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Bell & Evans Turkeys--better than Butterball?

whs Nov 22, 2006 10:06 PM

The lady in front of me last night at the supermarket was buying a Bell & Evans turkey. She commented that she bought it because she couldn't find a 26 lb. Butterball. She had never heard of Bell & Evans, and was a little nervous. I told her that she was making a superior choice, but when I thought about it, was she? I like their chickens, but have never had their turkeys.

  1. c
    Celebrity Holmes Nov 25, 2010 02:20 AM

    Last Thanksgiving morning I discovered the Butterball turkey I had bought was spoiled. This was no fault of Butterball as apparently the birds had sat out unrefrigerated for an extended period of time and the market told me quite a few had been returned. In any case, I went to another market near my apartment and the only turkeys they had that weren't frozen were Bell and Evans. I wasn't crazy about paying $2.49 a pound, more than double the price of a Butterball, but damn if it wasn't THE best turkey I've ever had. It *wasn't* the most moist bird but seriously, the flavor was significantly richer than other turkeys I've eaten .. slightly gamy (in a good way <g>). This Thanksgiving I *happily* ponied up the extra dough for a Bell and Evans.

    1. greygarious Nov 29, 2008 03:37 PM

      Today I consulted the Nov/Dec 2000 Cooks Illustrated for a different reason, but noticed that it rated 8 turkey brands, some frozen and some fresh. The best was also the least expensive - Marval basted frozen. Then came Empire fresh kosher, Shady Brook Farms fresh, Butterball frozen basted, Butterball fresh, Norbest refrigerated basted, Plainville Farms fresh, and, at the very bottom, Bell&Evans fresh all-natural free-range.

      Although their preferred method is brining, for the taste teste all were roasted plain, with the same oven heat, to 175 degrees in the thigh. This gave an advantage to the basted and kosher birds.

      1. g
        grouper Nov 28, 2008 06:04 AM

        Last year when ordering a turkey from my butcher, I had a choice of a fresh Amish turkey or a B&E. When I asked him what the difference was, he said $1.00 per pound. They don't sell BB's there, but I'll go for the lesser amount if the taste will be the same. The store also sells B&E chicken breasts and I've stopped buying them as I really couldn't tell the difference.

        1. Karl S Nov 28, 2008 04:45 AM

          "Better" is subjective. A *lot* of people would find BB better than B&E, including a not inconsiderable number of chowhounds, I speculate.

          1. v
            vtblues Nov 27, 2008 09:46 PM

            I cooked a 19 1/2 lb Bell and Evans this year, I used the recipie that they recommended on their website, covering in cheesecloth and basting every 15 minutes or so. This bird was the most beautiful I'd ever seen when done and not at all dry. Everybody was very impressed and quite a few told me it was the best they had ever eaten.

            1. pikawicca Dec 8, 2006 08:59 PM

              I cooked a B&E 16-pounder this year, after dry-brining a la Zuni. It was delicious, not dry at all.

              1. m
                marlie202 Dec 8, 2006 04:13 PM

                My friend Bob's Butterballs are best--juicy and tender

                1. Michele4466 Nov 26, 2006 02:54 PM

                  I have always been pleased with B & E chicken parts, bought at my local UWS butcher for regular dinners, whether it be breasts, thighs, etc.

                  Since moving to the 'burbs, I have been buying Murrays. It seems to be more available in my area. I am very happy with every purchase and dinner I have made. Granted, we have been bbq-ing alot but I have done many inside kitchen preps and dinners as well. Not one bad turnout.

                  So, still being pregnant for T-day and because I prefer organic if possible, I purchased a 14 lb Murrays Organic turkey and I must say...it turned out unbelievable! We stayed very traditional this year (see my post in the debriefing thread on Home Cooking for details) and the bird was juicy and delicious, even reheated for leftovers.

                  1. jfood Nov 25, 2006 06:21 PM

                    I eat B&E chickens several times a week and love them. A couple of years ago I bought a B&O Oven Stuffer Roaster for Sunday dinner. Cooked up great, but when I served it my family looked at me and asked what happened. It was dry. So never went back that way and continue to use Purdue for the Roasters.

                    Likewise the story goes for Tommy. Thought I'd try a B&E and let me tell ya, did not like at all. Same reaction by the family. Back to Bball.

                    Moral is a lable does not make a good boyd.

                    1. s
                      Susan627 Nov 25, 2006 12:46 AM

                      I brined a 22 pound B&E. I took loving care of it, and did everything my brining research said to. It was a beautifully roasted bird - I've never had one with such gorgeous skin. But...it was dry. I don't know what I did wrong but maybe there is something to be said for the injected Butterballs!

                      1. Candy Nov 22, 2006 10:41 PM

                        I have not had their turkey but I found their chicken to be pretty flavorless

                        1. j
                          jesse Nov 22, 2006 10:11 PM

                          they're very different, Bell and Evans doesn't inject their turkeys with a brine or fat, so many people expecting the extremely moist breast of Butterball aren't likely to be really thrilled with it..

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