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Christmas Turkey (TN)

As British visitors to Gatlinburg for Christmas, it's important for us to have a British xmas dinner, cooked in our cabin. The main essential is a fresh high-quality turkey (8 pounds should be big enough). Will we be able to find one at Christmas time? I'm not sure if they are more a Thanksgiving thing in the US?

Brussel sprouts would also be a big plus, as would some good smoked salmon. I'm assuming the bagels won't be a problem....

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  1. I am only visiting in TN from Canada but I don't think you will have any problem. They still do Christmas down here! And I have seen Scottish smoked salmon in quite a few places. You are close to Pigeon Forge, which is a big shopping place and I'm sure you will find anything your heart desires. But, I haven't seen a lot of bagels. You should break with tradition and try some nice Southern biscuits. Or try a smoked ham. The hams down here are amazing. Best I think you will find anywhere.

    1. Getting bagels might not be a problem. However, getting good bagels might be. As much as I love the South, having grown up here, bagels aren't our thing.

      There is a Harry and David shop in the Five Oaks shopping area between Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. They should have good smoked salmon there. I think it's hot smoked, as I recall. If you want to try something regional, smoked trout is wonderful. The Sunburst Trout company just over the state line in NC has a wonderful product and it's available in a lot of the markets in the area.

      I don't know much, if anything, about the grocery stores in the area and am afraid you may not be able to find a lot of high-end product in the local stores. Are you driving in or flying in? Renting a car if you are flying? Knoxville has both a Fresh Market and an Earth Fare store that should have most anything you need, if you are driving through or from that city.



      1. Food City is a local area grocery. You won't have any problem finding a turkey. Most turkeys will be frozen but check with the store when you arrive to see if you can make arrangements to get a fresh turkey. If not, then be sure to buy the frozen one and give it time to thaw. Knoxville has several bagel places but not sure about Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. There is a Walmart in Sevierville near the factory outlets. If it has groceries, then you can find many things there. Food City should have fresh brussel sprouts, if not they will have frozen ones. Look in the freezer section for Sister Schuber's frozen rolls. They come in a tin foil pan and need to be warned in the overn. They are a southern delight.

        1. Despite being THE main course for Thanksgiving, turkey is very common for Christmas. What you might find is not that turkeys are unavailable because they are not popular, but that *fresh* turkey might be sold out if you are buying only a day or two before and haven't pre-ordered. Food City and Kroger are going to be probably your best bets, but keep in mind that, despite being a tourist area, there aren't going to be a lot of organic/natural/whatever choices. This is a rural/small town/not wealthy area, and conventional groceries are going to be the mainstay. I would avoid buying fresh food at WalMart -- the selection isn't good and the meats I've had from there have been *strange.*

          You can go to the Food City and Kroger web sites and find which ones are closest to where you are staying, and contact them ahead of time to see about ordering/reserving a fresh turkey, maybe even ask if they can order a kosher/organic or whatever it is you want. Another option would be to look at http://picktnproducts.org/ and see if there are any turkey farmers in the area that would let you reserve a bird.

          1 Reply
          1. re: TLF

            I was a bit wary of Wal-Mart, having experienced the bad meat in their UK equivalent, Asda. I take it Food City or Kroger will be a better bet than Wal Mart?

            Looks like there a few upmarket choices in Knoxville, we will be driving through but it's not exactly convenient as it's 35 miles away, will bear it in mind though.

          2. Not a fan of Walmart but siince the Pigeon forge/ Gatlinburg is so small, I wanted to mention it as a possibility. There are only 3 choices in the area, Kroger, Food City and Walmart. Earth Fare and Fresh Market are located less than 2 miles from the I 40 Exit for Papermill and Northshore so if that is your travel direction, you could make a quick detour to either of those. They are both on Kingston Pike about 1/2 mile apart. If you want an organic turkey, then those two are your best best and ordering for pickup is probably the only way to be sure to get one. Good luck.

            1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you are flying in, the airport is in Alcoa. You wouldn't be going through Knoxville to get to Gatlinburg. The shops in Maryville will be much more convenient.

              10 Replies
              1. re: sarah galvin

                We are flying to Atlanta, and driving from there to Chattanooga then on to Gatlinburg.

                1. re: mikehunt69

                  Then I would definitely buy groceries in Atlanta! You will find anything you need - it is a large city! You will be going right past my house (almost) near Maryville! I would post again and ask about turkeys in Atlanta.

                  1. re: sarah galvin

                    Trouble is we are spending a couple of days in Chattanooga after that, and the groceries would be rotten by the time we got to Gatlinburg. Anywhere between Chattanooga and Gatlinburg would work though. (Greenlife Grocery in Chattanooga looks pretty nice.)

                    We might even be pushing it picking up in Knoxville, because we're passing through there probably on the 21st, and the turkey wouldn't get cooked until the 25th, which I guess is a couple of days longer than ideal.

                    1. re: mikehunt69

                      I see. I thought you were going directly to Gatlinburg. Nothing wrong with a frozen turkey picked up in Knoxville. The Market in Maryville is very good.


                      1. re: sarah galvin

                        I see where the meat market there raises pasture-raised turkey. May be worth a phone call to see if they'll be available.

                        And the fish market carries smoked fish.

                        1. re: Leepa

                          The smoked fish probably isn't what mikehunt69 is looking for. I bought it and it was great but hot smoked in a smoker as opposed to the lox style. I have seen the lox style in Pigeon Forge and quite a few places, actually. They might even have it in the freezer section at Krogers.

                        2. re: sarah galvin

                          Really? I've had high-grade turkey, fresh, and low-grade turkey, frozen, but I had assumed the freezing was a major impairment to a good turkey.

                          You think a good frozen bird would beat a fresh one from Walmart or Kroger

                          1. re: mikehunt69

                            I hesitate to post this as it's rather cheesy (no pun, etc.) but Alton Brown of the Food Networks gives a fairly good explanation of the differences here:


                            Scroll down to Scene 10.

                            1. re: mikehunt69

                              I have had many frozen turkeys over the years. I thought they were very tasty. Just be sure to defrost properly. That Alton Brown article was really difficult to read, but I think the gist was that there is nothing wrong with a frozen bird. But it does take a couple of days to defrost. (But if it was in the trunk of your car and wrapped in layers of newspaper, it would keep fine at this time of year. Personally, I never shop at WalMart - I don't feel I can trust the quality. Kroger would have good quality.

                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                It's a transcript (script, if you will) of the actual show he did, thus the difficulty reading it if you aren't used to reading things in that format. As I said, I hesitated to post it.

                  2. I was in Knoxville today and shopped at both Fresh Market and Earth Fare. They are really close to each other and if you have a GPS, you'll have no problem. The airport is in Alcoa and even though Knoxville is not enroute to Gatlinburg, I would drive in and pick up groceries. I saw bagels and really nice lox and smoked salmon (the kind you mean) at Fresh. Earth Fare is taking orders for turkeys. There is also a nice selection of vegetables at both. And wonderful yogurt. Good yogurt is also hard to find.