HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Where Can We Purchase a Pre-Cooked Turkey?

  • r

We love Thanksgiving, but we don't love the turkey cooking part! Does anyone know where we can buy a turkey that is already pre-cooked and seasoned, etc? I know there are a few restaurants, but we don't know which ones. Please help! We love making all the sides!
Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've had good experiences with Whole Foods' pre-cooked turkeys--very tasty and good quality. I also like their cranberry-orange relish and some of the other side dishes too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gigi007

      More details please. Do you order it in advance? Can you specify the weight of the bird? What else do they make that's good with Thanksgiving? Pricing?

    2. Where are you located? That might help us point you to a location somewhat near you.

      1. Yes, I second Whole Foods. I have a southern coworker who swears by Popeye's cajun flavored turkey. Never tried it but he makes it sound quite delicious.

        1. I live near the Balducci's in Old Town and they have begun advertising that they will fix your whole Thanksgiving meal, turkey to pie. At least in the Old Town store, they have a desk by the check out that seems to handle all the "take out" orders.

          I get their roasted chicken on a pretty regular basis and it's very good. I recently had some of their pumpkin pie, also good. www.balduccis.com

          1. Mitsitam, the cafe at the American Indian Museum, does a take-away Thanksgiving dinner, and I think you don't need to order the whole dinner. Might be fun and different -- it sounded good when I looked into it a couple years ago. I'm pretty sure I saw that they're doing it this year, but with a quick search I'm not finding anything useful online about it. I've never done it, just fyi for your research.

            1. If you never had a deep fried turkey.......consider Popeye's. This time of year, select restaurants offer them for around $25 .

              1. if you are in NOVA Earl's apparently sells them. My friend ordered one for this thanksgiving. I ahve never done it before but their roasted turkey sandwich is AMAZING so I would assume they would do a good job on the whole bird, and its nice to support a small business.

                1. dixie bones in woodbridge: http://www.dixiebones.com/pdf2009/ORD...

                  ps, that "jezebel sauce" on the menu is right tasty, like a cranberry sauce (but emulsified) with a decent kick of horseradish.

                  1. Anyone have the current scoop on the current version of Popeye's prepared turkeys? In the past, Popeye's has been a frequent suggestion for a deep-fried turkey. I thought I might give one a try this year, but a visit to my local Popeye's that's identified on the web site as having turkey didn't yield me much information. They couldn't tell me how it was prepared, only that they get them pre-cooked and sold frozen, and that they were 9 to 13 pounds, and about $40.

                    The web site has no further information that I could find. Has anyone had a Popeye's turkey recently (like maybe last Thanksgiving) and can offer any more info as to just what a "Cajun turkey" is? If it's cajun-seasoned and roasted, I could do that myself. If it's really deep-fried, I'd rather not make the mess, and buying and properly disposing of all that oil would probably cost as much as buying one pre-fried.

                    Aside from Popeyes, is there anyplace else that's reasonably accessible (I'm in Falls Church) that deep-frys turkeys at a sensible price?

                    7 Replies
                      1. re: Woof Woof Woof

                        Does Wegman's deep-fry turkeys? Or are you just praising Wegman's for prepared turkeys?

                      2. re: MikeR

                        I've been buying Popeyes turkey for the last 3 years. It's SOOOO good. It's cajan spiced and already pre-deep fried. All you do is thaw it for a couple days and then put it in the oven to bring it to temperature for about an hour and a half i think. It always comes out juicy and delicious! It's the best turkey I've had which is why I get it every year.

                        1. re: Meechi

                          is the skin still crispy like a fresh-fried turkey?

                          we made one of our own deep-fried turkeys (peanut oil) a few years back, and that was the best turkey i've ever eaten. it doesn't take as much oil as one thinks. <so...don't use a water-displacement method to determine oil depth. heh heh.>.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            My family always looks like white trash when we dig a hole in the snow in front of our house on the main residential street in town plop down our deep fryer and fry the turkey on the front lawn, but doesn't it taste good. I am sure the neighbors gossip, but they can gossip over their inferior turkeys and we will have ourselves a delightful Thanksgiving.

                            I still wish the OP would say where they are from. You don't even know if they want a turkey in Washington or Baltimore. A lot of people in this area do Wegman's. I would make sure whoever it is brines their turkeys to me that seems to make the biggest difference.

                        2. re: MikeR

                          I've bought the Popeye's Cajun Turkey for several years now. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! In fact, the aroma in the car on the way home was so strong, I wanted to rip into it right then and there. BE FOREWARNED: when you go in to order and pay for it, make sure you pick it up at the time you agree to. There is such a demand for them that when I got there a little late, there were people sitting in the restaurant hoping I would be a 'no show' so they could buy my turkey!

                          1. re: jus2jazzy

                            You must be buying different Popeye's turkeys than what I can find and learn about here. It sounds like you've picked your up hot and ready to put on the table. What I'm finding here is that they're frozen, must be thawed for at least a day in the refrigerator, and heated in an oven before serving. I assume that when frozen, they're sealed up in plastic. How can that smell great? Also, only one of the three stores where I asked was willing to take my money in advance. The two others said they didn't take advance orders and said just come in a day or two before I wanted to serve it and they'd have turkeys. I hope that's right.

                            I'm planning to pick one up this afternoon after the lunch crowd clears out. That'll allow enough time for it to thaw in the refrigerator. Hopefully, it'll smell great and taste great after warming it up on Thanksgiving day.

                        3. If you are you located near Bethesda, one of the best is Ridgwell's Caterers. They have done carry-out Thanksgiving foods including turkey's for years. They would be on the higher end of the price scale but maybe worth it. Of course, there are many other spots to choose from as has been shared already.

                          1. Has anyone bought an already roasted turkey from Wagshal's?

                            1. Well, I think I'm going to try a Popeye's turkey this year based on the enthusiastic reviews here, but I'm still frustrated with the lack of information available about what you get and how you get it. There's little on the web (the press release at least describes it as "flash fried, then roasted" but that's about it. You look on the Butterball web site and there's all sorts of information on how to defrost a turkey and how long it takes (surely this is applicable to a Popeye's frozen turkey, too, so that's covered), and how long and at what temperature is appropriate for heating prior to serving. Is it stuffed? I suspect not, since it's frozen. There's no nutritional information, though probably for good reason. It would probably make me forget that turkey is supposed to be a "healthy" meat. <g> I assume that the turkeys, at least as distributed to the stores, come cooked and frozen from the turkey factory, so they'll all taste the same no matter which store it comes from. We all know that the chicken, store-fried, varies.

                              Could be where I live, but I've stopped into three Popeye's shops asking for more details on the turkey. I'm surprised that the company doesn't have an info sheet that at least they send to store managers, even if it duplicates what's on the package (which, hopefully, is informative). Perhaps I'd do better if I spoke Spanish or Korean, but all I know for sure is that it's 9-12 pounds (quite a range), $41.99, $41.29, or $44, and either they take reservations or they don't.

                              But I like experiments. Perhaps I'm agonizing too much over this, but I like to learn what I'm getting, particularly when it comes to a once-a-year purchase that may not be the same this year as last year.

                              1. Got this from the "chains" thread: http://www.popeyes.com/turkey.php

                                Looks like there's a little flag placed next to locations that actually sell the things when you look them up.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: MsDiPesto

                                  Been there, done that, little information other than locations. Or were you suggesting that I might find a location where (please may I not go to hell for saying this) they only hire native English speakers to work the store? Doubt it in this town. IAfter a lot of searching, I finally found Popeye's customer service phone number (on the door of a restaurant) and called them. They don't have any information either. I was pleasantly surprised to be told that I wasn't the only person who called wanting to learn more about how the turkey was prepared and what was in it. They refer people to a website www.cajungrocer.com, but there's nothing apparent there about Popeye's turkeys either.

                                  They said they'd get back to me. Probably by Christmas.

                                  1. re: MikeR

                                    I just returned from my local Popeye's in NJ. What they told me is this......the turkey is pre-cooked and needs to be re-heated for two hours as per the directions.....I cannot help you with the temperature suggested. The turkey is originally deep-fried before packaging. It's a 12 pound bird seasoned with Cajun spices and the cost is $39.95

                                    1. re: fourunder

                                      I checked the recipe section on that cajungrocer site and this came up, which I expect is why you were referred there. So, a 12-pound bird with a pound spiced butter injected, more spice rubbed on, and then deep-fried.

                                      CAJUN FRIED TURKEY

                                      Deluxe Cajun Injector
                                      Cajun Injector Frying Kit
                                      12 lb. turkey
                                      Cajun Injector Creole Butter Marinade
                                      Tony Chachere's® Famous Creole Seasoning

                                      Remove giblets from turkey, rinse with warm, pat dry (especially inside cavity) and leave whole. Inject 4 oz. of Cajun Injector Creole Butter on each side of breast. Inject approximately 2 oz. in each leg and thigh. Use about 16 oz. per turkey. Rub Tony's Seasoning over bird and inside cavity. Hold bird by legs and lower (breast first) slowly into oil. (MAKE SURE ALL WATER IS DRAINED FROM CAVITY BEFORE PLACING BIRD INTO THE OIL.) Deep fry whole in 3 to 4 gallons of oil (preferably peanut oil) at 350°F for 3-1/2 minutes per pound.

                                      1. re: weezycom

                                        Thanks. So much for a "healthful" Thanksgiving meal. How long to I have to switch to a vegetarian diet after that to get back to normal? <g>

                                        According to the Popeyes press release, it's fried, apparently to crisp the skin and seal in the marinades (not clear from this that they use the pound of butter but I doubt it) then roasted to cook:

                                        "Popeyes Cajun Turkeys are infused with a unique blend of Louisiana seasonings and give the same mouth-watering taste that you expect from our Cajun-inspired staples. The turkey is then flash-fried which creates a unique, crispy coating. Roasting finishes out the process and leaves the turkey crispy on the outside while remaining succulent and flavorful on the inside. "

                                        1. re: MikeR

                                          >>>How long to I have to switch to a vegetarian diet after that to get back to normal?

                                          That depends. Normal for *you* or normal for normal people? ;-)

                                2. One of my neighbors raves about the full T-giving dinner she ordered from Wegman's last year, and is ordering again this year. I believe they also offer just the turkey. She said it included detailed instructions about reheating and the bird was beautiful.

                                  1. We're trying a complete precooked, heat-and-eat meal from Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg. I'll bet they sell a lot of these to exhausted two-income Loudoun County couples. Their sister restaurant Magnolia Mill in Purcellville is doing the same thing.

                                    1. Well, I've now had my own personal Popeye's turkey experience. It was pretty good, but it didn't blow me away, and for $40, I expected much more WOW! Cajun! than what I got. At least it was tender and juicy and had a little character. I think next time I want a cooked turkey I'll try a smoked one.

                                      Since I've never done a pre-cooked bird before, I was pretty anxious about finding out the cooking formula in advance and was bummed that neither the Popeye's web site nor their customer service hot line could tell me the ballpark cooking time and oven temperature. I did my planning from the info on the Butterball web site for their pre-cooked turkeys and it was pretty close.

                                      Of course the instructions were printed on the wrapper of the turkey, but they were all the way at the leg end of the package, the most irregularly shaped part of the bird, and because of the shrink wrapping, were crumpled almost to the unreadable point. I finally cracked the code (350 degrees for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees at the thigh). It would have been easier to read had it been printed on the breast part of the wrapper where the nutritional information is.

                                      You think turkey is healthy?
                                      For a 3 oz serving (are they serious? This is Thanksgiving)
                                      Calories - 130
                                      Calories from fat - 50
                                      Total fat - 6 g (9%)
                                      Saturated fat - 1.5 g (7%)
                                      Trans fat - 0 g
                                      Cholesterol - 70 mg (23%)
                                      Sodium - 500 mg (21%)
                                      Carbohydrates - 1 g (0%)
                                      Fiber - 0 g
                                      Sugars - 1 g
                                      Protein - 20 g

                                      I guess that's not so bad except for the cholersterol and sodium, but, hey, it's prepared food, and that's what they do.