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GREENBERG'S SMOKED TURKEY: The absolute best?

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I have been hearing a lot about the "fabulous" smoked turkey from GREENBERG'S in Tyler, Texas.

What are your experiences and recs?

Do you serve it hot or cold?

Link: http://www.gobblegobble.com/

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  1. I've been ordering them for over 25 years and they are absolutely fabulous.

    1. It's Outrageous I just had a few slices yesterday ...they are located in Tyler Texas and been in business for 57 years...I ordered one earlier today for my daughter that lives in Colorado ...it's the best...better get one quick because they are swamped and down to the small and medium size...

      1. So I just ordered one for the first time. I was going to have it shipped ASAP, but the guy at Greeberg's suggested waiting until the beginning of November to save on shipping. Evidently when it is cool outside, they can ship them regular mail vs airmail. Anyway, I changed the order to come in around Thinksgiving. Any recent experiences with these birds? Are they better for sandwiches or would you serve them as a main course. Room temp? He gave me instructions for heating if I wanted to, but I'd hate to do anything to dry it out.

        Thanks,
        Liz

        2 Replies
        1. re: LizATL

          We ordered turkeys from GREENBERG twice last year and loved them down to the last drop. The meat is fresh, moist, and succulent.

          I served it as a main course , heated, and also at room temp. We had so much left over, I froze it. It made great sandwiches and snacking.

          We are planning to order again for TGiving and Christmas, and to send as gifts.

          It's true, they are not the best looking critters, not much to look at, but everyone thought it was the best turkey they ever tasted.

          Please post your review when you get yours.

          1. re: Fleur

            Yum, now I'm excited! The dip ideas below sound delicious as well. I will report back with a review.

            Liz

        2. I am truly blessed to live in Tyler, Texas, home of the Greenbergs and their scrumptious turkeys, the Aristocrat of Birds. They are, indeed, special. A few of years ago Oprah included them among her "favorite things" holiday show and sales went ballistic. Be sure to order them well in advance. They always run out completely just before Thanksgiving and Christmas and their size selection gets severely limited as the holidays approach.

          If they are being shipped they will be frozen and will stay good for several days. We have shipped them to Colorado many times without a problem.

          They can be eaten heated, at room temperature or cold, right out of the fridge. I think room temp is best. Make sandwiches with the left-overs. I highly recommend using Durkee's Famous Salad and Sandwich Sauce for the sandwiches. At the risk of being driven from the Chowhound society, I also highly recommend making the sandwiches out of plain old white bread -- none of that healthy grainy crap.

          One more way to use the left-overs is to chop the meat and mix it with mayonnaise and cream cheese and form it into a ball, like a cheese ball. Makes a great holiday dip.

          1 Reply
          1. re: River Rat

            My grandmother used to get a smoked turkey at christmas time -- I was a kid so I don't know the brand, but she did make the dip with smoked turkey (she'd put it through her meat grinder), cream cheese and mayo, and it was just about the best dip I ever tasted.

          2. Ok, my smoked Greenberg turkey arrived a few days earlier than expected. It was supposed to arrive on the 17, but came yesterday. I had a taste and it is delicious!

            I want to serve it for Thanksgiving, and the packaging and website both say it will last for "6 to 8" days in the fridge. Thanksgiving is 8 days from the arrival date. Should I freeze it? I don't want it to taste like old turkey but I don't want to unnecessarily freeze it and ruin the texture. I looked online and can't find anything about how they freeze. Has anyone frozen one? I also can't tell if it was previously frozen. It was cold, but definitely not frozen, when it arrived.

            Please note: I am not worried about the health aspect. I am sure if they say it is ok 8 days later, it is fine. Plus, all that smoke has got to preserve it some. I am much more concerned with quality of taste degredation.

            Thanks!

            4 Replies
            1. re: LizATL

              I'm curious, as well. Mine arrived yesterday and the outside of the turkey felt like it was at room temp when I opened the box. I put it in the fridge.

              1. re: emily

                lizATL and emily -- not to worry. I live where Greenberg's is and have them every year. Both your turkeys were frozen when they left Greenberg's and both will be fine if you just refrigerate them till Thanksgiving. I wouldn't refreeze them, although it probably wouldn't do much damage. Sam Greenberg, the guy who runs the company, tells me he keeps them frozen at his home all year and thaws them when he wants one throughout the year, since they only smoke them for a few months before the holiday season.

                We have five on order to arrive for several people, including our place in Colorado, on Monday or Tuesday, but it wouldn't surprise me if they get there today or tomorrow, but that's not a problem. They will keep well till T'day.

                1. re: River Rat

                  Thank you very much for the reassurance! I will now be content to wait with the turkey resting in the fridge until the big day.

                  Happy Holidays!

              2. re: LizATL

                I have same problem,mine arrived Tuesday. Ok,I guess I wont freeze.I never in 30 years heated, just slice at room temperature. They are wonderful.

              3. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your GREENBERG'S SMOKED TURKEY. Just keep it refrigerated 'til Turkey day and enjoy.

                We always get them, and have leftovers which I freeze immediately after carving in small packages wrapped in Saran Wrap, then in Foil, then stored in Freezer Baggies. Even though it has been frozen before, GREENBERG'S OKs freezing leftovers. They are delicious, almost as good as the first time.

                1. Tastes like the State Fair's turkey leg. Usually I love the State Fair's turkey leg. It's pretty awesome. Other than that I think Greenberg's Turkey isn't original.

                  Mine was a bit dry probably because I didn't brown the turkey right. Overall, I didn't like it. The flavor of the meat was marinated probably with just salt. I think I'll just wait until the next State Fair to enjoy my turkey off the grill. =]

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Hanh

                    I'm very confused. "Mine was a bit dry probably because I didn't brown the turkey right." Did you re-cook it? If so, no wonder it was "a bit dry."

                  2. I just registered just because I had to comment -- my boss gave us a Greenberg Turkey for christmas -- we very ate the whole thing standing up in the kitchen, picking the carcass like a bunch of starving vultures.

                    This is the best smoked turkey I've ever had -- bar none.

                    I'll order one next year!!!

                    1. Whatever you do, don't throw out the bones! They make the best soup and smoked pinto beans ever! I divide the bones up into quart size freezer bags and freeze them. On a cold wintry day, just take out a bag and boil them in a couple of quarts of water to make a smoky broth for soup or add to a pot of simmering pinto beans. Any meat left on the bones will practically fall off and you'd be surprised how much there is after you thought you'd already picked the bones clean! Yesterday, I made some great Southwestern Soup by boiling some bones in 2 quarts of water. I removed the bones, let them cool, removed the meat, returning it to the pot and then added a can of rinsed pinto bean, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of Ro-tel tomatoes, a can of whole kernel corn and a can of cream style corn to thicken it. Spicy and smokey! I am looking forward to making a big pot of smokey pinto beans next.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cindy72257

                        Great ideas, Cindy. I can tell you Greenberg's bones make a great stock for soup and also make a great stock for gumbo.

                        Seeing this thread revived reminded me of last year. On November 17 I posted that we were waiting on five of them to be delivered to various places. They all arrived on time and delicious. Christmas was a different story. We were waiting for ours to be delivered to Beaver Creek, Colorado for our Christmas feast with my family. Unfortunately there was a massive snowstorm in eastern Colorado, including Denver, that shut down UPS. (Now that's a bad snowstorm!) Our turkey got stranded in the Denver area and was not delivered for more than a week after Christmas. I was concerned about eating it at that point, so disposed of it. Called Greenberg's when I got home to Tyler, Texas, home of Greenberg's, and told them what happened. They offered to send me out another turkey right then or at some point in the future. We agreed on Easter weekend and it showed up as promised on the Thursday before Easter. A nice treat at a non-smoked-turkey time of year for us.

                        One more thing about Greenberg's. Like most places, in our town we have a chronic shortage of blood for use in the medical community for trauma services, etc. Blood drives by the local blood bank are common. This past week, Greenberg's sponsored a blood drive -- right in the middle of the last week of their second most busy season (Christmas is busiest). They had the mobile blood bank parked in their parking lot and gave a free smoked turkey to every person who donated blood. Originally scheduled for two days, it was so successful they extended it to a third day, resulting in the largest blood drive in the blood bank's history. By the end of the day Wednesday, Greenberg's had given away more than 600 turkeys. Sam Greenberg, the president of the company, should receive accolades for his kindness and civic-mindedness. Good job, Sam!

                      2. THE BEST TURKEY EVER! Everyone should try one once. I have ordered mine and noticed the 15 pounders are already gone! They smoke just enough turkeys to fill last year's quota so they never have left overs. They used to ship around the world, but the turkeys were stolen. :( But that tells you how great they are.

                        1. It's been 3 years since you posted this topic, and I hope you were brave enough to order one. Otherwise, you are really missing out.
                          My college roommate had ordered one from (William Sonoma) back then, and it was delicious... Even for those anti-turkey people such as myself. Recently, I had the worst cravings in the world, so I went ahead and ordered one.
                          It is absolutely delicious!!!! As soon as it arrived, I got my handy dandy knife, and separated the dark meat, breast meat, etc. put it in a sandwich size zip-lock bag and labeled, dated and tossed them in the freezer. It has been a week since I've done so, and I only have 1 bag left! I plan on ordering more before they sell out (already out of 15lbs).

                          The turkey is not dry at all. They are delicious, not too salty, just perfect! The skin on the turkey did bother me a bit. Although I froze them with the skin on to keep the moist/seasoning in tact while thawing.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Superflysly

                            I ordered my first Greenberg smoked turkey for Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that I love turkey and I really love smoked turkey - however, this turkey had such an overpowering smokey taste that I had a hard time eating it. I could not taste turkey at all - just smoke. It was much better when you eat it as part of a meal or as a sandwich - but just to eat it by itself was almost impossible. I used some of the left overs to make the cheese ball and it was wonderful! Maybe it's just me... everyone else seems to love them, but I found them really too strong. Just be aware if you have not ordered before that you have to really love smoked meat to enjoy this to it's fullest.

                            1. re: queenchalupa

                              Totally AGREED!! Great for sandwiches! Flavor very strong!

                          2. We were given this as a gift this Thanksgiving. If you like slim-jims you will love this. It smells exactly like a slim jim and so will the entire house. It was surprisingly moist, had a rich smokey taste. We had it at room temperature since I was already cooking my own turkey so I had enough work to do.
                            The only word of caution if you have high blood pressure as my husband and I do. Make better health choices- this contains in a 3 ounce slice- 500 sodium mg. YIKES! but tasty!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: smont3

                              I just received a Greenberg as a gift. It is the worst smoked turkey I have ever had. Very Very dry and bitter. I think I got a bad one. I live in Texas and have eaten smoked turkeys all my life and this was horrible. As it was a gift I can't complain to the giver. I wish the Greenberg website had a place to let them know they have a quality control problem.

                            2. My first experience with a smoked turkey was last night. Yum! My family and I enjoyed it. It was a gift from my wife's co-workers. I recommend Greenberg Smoked Turkey's.

                              1. 19 November 2009
                                The Greenberg Smoked Turkey has too much
                                peppery spice that greatly overwhelms the
                                turkey. Where's the turkey ? We will NOT
                                order again. PW

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Diner A

                                  I have ordered for 30 years ,they are wonderful. Never cook,always serve room temperture.
                                  I have never tasted any peppery spice.

                                2. My family has been getting Greenberg turkeys longer than I have been alive. It is hands down the best turkey I've ever had. Every year we buy a Greenberg and then a locally made turkey because some in our family just don't like smoked turkey.

                                  Thanksgiving usually turns into a fight over the delicious pepper pockets in the turkey.

                                  1. Purchased a Greenberg Turkey at Central Market in Dallas from a Greenberg rep. I was told to warm it up, place it breast side down, place cheese cloth on the back filled with butter. Cover with foil, and warm in the oven at 250 degrees, 5 minutes per pound, (our turkey was a nine pound turkey), let it rest for about 30 minutes prior to slicing.

                                    I followed the instructions perfectly. Sliced the turkey and it looked great. There is one catch, it tasted awful. There were 9 people at the table and no one liked the turkey. It tasted like a fuel excelerator. It did not have a nice smokey flavor. It was a very bitter smoke flavor.

                                    We tossed the $50.00 turkey. Maybe we just got one from a bad batch, but we will not order or purchase another.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: hachiefoodie

                                      In 30 years I have never heated them , just room temp. I would call them and tell them what happened. They are very nice on phone.

                                      1. re: hachiefoodie

                                        Whoever told you to warm the turkey at Central Market was obviously not familiar with Greenberg Turkeys. I doubt they were even a rep. You can call Greenberg's office and they will tell you they do NOT recommend heating their turkeys. It's already cooked! Even their website says it. They do have warming instructions on their website, but nothing at all like what you described. I would try another one because they are truly the best.

                                      2. That's amazing- one of my customers used to give everybody in my department a Greenberg smoked turkey every Christmas- back in the early '70s. I hadn't thought about them in years. Now I may have to order one for old time's sake.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                          has anyone ever had a bad experience with delivery? After reading the NYTimes review, I was tempted to order one but hesitated after reading some comments that people received turkeys that were defrosted, warm, etc. Thanks.

                                          1. re: jasmine

                                            I ordered a 10-pounder on a whim based on reviews, just had to try it. I got a postcard this past Monday (10/8), saying turkey was en route and due approx 10/12, and if did not arrive in good condition within 10 days, contact company.

                                            Turkey arrived 10/11. Center of breast meat near bone still a bit frozen; outer cool to touch. Mind you: we're in Dallas area, within 2 hours of Tyler. Still, maybe the smoking process might provide a bit of protection? for longer trips?

                                            The turkey is delightful, moist, flavorful, distinct, rich with smoke but not overwhelmed (the cats go crazy every time we pull it out of the fridge).

                                            I like the "small-family-biz" tradition but might have hesitated to order if we didn't live so close. I'd certainly order again though.

                                            1. re: DuchessNukem

                                              OK, I have a crisis. I was going to order a Greenberg Turkey for New Years' and they are apparently sold out! Does anyone know of an alternative smoke house that will ship and is a close second choice?

                                              1. re: goldband

                                                I've sent New Braunfels Smokehouse meats as gifts and folks have enjoyed them, but never ordered for myself. They do have smoked turkey available on the website:

                                                www.nbsmokehouse.com

                                                Good luck!

                                          2. re: EWSflash

                                            I've ordered two- last year and this year, they've almost been overly solicitous with the arrival times, almost like there had been a problem at some point, but maybe it's just their practice.

                                            No, in other words.Not here.

                                          3. If what you want is a turkey that has been smoked within an inch of its life then this bird is for you. My father-in law, who is from Dallas, thinks there is nothing better. Personally, I think the smoking is too much and the white meat tends to be somewhat dry. The overwhelming smoke flavor is waaaay too much for my taste and results in turkey which is cloying to the palate and almost inedible. No way to tell break it to my father in-law that we would prefer a more traditional bird.

                                            1. When somebody asks me, "How was your Christmas?", I hold up three fingers and reply, "Three words... Greenberg Smoked Turkey!"

                                              It's a case of "mistaken identity", to have thought that all of the other "smoked" products that I have sampled, looking for "that flavor", would have revealed the taste that I had been craving.

                                              Like someone that has grown up drinking from the city water supply, finally having a glass from an artesian well - refreshing.

                                              I don't know about you, but I have an "olfactory memory". I can smell something that I haven't smelled in twenty years and immediately recall the experience accompanying it. Greenberg turkey is no different.. Whenever and wherever it was, I had lost track of the source. Until this Christmas dinner. Someone we knew brought a plate of carved turkey to the dinner meal and matter-of-fact stated, "It's Greenberg turkey as they placed it on the table in front of the guests. No one seemed to recognize the significance of the statement, until they started eating. "Wow! What kind of turkey is this?" Was the reply from our graciously generous guest.

                                              By the end of the evening, there was a whole group of people leaving a beautiful Christmas gathering with a new phrase to their conversations, "It's a Greenberg".

                                              Matter-of-factly stated.