Chicago. Known as "Meat Mecca" to locals, Paulina is a full-service butcher that sells fresh turkeys, smoked turkeys, and frozen homemade turducken.

Zier's Prime Meats, 813 Ridge Road, Wilmette. An "old fashioned" butcher shop on the North Shore, Zier's has HoKa turkeys.

HoKa - Howard Kaufmann Turkey Farms, 8519 Leland Road, Waterman IL. Although HoKa turkeys are available closer to Hyde Park (cf. Treasure Island), nothing beats driving out to an actual turkey farm (not factory). HoKa turkeys aren't organic or heritage, but they are raised outside as much as possible.

Caveny Farm, 1999 N 935 East Road, Monticello, IL. We admit this stretches the definition of "Chicagoland" (Monticello is on the far side of Champaign-Urbana), but Caveny is one of the closer places to offer heritage turkeys. The farm occasionally does Chicago dropoffs on the North Side.

Live

John's Live Poultry, 5955 W Fullerton. If you like to see your Thanksgiving dinner walking around before taking it home, several Chicago foodies swear by John's. Don't forget the cooler and lots of ice for the trip home.