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Please help a turkey virgin - where to buy a great turkey?

  • j

We just volunteered to host Thanksgiving and neither my husband nor I have ever made a turkey. I'm not quite sure where to start, but I guess we need to start with acquiring a bird.

Any recommendations as to where to purchase a good bird in NYC? All we know is that we want to go beyond Butterball, but do we want organic, heritage, etc.? Our minds our spinning.

Thank you in advance.

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  1. 2 yrs ago I cooked a farm-raised turkey from the Quattro Farms stand at Union Square Greenmarket. ordered ahead of time. was my first time roasting a turkey and it turned out fabulous (although I burned the roasting pan from not adding liquid during the cooking).

    1. You might want to try calling Ottomanelli (sp?) - I seem to remember signs at the one on Bleecker Street a couple of weeks ago about such turkeys - don't know how far ahead you have to order.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MMRuth

        I would second that. I used one of their turkeys last year, brined in a light salt mix, and then did a miso rub and it was one of the best turkeys we had ever had.

      2. I will be responsible for preparing Thanksgiving this year as well. I plan to look into Ottomanelli after these reviews, but I was wondering if anyone has ever ordered a turkey from Citarella, and if so, what were your thoughts?

        1. This may be somthing different for you. They sell a chinese version of chicken capon at Kam Man Market in NY Chinatown on Canal Street.


          The chicken comes as big as a turkey, but the twist is that its as tender as a chicken. The way it works is that they cut off the reproductive organ of the chicken and it makes the flesh of the meat more tender and the bird usually gets fatter when the organ is removed. You have to pre-order. All you have to do is walk in the store and talk to the guy that is chopping the BBQ meat by the window. I think you have to leave money to show that you are serious in buying it. I had this for many years and rarely went back to eating Turkey after eating this.

          1. A neutered chicken is a capon. Quattro's at the Union Square greenmarket has excellent capons at Thanksgiving and Christmas. You'll need to order them in advance, though -- today would not be too early.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KRS

              The one I mentioned is already cooked. How is the one at Quattro's?

            2. Buy a kosher turkey from the grocery store...they really taste the bezt.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jenniebnyc

                Excellent advice! I have always used kosher turkeys, and they always turn out juicy and delicious whether you use a standard oven or a convection oven as I do.

                One of the best things about them is that you don't have to go through the mess and trouble of brining them yourself because the salting that is part of the koshering process has already been done.

                Empire kosher turkeys can be found in the frozen foods section of your local supermarket. They should be defrosted *in your refrigerator* a few days before Thanksgiving Day.

              2. i just ordered one from fresh direct. fresh, antibiotic free and i think organic. has anybody tried this before? i hate lugging thanksgiving groceries back from whole foods.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mas

                  antibiotic free is not organic - and I didn't see a organic turkey on the fresh direct site. (there is a major difference in taste between free range organic. free range, natural, antibiotic free, and so on down the line. The big stores are trying real hard to co-op the various terms so people don't think they are getting industrial food - but they are.
                  Free range organic tastes better but this year I am going to try Free Range Kosher Organic which I am told tastes even better than either regular organic or regular kosher. (we shall see)
                  (Kosher also means that it is pre-brined -wchi is a major time savings)

                2. Another vote for the kosher turkey! We cook for a small group, so we get a turkey breast from the kosher butcher on Grand Street, East Side Glatt.
                  It's always fresh, tender, juicy and tasty (although when buying it we don't mention our plan to stuff it with porcini and prosciutto...).