HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Heritage turkey tips?

Ruth Lafler Oct 30, 2007 03:33 PM

Okay, so it looks like we're going to be cooking a heritage turkey for the first time this T-Day.

Is there anything in particular I should know about cooking a heritage turkey? I know that grassfed beef cooks differently than grain-fed beef, but do different kinds of turkeys need different handling? Just so you know where I'm starting from, the tried and true method we've been using is cooking a fresh, "natural"/organic turkey using the Weber (not to smoke, just to roast, with a slight smokiness). Oh, and I don't care what the food safety fanatics say, I cook the stuffing in the bird!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. gridder RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 4, 2007 06:55 AM

    I am curious about this too -- hopefully someone knows!

    1. b
      banquo RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 7, 2007 09:48 PM

      There are some recipes located on the Heritage Foods website:


      From a Marian Burros article in the NY Times last year (Nov 2006), seems like one of the keys to cooking a heritage bird is that it cooks faster and should be taken out at 150F. Let rest and come to around 160F outside of the oven. You should check the dark meat and obviously put back into oven if not quite done. The author warns that if cooking for the elderly or children that the 150F would not be appropriate. That is, one should be more risk averse in those cases.

      1. Ruth Lafler RE: Ruth Lafler Nov 23, 2007 08:35 PM

        The heritage turkey turned out great. We ended up at my sister's in-laws using their gas grill, which I've never used before. We had a 14.6 pound turkey that I rubbed with tangerine, salt and olive oil, stuffed and put in a 325-350 degree grill in a roasting pan, breast down, for a little under three hours (160-165 on the meat thermometer). I don't know if it was the grill or the turkey or both, but the bird browned more perfectly than any I've ever had, and it was moist with good texture (not stringy or greasy). Everyone raved about how delicious it was, and my mother pronounced herself "sold" on heritage turkeys.

        1. s
          suzeprov RE: Ruth Lafler Oct 19, 2008 12:20 PM

          I'm cooking a kosher heritage turkey this year -- have seen some interesting recipes for heritage turkey but nothing taking into account both the heritage and kosher aspects of the turkey. Any suggestions?

          1. DiveFan RE: Ruth Lafler Oct 19, 2008 01:56 PM

            We usually cook heritage turkeys and expect them to be leaner than a typical supermarket turkey. Therefore brining is even better insurance to reduce the possibility of dry meat.

            3 Replies
            1. re: DiveFan
              RI Swampyankee RE: DiveFan Oct 19, 2008 04:26 PM

              I second DiveFan here. Brine, brine, brine!!! Also watch the interior temp like a hawk; there is a fine line between done to perfection and tough bird.

              1. re: RI Swampyankee
                GilaB RE: RI Swampyankee Nov 24, 2009 10:59 AM

                If it's a kosher turkey, it's already been brined (soaking and salting is part of the kosher process). Additional brining would turn it into a salt bomb. I hope Suzprov didn't brine it last year!

                1. re: GilaB
                  avandelay RE: GilaB Feb 7, 2010 10:17 AM

                  Saw this thread and in particular the mention of a kosher heritage turkey. I was wondering if anyone knew where to find kosher for passover heritage turkeys.


            Show Hidden Posts