HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


fresh turkey for thanksgiving

Where is your favourite butcher to use for a good quality fresh turkey at a reasonable price? Please suggest for the Toronto area only, Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. St. Lawrence Market. I usually go to De Liso's. If you have special requirements for a turkey, i.e. free range, hormone-free, and/or less than 12 pounds, you must place an order. If you show up that Saturday, the smallest you will likely get is a 16 pounder. Been there, done that. I had lots of leftovers that year!

    1. I always order from Fresh From the Farm -- a small Mennonite store front on Donlands, just south of O'Connor. http://www.freshfromthefarm.ca

      2 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        That's where I'm getting mine too - a 20-pounder this year ;-)

        1. re: pâté chinois

          Woohoo! Have fun roasting that bird! I'm getting two 15-pounders... but I only have to roast one of them. :)

      2. Perhaps it's excess cynicism but I've stopped gifting butcher shops with purchases of Thanksgiving+Xmas birds. I've found them consistently over-priced and rarely even close to the weight I ordered. Whip-in occasional fulfillemnt problems, less-than-Grade A birds(mangled/missing limbs+torn skin), and occasional freshness issues, and you've got a believer doubting the probity of the local meat shop. I've been buying fresh Lilydale birds from Costco the past couple of holiday seasons with absolutely no regrets. The savings go to wine upgrades, anyway.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kagemusha

          I've tried fresh, free-range, organic and all the other yuppie approaches. In the end, Turkey is turkey. It is a big lump of meat that is hard to flavor beyond the the outer area. Buy one anywhere and brine it. That's the best you can do.

        2. I'm not sure about reasonable but Cumbrae's on Church moves a lot of fresh turkeys for seasonal events; although it might be too late to order on time at this point.

          1. you can still order from cumbraes on church or bayview. someone who orders their turkeys there told me they were like crack (as in addictive and they need to have them). I havent tried one yet myself.

            1. I suggest that you don't bother exerting yourself on this. Having tried a wide variety of "organic", "free range", "naturally raised", Mennonite, and kosher turkeys over many years, I've given up this quest. Although many have tasted good, most of the hyper expensive ones were dry and tough. I've had to admit, with some embarassment, that I've settled on a turkey source and it sure is easy to get.

              It's the President's Choice bird basted with Normandy butter and it is better than almost anything else. If you can't find a fresh one (though you should be able to during holiday periods), the frozen bird is just fine. (Just be sure to thaw it gently in the fridge over a few days).

              I pour a 2 liter bottle of coke classic (no, I'm not kidding)into a non-reactive vessel big enough to hold the turkey. I add a cup or two of kosher salt (depending on turkey size). Dissolve the salt - it will foam. Then put in the turkey and fill the vesel with more coke classic until the bird is fully submerged. Brine it in this for at least 6 hours. I'm obliged to tell you to do this in the fridge or on ice, but I don't bother and it hasn't poisoned me yet. The brining mixture is highly acidic and contains a lot of salt and sugar.

              I butterfly the turkey, rub it with softened unsalted butter and spices, put it on top of a mound of stuffing, and roast it in a jet stream oven. It lacks the presentation panache of a whole bird, but cooks much more evenly. However you cook it, don't let the white meat go over 160 F. Remember that the temp will rise while it's resting.

              1 Reply
              1. re: embee

                The past 2 years I have bought the presidents choice butter basted turkey and it is soooo good. The meat is so juicy, and I don't even brine it before I cook. I stuff the bird and apply bacon strips on the turkey.

              2. I agree with the generic brand birds and the brining approach and am extremely intrigued by the coke option. But I would add that I am great believer in "flipping the bird"-no, not that way...literally, turning the turkey half way through cooking. Just start it upside down i.e. breast down. and turn it (with rubber gloves on) half way through the cooking time.You won't believe the difference in flavour.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LJS

                  Yup, flippin' the bird is a great way to go if you want to present the bird whole. My way results in a bird that cooks more evenly and much faster (and with a much lower likelihood of burning yourself) if you don't need the presentation.

                2. Meat on the Beach....Queen St.E near Woodbine has some great birds. I think you need to pre-order them.