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Thanksgiving Turkey Help [moved from L.A. board]

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We're cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this year (for 9 people) and could use some help selecting a turkey. Any recommendations on a specific brand? I checked our local Gelson's and Whole Foods. Looks like there are many options including Shelton's, Diestel, Heidi's Hens, Empire, Heirloom, Zacky, Mary's Organic, etc.

Any suggestions would be appreciated...thanks!

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    1. I've always used the standard supermarket bird, and it's
      always turned out superb. One thing I do, though, is cook it for
      half the time (the first half) breast side down.

      1. I havn't seen much difference in birds. Get a fresh one, not too big. 14 lbs should be about right. Make sure it is at room temp before roasting. Have an instant thermometer at the ready. Most turkeys are ruined by overcooking. Start in a hot oven 425 for 1/2 hour, then lower to 375. Should only take about 2 1/2 hrs. When the breast meat hits 160-165 its done. Check in a couple of spots. Let it rest for 20 minutes before carving. If the dark meat isn't quite done - so be it. Put in microwave for a couple of minutes. The most important thing is to not undercook or overcook. The instant thermometer. is a must.
        good luck.

        1. I know people who swear by Heritage....they're also the people who have no clue how to cook so they believe this turkey will be their 'magic' when it's roasted. Personally, from my experience, it is the cook who determines how the turkey will turn out....even a Heritage can be ruined.
          I buy a fresh turkey usually from Gelson's or Bristol Farm....this year it will be 27 pounds.
          I was very, very fortunate to have a grandmother who taught me many things about
          cooking. Fresh butter and cream and wine were the staples in her kitchen.
          The turkey must be roasted slowly...and basted very, very often...
          The ingredients used to baste with are entirely up to the chef.
          Have fun cooking!

          1. I'm doing a brined free range organic turkey. I've been doing this for years and think it tastes far better than regular store brand turkey. For me, it's a health issue - I'm allergic to a huge variety of antibiotics so factory farmed birds are out of the question. Originally I thought I was just rationalizing spending so much more than the store brands cost, but a bunch of guests over the years have wanted to know how I'd cooked the bird to get it so tasty and moist. I think the tastiness comes from the organic side of the equation, while the brining gives it the moisture (especially the white meat).