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Yes, I agree that turkey-cooking can provoke violence in an otherwise enthusiastic cook! Even wrestling with a 20 pound piece of meat in the sink feels like a chore.

But let us know how the heritage breed tastes.

And you gotta cook the stuffing inside the turkey. It's just better than stuffing cooked in a casserole dish.

So the CSA who provides all our meat did turkeys this year. Unfortunately, he ordered them a little earlier than he should have, and it turns out that the problem with turkeys is not getting them big enough to's keeping them SMALL enough for people to fit in their ovens. You're supposed to order the pullets late in the season, because they grow very...efficiently. (Cue farmer asking us if perhaps we could invite...oh...a couple dozen more people to Thanksgiving? Enough to eat a thirty-five-pound turkey, say?)

He's got, like, veloci-turkeys or something. They're fifty pounds plus live. He had to rig 55-gallon drums to scald the feathers. (I've met them--they're free range, organic, and they look like angry little dinosaurs.) We're getting ours cut in half and my boyfriend's going to part it out and roast it over root veggies, Stuff I never knew about turkey-kind...

"Just put the F@*%ing turkey in the oven"
Here's the link:

Haha, that's great, Ellen!

Comment for Garden Rant

Although I am a vegan who celebrates Thanksgiving without turkeys, I found your article very interesting. I’ve been totally oblivious to the fact that there is so much variety and a plethora of options for selecting and preparing turkeys of this holiday of thanks.

Enjoy yours.

If I cooked a Thanksgiving turkey differently than my mother, her mother, and probably her mother before her, there would be violence. Traditions make for easy decisions.

Brining has always worked great for us, and the result is not too salty, but very moist meat (then again, my husband the cook is a biochemist by training and has tweaked the brine recipe over the years, so maybe he's got some sort of secret). But the big plus to brining for us has been that it cuts the cooking time down dramatically--by hours.

Hmmm, I may have to search around and see if there are any farms in the Finger Lakes region that grow heritage birds. That's a really tempting idea. Otherwise, I may have to make a road trip out to your neck of the woods, Elizabeth! Barring either of those options, I have for several years now been buying Plainville Farms turkeys. They come from out of PA, they don't use antibiotics or growth hormones, they're vegetarian fed, and they're always moist, tender and flavorful. Happy Thanksgiving!

One year I roasted a free range turkey. It was 28 lbs. I had to make a foil cantaliver (sp?) for my roasting pan. I thought it was tasty. The in-laws prefer the pre basted ones so that is what I do.

I find turkey is the easiest meat to cook. I buy one of those prebasted whatever brands, stuff it with the cheapest white bread (cut in cubes and dried in oven) tossed with lots of chopped onions and celery and moistened with homemade chicken broth, add some sage, wrestle it into the roaster, spray in with a nonstick spray, slap the lid on, pop in a slow oven (325) and don't look at it for 2 hours at least. I never baste and peek at it as little as possible. Always roast it for longer than they say. Comes out quite moist. And use more homemade chicken broth to make gravy from the turkey drippings. Turkey broth is pretty blah. I love butter, but don't see the need for the gallons of melted butter in the stuffing or rubbed all over the bird.

Now if I could only have the courage to do a standing rib roast.

I heard a program about Heritage Turkeys on NPR recently. Sounds like they are VERY expensive.
My friend and neighbor, Karen, brines her store-bought turkeys then cooks them in the bar-b-q. MOIST! Yummy! Best ever!

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