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Dec 2, 2002 10:23 AM

Diestel Turkey comes through

  • g

Cooked my first Diestel turkey this past weekend - with very nice results. I usually go for a bargain bird and brine it with good results but this time our friend bought the Diestel bird (16 lbs). We were all busy doing other things so we decided to do a simple preparation - no brining. I did season the bird well, inside and out and basted with a sage butter. Also cooked this at 250* and kept a bit of liquid (water) in the bottom of the pan. At 250* we're talking about 20+ minutes a pound. I turned it up to 425* for the last 25-30 minutes to get some nice color on the bird. Brought the breast meat to 165* - the leg was also at that temperature. The breast was perfectly cooked and moist....the thigh was definitely pink and very juicy....I cut off the thigh and nuked it for a minute and it was perfect. The drumstick didn't need more cooking. Diestel turkeys go for $1.99 / lb and are free range, w/o hormones, etc. Definitely a nice turkey. I stuffed the cavity with an assortment of fresh herbs and a lemon ( poke many holes with the point of a paring knife) at a low temperature results in a very tender and moist turkey - plus we could leave for a nice walk and not worry about returning to an overcooked bird.


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  1. Anyone have any thoughts on Diestel vs. Willie Bird? Our local butcher, Drewes, carried the Willie Bird turkeys this year. Hard for me to tell how much the results I got stemmed from cooking vs. the bird; I know in previous years I got somewhat better white meat from the Diestel, but then again I blew it and didn't tent the breast like I usually do. Our dark meat was better than usual, though, which I attribute to a more flavorful brining.

    4 Replies
    1. re: trillinite

      We have cooked both the Diestel and Willie Birds. Both are fine birds. The Willie Bird is a large breasted bird, meatier, and locally produced from Sonoma country.

      1. re: Cynthia

        My mom did Willie Bird for several years and then switched to Diestel (for convenience).

        Both are fine birds, but my memories of the Willie Bird are of better breast meat (better texture and flavor).

        OTOH the dark meat of this year's Diestel was great: not at all greasy or gamy the way dark turkey can be.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          How does the Shelton and the Rosa compare to the Diestel and Willie Bird? All are free range, natural turkeys with no additives or basting solutions.

      2. re: trillinite

        We roasted Willie Bird turkeys for years, but last year, after a not so great Willie Bird (we have turkey fairly often,) we tried a Diestel turkey. We liked both the breast meat and the dark meat a lot better (and there seemed to be more of it on the bone) and now only buy Diestel turkeys.