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Pre-cooked Turkeys

I'm sure there are OLD threads on this, but I'm sick of reading post that start out from 2003. Time for fresh blood. No pun intended - see below.

Over the years, my family has supplemented our holiday buffets with pre-cooked turkeys from Vons, Albertson's, Bristol Farms RHE, and Ralphs. This Thanksgiving while in NYC, my daughter decided she wanted her 'Mommy' to cook instead of heading to see friends on Long Island. I purchased a pre-cooked organic turkey from Whole Foods across the street from her apartment on Union Square. After reheating it for one hour in a Reynolds cooking bag. (I sauteed aromatics, added a stick of butter and 3 cups of stock with the turkey breast side down - to soak up the extra goodness.) When I started to carve the turkey, it was still running blood and tough as shoe leather. Not only did this turkey ruin my Thanksgiving, it was expensive!!!

I am hosting Christmas Eve buffet for approximately 45 friends and family members here in LA. I need suggestions for the best pre-cooked turkey in LA to make up for my dismal bird from "Whole Paychex", in NYC. I would love to find a Cajun fried turkey similar to those sold at Popeye's in Harlem. Yeah, I know turkey is easy to make, but I would rather concentrate my efforts on traditional Italian and Filipino dishes.

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  1. I saw that a Popeyes I was at before Thanksgiving was selling a fried turkey with the fixins for $39.95. I wished I had done it. Start Calling!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      Which location BB? I go to the Harbor City store for my red beans and rice fix.

      1. re: gaylenwaydelich

        I wa out in the Ontario are and was thirsty, grabbed a soda at the drive thru and saw the poster. I asked the girl about it and she said it was a complete meal. That's is all I know, I do not know what street I was on or anything else. Here, I saved you the trouble!

    2. Gelson's does a pretty good turkey. Also HoneyBaked Ham does pre-cooked turkeys-- you could also get a ham there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LMelba

        I've bought the Gelson's pre-cooked turkey for the last couple of years now, and have not had a bad bird yet. However, I do use a thermometer probe just to make sure it gets to the right temperature when I reheat it in the oven which takes a couple of hours. Not cheap - it's like $4.50 per pound. Overall, the white meat is fairly moist and the dark meat is cooked all the way through.

      2. We got the Diestel pre-cooked from Whole Foods. Our instructions were to reheat, and specifically not to use a cooking bag, for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours to 165 deg. interior temp. Our bird turned out fine -despite my father's carving skills. Hmmm....curious if the bag cooking method was your downfall, tho given the dismal outcome of your TG dinner, I'm with you in looking for alternatives.

        1. Bad luck on your part. But those are the chances you take in purchasing a so-called 'pre-cooked' turkey from any retail grocery chain I don't care which one or how expensive the turkey is. And you're right, cooking a turkey isn't difficult. It's making all the sides that go with it and having it all come together at the same time. You say you want suggestions for a pre-cooked turkey but then you say something about concentrating efforts on traditional Italian and Filipino dishes. What's that about? Would that mean forgoing the turkey, and so you wouldn't really need our suggestions? Hard fact is...if you want to insure a turkey that is fully cooked...do it yourself. Many hot sides can be made in advance and reheated in the oven while the turkey is 'resting' before carving.

          1. Tasty Q BBQ will Deep fry a Bird you bring in for $2.50 a pound They prep the bird, season, marinade

            Tasty Q Bar-B-Que
            2959 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

            1 Reply
            1. re: Skunk2Racer

              You still need to re-heat the Tasty Q Bird, I picked mine up the day before thanksgiving, it reheated fine.

            2. If you're not against ordering online, the smoked Willie Bird turkeys from Sonoma County are excellent.

              My family has gotten these for Thanksgiving for the past 4-5 years, and they've never disappointed. Our standard 9-12 lb turkey (the smallest available) takes about 2 hours to reheat and is juicy, tender, and infused with a great smokey flavor so that even the white meat is great.


              1. Although I have not tried their turkey, Blue Marlin West in Palmdale makes them for folks in their area. I am a fan of their chow and the lovely family that is trying to make a success of their restaurant in an area that is chain central! From an email that they sent me:

                "We fried turkeys on Thanksgiving Day and they turned out wonderful! We injected them the day before with Cajun spices which gave the turkey a delicious flavor without being too spicy. The turkey was dropped into hot (no cholesterol) oil, sealing in the juices and keeping even the white meat juicy, mmmm. We will be frying turkeys for Christmas also. A 12lb. turkey is $29.95. Sorry no full dinners this time. You might talk us into making you some more of that cranberry relish though."


                1 Reply
                1. re: sel

                  Ten Ten in Cerritos
                  Mama's on New Ave in San Gabiel both have Chinese style birds.

                  Best part: the birds can come w/ sticky or oily rice for stuffing instead of stuffing. i hate stuffing. people shouldn't be forced to eat crappy goop for thanksgiving (or Xmas)

                2. I actually had one of the best turkeys I have ever tasted last year with a Whole Foods Organic Turkey Dinner from the Sherman Oaks location. Sorry to hear about your bad luck. I have also had good luck with Gelson's pre cooked dinners. You might want to check out Bristol Farms as well. I think Koo Koo Roo also does pre cooked turkeys and dinners. If you want to cook one yourself and try something fun, Harmony Farms usually has wild turkeys this time of year, in addition to prime rib, etc. I don't know if they would pre cook one for you, but you could call and ask.