Talk Turkey: Pick The Perfect Bird for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just over two weeks away, it’s time to start talking turkey. To help us pick the perfect bird for our Thanksgiving table, we asked Ryan Ford of Charlottesville, Virginia’s The Organic Butcher (and husband of TSG co-founder Christy Ford) to give us some advice on what to consider when placing our order; here are his recommendations:

  • Remember that you have many choices when it comes to picking out your poultry: certified organic, all-natural, heritage breed, locally raised, grain-fed, pasture-raised, wild….Your local butcher, gourmet shop, farm shop, or grocer will likely offer a variety of options, and the experts there can answer questions about each.
  • Keep in mind that different types of turkeys have different flavor profiles. For example, KellyBronze turkeys (shown above) roam wild and are raised to maturity, which allows them to develop a fat marbling that gives them a flavor my family really enjoys. Let your butcher or grocer know what you’re looking for and ask about each variety’s flavor attributes.
  • Feel free to ask about the subjective things that you value, such as whether the turkey you’re considering has been raised sustainably and humanely. Your local expert should be able to answer any questions about what the birds were fed and how they were raised and harvested.
  • If you’re factoring cost into your search, be sure to let your butcher or grocer know so he or she can recommend the best turkey for your budget; the price range for a turkey can really vary based on a variety of factors.

Expert tip from Ryan Ford of The Organic Butcher in Charlottesville, VA. Image courtesy KellyBronze turkeys.