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What's wrong with turkey?

h
Heatherb Nov 16, 2010 06:01 PM

Mama called yesterday. She wanted my permission to serve roast pork instead of turkey at Thanksgiving. Turns out my entire family except for me is all "meh" about turkey if they don't outright hate it. Mama said I was the only one in the family who liked it except for Grandma, who died in August. I'm almost 35 - how did I miss that me and my grandmother were the only people who were totally delighted with the traditional main course on Thanksgiving? And my family is GOOD at cooking turkey - even if they don't like it. It's always moist and flavorful, so the argument that it's dry and tasteless doesn't wash with me. But I couldn't be the holdout when everyone else prefers pork, so looks like that's what we're going with.

Anybody feel like standing up for turkey? Or is it really just an unappetizing dish continually inflicted onto miserable diners out of slavish adherence to tradition?

  1. f
    FrankD Nov 16, 2010 06:11 PM

    A well-roasted turkey is a delight, as far as I'm concerned. Moist white meat from the breast, succulent dark meat, accompanied by an honest-to-god stuffing cooked inside the bird, with all the trimmings (Canadian trimmings, that is - no green bean casserole, or sweet potatoes cooked with marshmallow, thanks). It's great that day, and the sandwiches for the week after are just the gift that keeps on giving.

    Not that I have anything against roast pork, but we have that all the time; turkey is a once or twice a year thing. And since it takes a few hours to do properly, you can really only do turkey on a holiday, whereas roast pork can be done any Sunday.

    I feel for you!

    1 Reply
    1. re: FrankD
      John E. Nov 23, 2010 09:05 AM

      I have to disagree with you there Frank. We buy small turkeys (8 - 10 lbs.) and roast them frequently. A spatchcocked turkey that size will roast in an hour. A bone-in pork roast takes longer than that to get it cooked near the bone.

    2. Cherylptw Nov 16, 2010 06:18 PM

      I love turkey so really can't understand why others don't and I cook it several times a year whole and even more for other dishes like pulled turkey bbq, mole, turkey & dumplings, etc. To me, it's a canvas for so many flavors and if it's boring, it's because someone is not making it interesting. That's not to say that I wouldn't partake of othe sources of protein in the same meal but come on, it's just not the same as a turkey on Thanksgiving!

      1. s
        Steve Nov 16, 2010 06:48 PM

        There is nothing like a good turkey gravy, and there is no other way to produce it except to roast a turkey yourself. As heavenly as any food on Earth.

        I could also say the same thing about turkey gumbo. Nothing quite like it. An awesome food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Steve
          Becca Porter Nov 18, 2010 03:51 PM

          Smoked turkey gumbo is one of the most delicious things I have ever created. I have to smoke another turkey soon!

        2. b
          brooklynkoshereater Nov 16, 2010 06:50 PM

          Once a year, people - go turkey! Not tofurkey, not prime rib - TURKEY! I don't care how - roast it, fry it, batter it and bake it, whatever - but go turkey!

          1. j
            Jenny Ondioline Nov 16, 2010 06:52 PM

            It's not that there's anything wrong with turkey, it's just that by the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I'm pretty much okay with not seeing it again for 51 and a half weeks.

            1. ZenSojourner Nov 16, 2010 07:00 PM

              I'm with the rest of your family, as was my dad. We had turkey every year for years and years and years. When I finally did make a ham for bird day at the request of my father one year near the end of his life, my sister had a hissy fit.

              Some people like turkey. Some don't. Some don't care for it yet still expect it at least once a year. It's personal taste. Whatever it is that other people taste when they eat turkey, I don't. I'd rather pass on the turkey, though it doesn't cause me any particular emotional distress to eat it.

              1. h
                Humbucker Nov 17, 2010 03:44 AM

                I don't understand how people can consider turkey boring or bland when it's so much more flavorful than chicken.

                If chicken is at one end of the blandness/tastyness spectrum and duck is at the other, turkey sits somewhere in the middle, but is often cheaper per pound than either.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Humbucker
                  ZenSojourner Nov 17, 2010 05:03 AM

                  I miss real chicken, it's true. Sorry but something that only lives for 6 or 7 weeks CAN'T develop flavor.

                  1. re: ZenSojourner
                    d
                    DukeOfSuffolk Nov 18, 2010 01:32 PM

                    sure it can, with a 500 degree oven and a dry brine to help it :D though sadly if I get a supermarket chicken that is over about 3.8lbs I find that it will be flavorless unless I go out of my way to add enough herbs, spices, roots, etc to make it yummy :(

                    1. re: DukeOfSuffolk
                      ZenSojourner Nov 18, 2010 05:50 PM

                      Possibly, but that doesn't help with the most important flavor of all - the missing CHICKEN flavor!

                      When I hear something "tastes like chicken" that just reminds me how neutral in flavor chicken has become. ANYTHING can "taste like chicken" because grocery store chicken has so little flavor of its own.

                  2. re: Humbucker
                    scubadoo97 Nov 17, 2010 12:54 PM

                    I have to agree with you on the taste scale. The only thing I see that someone can have a problem with is that a turkey is large so they may overdose on leftovers. That and the fact that people seem to be intimidated with the prep and it's possible that it's not cooked to it's potential. I'd eat it over chicken most any day.

                  3. Jay F Nov 17, 2010 05:18 AM

                    Turkey's just boring--elevated lunch meat. It's not horrible. I just prefer it in sandwiches.

                    I don't really care for any part of the American Thanksgiving meal except stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries (not that stuff in a can).

                    Seafood and lasagna, those are things I can feel gratitude for.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jay F
                      John E. Nov 23, 2010 09:08 AM

                      The parts of the American Thanksgiving that you indicated that you like make up 2/3 of the meal. Add turkey/gravy and a vegetable and that's the meal.

                      Why doesn't the OP's family just do both the pork and the turkey? The grocery stores are practically giving them away this time of year.

                      1. re: John E.
                        h
                        Heatherb Nov 23, 2010 11:51 AM

                        Seriously, it's only me who would be delighted with it. But I've already spoken with a friend who is doing a nontraditional Thanksgiving out of necessity this year, and we're thinking about doing our own celebration in early December:)

                    2. MGZ Nov 17, 2010 06:44 AM

                      I love turkey - fried, roasted, or barbecued. I love turkey platters, sandwiches, salad, tacos, soup, chili, even snuck late in the evening as a quick snack. So, perhaps, I'm biased. However, for the life of me I can't understand why they would substitute with something as flavorless as roast pork. I mean, had they gone with a standing rib roast, leg of lamb, or, hell, even a goose, the decision might at least be defensible, but roast pork???

                      (Although, I suppose I probably wouldn't turn my nose up at a Berkshire whole fresh ham slowly roasted on the barbecue all day.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MGZ
                        n
                        Nanzi Nov 17, 2010 08:19 AM

                        Hubby & I love turkey. We will buy and cook 3 or 4 a year, just cuz!! We can also do them on our ceramic cooker outside and have that wonderful smokey flavor. Our daughter with whom we do most holidays, says a smoked turkey doesn't taste like Thanksgiving, so we buy a big bird and she cooks it. It's wonderful being the elders now and going out for holiday dinners.....I have passed the baton to the next generation. I am responsible for doing a BIG pot of rutabegos, and I make the gravy at her house. She can do it, but it is a good time for me to take some pressure off her while the other dishes are just finishing up, and need her attention.
                        Love Turkey leftovers and turkey sandwiches. I would love to try a fried turkey sometime without buying the cooker and all that oil.

                      2. w
                        Whinerdiner Nov 17, 2010 09:33 AM

                        Our family loves turkey. In the cooler months, we roast one about once a month. In the summer, we smoke whole giant turkey legs on the grill. They are from fresh turkeys that we get from a farmers' market near our home. You gotta have turkey on thanksgiving!

                        I usually make a second or third main dish as well. Over the years we've run the gambit -prime rib, lasagna, lamb, ham, lobster, etc. But always a turkey on the table, even a small one.

                        One of my worst Thanksgivings was when we went to a friend's house. They had decided to go non-traditional, but didn't tell anyone. They served Sushi. The wife had taken a class and wanted to off her mad itamae skills. AAGH! Disaster.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Whinerdiner
                          f
                          Fromageball Nov 19, 2010 04:28 PM

                          That is so wrong!!!(about the sushi) If you're going to do that, at least tell people so they can decide whether they are willing to give up traditional thanksgiving, otherwise you're going to ruin the day for some people. Have a dinner party to make your sushi the next week...when people are sick of turkey and wanting something entirely different :) I'm not a traditionalist about most things, but this year I am doing thanksgiving at my place and realized that I really look forward to turkey and something resembling the traditional sides on the one day each year.

                        2. JuniorBalloon Nov 17, 2010 09:48 AM

                          I do like me some turkey. Gravy, mashed potatoes and turkey is a near perfect trifecta. Leftovers for sandwhiches and soup are something I look forward to each year. Would cook them more often, but it's a big animal and we can't eat one without some help.

                          I'm going to ignore the comment about tasteless roast pork... for now.

                          jb

                          1. BubblyOne Nov 17, 2010 09:57 AM

                            Why not roast and bring a small turkey breast? You can enjoy yourself and have the leftovers.

                            1. ipsedixit Nov 17, 2010 09:59 AM

                              Maybe something is wrong with your family? :-)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                h
                                Heatherb Nov 17, 2010 11:55 AM

                                Oh totally:) It does clarify greatly the fact why grandma was always cooking turkeys when I was a kid - apparently she would get all the "free" turkeys everyone else in the family accumulated during the holidays.

                                We always used to make a huge deal out of my cousin wanting real (not light) mayonnaise for Thanksgiving, so she could make a turkey sandwich right at the table. I just thought she liked turkey sandwiches. She revealed to me the other night that she insisted on the real mayonnaise because it just made the turkey go down easier. My childhood has been turned upside down...

                                1. re: Heatherb
                                  MGZ Nov 17, 2010 12:34 PM

                                  One of those moments in life where one contemplates searching the attic for the basket they must have been left in . . . .

                              2. m
                                mpjmph Nov 17, 2010 10:08 AM

                                I don't dislike turkey, I just don't like it enough to bother with cooking it. I eat turkey year round and various forms and preparations, but when a large piece of roasted meet is called for, I'm much happier with lamb or ham. My circle of friends has a pre-Thanksgiving pot luck every year. This year the host suggested a sides-only meal, and all but one in the group happily agreed. The lone hold out came around once she realized she would have to cook the turkey herself if she wanted it.

                                1. FoodChic Nov 17, 2010 10:11 AM

                                  My mother hates turkey, so she gets ham. My dad hates ham, so he gets turkey.
                                  I love both. It all works out for me in the end.

                                  1. b
                                    Breezychow Nov 17, 2010 12:48 PM

                                    Since my husband doesn't eat any red meat products - poultry, seafood, & vegetarian dishes make up our diet; thus turkey figures into this bigtime year-round. Luckily, I LOVE it in all its various forms & can't even remotely imagine anything other than a nice juicy crisp-skinned bird as the Thanksgiving centerpiece. Not to mention all those glorious leftovers!!!!

                                    I will admit though, that we gave up on the regular supermarket birds years ago & have been ordering an organic free-range bird from Whole Foods for years now. Not only has it not been injected with "flavor enhancing solutions", both white & dark meat cook up tender & juicy, & even the leftovers have never been dry. Amazing birds. While it's definitely hard to pass up the $.39/lb. Thanksgiving bargains at the regular supermarket to pay nearly $3.00/lb for the Whole Foods' bird, we consider it a once a year treat, & once we figure in all the meals we get from the leftovers, the per serving price really isn't all that bad.

                                    But all in all Heather - Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for everything we have, & spending time with loved ones. So if I were in your shoes, I'd just smile & enjoy the pork with your family, & then maybe roast yourself a small turkey or turkey breast at home for your own enjoyment.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Breezychow
                                      BubblyOne Nov 17, 2010 02:43 PM

                                      Once I found the free range, organic it transformed my thoughts on turkey- growing up with the frozen stuff.

                                    2. gaffk Nov 17, 2010 03:42 PM

                                      Turkey is a favorite of mine--I eat it all year long. I don't think I've ever had a frozen turkey; only fresh. And I have several local lunch places that use "real" turkey, not deli turkey, for sandwiches.

                                      Last year my BIL brined a locally farmed turkey--it did take it to an all new level. Just delicious.

                                      Full disclaimer: never had "green bean casserole," green beans almondine; sweet potatoes are baked & mashed, not coated and served with marshmallows; did not even know cranberries existed in a can until I was 30+.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: gaffk
                                        b
                                        Breezychow Nov 17, 2010 03:47 PM

                                        The infamous "Green Bean Casserole" is definitely part of our traditional turkey day, but I raise it up a notch. Use freshly sauteed mushrooms - usually a mix of shitakes, creminis, maitakes, etc. - & add a few dollops of dry sherry to the sauce. Comes out scads above the regular recipe, & leftovers, mixed with leftover turkey, make a great main-dish casserole another day.

                                        1. re: Breezychow
                                          gaffk Nov 17, 2010 04:17 PM

                                          Yes, I am within an hour or so of the mushroom capitol of the world.

                                          And can't even fathom canned cranberries--cranberry sauce is made with fresh cranberries and orange zest. AsI said, I didn't even know cranberries came in a can.

                                      2. JerryMe Nov 17, 2010 03:45 PM

                                        Love turkey - if it's done well. White meat and dark but I do get the skivvies trying to carve it and dealing with the giblets cuz' I don't have a lot of confidence in those areas. HOWEVER, one of the things I love about it is the price which is 'no freakin' way can you buy such good protein that tastes so good' right before the holidays. So we stock the freezer.

                                        If family doesn't love turkey (it is quite an investment in regards to time and space) then certainly make something else. But either pork or turkey protein offers lots of leftover delicious options. I wouldn't hold out but probably cook my own.

                                        We're having ham and turkey this THANK YOU day and I'm good. Everyone should be happy or go hungry.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: JerryMe
                                          JuniorBalloon Nov 17, 2010 04:47 PM

                                          This saturday I'm going to a farm and take a turkey processing class. The class is $45 and the turkeys are $10/lb. This will be the most I have spent on a turkey and the first time I will kill and clean one. I'm a bit uncomfortable with this, but I want to take a more active role in my food. I am considering raising a few pigs next year. I'm not a complete back to nature person, I still like fritos, but I am a nuts to bolts kind of person. Once you start delving into cooking from scratch you find there is a lot...to scratch.

                                          jb

                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                            Bada Bing Nov 18, 2010 12:03 PM

                                            That sounds fascinating. I hope you report what it's like--and how the meals work out.

                                            1. re: Bada Bing
                                              JuniorBalloon Nov 23, 2010 12:39 PM

                                              Did it last saturday. The turkey is now resting peasefully in my fridge. I'm working on a full report with pics for the blog. I'll after I've cooked and eaten it on Thrusday. It was a great experience at a beautiful organic farm run by several passionate and knowledgeable people. Very thankful I found them.

                                              jb

                                              1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                JuniorBalloon Nov 24, 2010 09:13 AM

                                                I've posted an entry on my blog about the class. Be fore warned there are a few graphic pics of the butchering process.

                                                jb

                                                1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                  Bada Bing Nov 24, 2010 11:21 AM

                                                  The blog is great! I agree that it's good to know these things about food production, especially is it's the kind of thing that supermarkets encourage people not to think about.

                                                  Are you sure you want to cook the thigh only to 140 degrees, though (indicated in the blog)? I'm always pushing the low end of the poultry temperature scale myself, but 140 is perhaps in dangerous range (from what I've read).

                                                  1. re: Bada Bing
                                                    JuniorBalloon Nov 24, 2010 01:01 PM

                                                    You will read a lot of different opinions on the web about temp. When I've done conventional turkeys it's been to 160 or until the juices run clear. The cooking instruction handout given to me by the farmer recommends 140 in the thigh for heritage turkeys. I'll deffinitely be looking for clear juices and checking the joints to see if they pull apart relatively easy.

                                                    Thanks,
                                                    jb

                                            2. re: JuniorBalloon
                                              JayL Nov 24, 2010 09:41 AM

                                              $10/# for a turkey? And they still are charging you $45 for some sort of class? Glad you enjoyed it...different strokes for different folks.

                                              1. re: JayL
                                                ZenSojourner Nov 24, 2010 12:06 PM

                                                Yeah, that was the first thought that sprang to my mind as well. If you live rurally it's usually easy enough to get someone to show you how to kill and clean a bird.

                                                It's the plucking I don't like to muck with.

                                                1. re: ZenSojourner
                                                  JuniorBalloon Nov 24, 2010 01:09 PM

                                                  I live in a rural area, but there are not many poultry farmers and I looked for weeks without finding anyone whose knowledge and skills I trusted. And while I also thought it was pricey it was worth it for the experience....to me. Especially since it wasn't being offered any where else. And they had an automated plucking machine that was very simple and very effective. :)

                                                  I haven't priced heritage turkeys so I really don't know what the going rate is. I know I can get a conventional one for $1.49 and an organic one for $4.99 at a place like Whole Foods. Will tell you after I eat this one if it's worth it.

                                                  jb

                                          2. Karl S Nov 17, 2010 05:06 PM

                                            Well, it depends on the pork. If it's a pork loin (or worse, boneless), then it's got even less character than turkey. At least turkey has dark meat worth eating. And skin.

                                            On the other hand, a fresh (uncured) ham or pork shoulder can be wonderful.

                                            1. Bada Bing Nov 18, 2010 12:00 PM

                                              Honestly, I have to wonder whether the OP, like many others, is concerned, not just about what's on the menu, but about what feels like Thanksgiving. A case in point: one of my sister's once cooked a Thanksgiving turkey for our large extended family but she prepared the bird with a Gourmet-magazine (or the like) anise-flavored brine. That was still turkey, of course, but it genuinely disappointed another sister, who is much more family-tradition minded. Anise flavor is just not part of the script.

                                              My assumption, going in, is that Thanksgiving is not a meal in which rationality prevails. There are lots of other things going on.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Bada Bing
                                                Karl S Nov 18, 2010 12:30 PM

                                                Ritual events are designed to create and sustain liminal associations. Creative cooks tamper with that at their peril. Hence, tread carefully in substituting rituals; you can add, but subtracting and substituting is higher risk activity with a group of people who have experienced the ritual together over time.

                                                Now, of course, for some families, the ritual is so toxic that change is a blessed relief. But never assume everyone agrees without data to back up that assumption!

                                                1. re: Bada Bing
                                                  h
                                                  Heatherb Nov 18, 2010 12:49 PM

                                                  There is an element of that... But really, a plain ol' roast turkey just makes me happy. I get it maybe once a year with all the trimmings (I'm single, a whole turkey is too much for me). I like the taste of it. But I also just enjoy a good meal with my relatives, so I won't be too disappointed:) And my mother does a great pork tenderloin - very moist and flavorful.

                                                  1. re: Bada Bing
                                                    j
                                                    joonjoon Nov 18, 2010 02:23 PM

                                                    Right on, Bada Bing. I think for a lot of people out there, Thanksgiving ain't thanksgiving without a turkey on the plate. And not some weird variation on turkey, I'm talking thanksgiving turkey.

                                                  2. j
                                                    joonjoon Nov 18, 2010 01:15 PM

                                                    Nothing wrong with Thanksgiving turkey...i am personally severely bummed when I go through a thanksgiving without turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry. C'mon people, it's delicious!

                                                    Having said that, for the past 10 years I've been throwing a Saturday after thanksgiving where I serve Prime Rib and Sushi.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: joonjoon
                                                      Bada Bing Nov 18, 2010 01:37 PM

                                                      Bravo!

                                                    2. e
                                                      ediblover Nov 18, 2010 01:47 PM

                                                      I'm surprised that most would defend turkey. Fat is flavor. Turkey is low fat. Turkey has little flavor. If it was any good, it would be served more often than just on Thanksgiving. That leads to the obvious question - To those that say they love it, how often do they eat it outside of Thanksgiving compared to the other meats?

                                                      Pork is a vastly superior meat in every single way. (Not that this is the way it will go) If you're having a big feast, will you choose to serve whole turkey or a roasted suckling pig? Turkey's nice, but it ain't that nice.

                                                      20 Replies
                                                      1. re: ediblover
                                                        j
                                                        joonjoon Nov 18, 2010 02:22 PM

                                                        I respectfully disagree on all fronts.

                                                        There's more to flavor than just fat. Have you tried eating straight up corn oil? Not tasty. Some of the most flavorful foods out there is nearly fat free, Kimchi and salsa come to mind.

                                                        And I don't see how the # of times I make a dish in a year has any bearing on how good it is. If that were the case the worst thing I make is prime rib (which I make once a year) and the best thing would be a bowl of rice (which I make almost every day).

                                                        1. re: joonjoon
                                                          e
                                                          ediblover Nov 18, 2010 02:51 PM

                                                          And those flavorful dishes would be better with fat. Take a salad without olive oil and compare it to a salad with one. Corn oil? I'm sure there are dishes that would benefit from its addition. It's not a secret or coincidence that so many dishes have bacon as an ingredient - Pork fat is awesome.

                                                          I didn't say anything about a dish being good, but about it being loved. It's very reasonable to say that if you love a certain protein that you'll try to have it as often as possible. Comparing an expensive protein like a rib cut to a cheap grain completely misses the point.

                                                        2. re: ediblover
                                                          gaffk Nov 18, 2010 02:41 PM

                                                          I'm with joon. I eat turkey 3-4 times a month. Why does every lunch place in my area serve turkey sandwiches and platters? Because they sell. (And no, not the nasty deli turkey, "real" turkey.)

                                                          I agree fat is flavor in beef and pork. But the flavor of poultry comes largely from the preparation of the dish.

                                                          1. re: gaffk
                                                            e
                                                            ediblover Nov 18, 2010 03:02 PM

                                                            Many places serve turkey because they're probably THE protein for those on a diet and also because it's a substitute for those that can't eat pork (or other meats). Take a moment to think about the great sandwiches. Even a simple Philly Cheesesteak overwhelms anything turkey can do. If a list of the best sandwiches and entrees were taken, is there much doubt that turkey wouldn't be in the top 100?

                                                            A turkey isn't bad. It has its place/moment. But, there are better proteins out there. If it wasn't for Thanksgiving (and those suffering through diets on their turkey on whole wheat) it would be an afterthought.

                                                            1. re: ediblover
                                                              JuniorBalloon Nov 18, 2010 03:14 PM

                                                              Certainly not on your list, but it would on mine. A simple turkey sandwhich on whole wheat with mayo and black pepper. #37 on the list.

                                                              jb

                                                              1. re: ediblover
                                                                gaffk Nov 18, 2010 03:22 PM

                                                                Actually, born & raised in Philly and have cheesesteaks & hoagies as well. But I actually do like a turkey sandwich No mayo (hate mayo).

                                                                1. re: gaffk
                                                                  h
                                                                  Heatherb Nov 18, 2010 03:31 PM

                                                                  Yeah, I'm from Central Jersey - cheesesteaks and pizza are dietary staples. But I love a turkey sandwich with baby swiss and honey mustard on a baguette - heaven! It's been my go-to sandwich since I was a kid.

                                                                  I don't want fat all the time - sometimes I want lighter fare. Turkey's also great in a turkey burger. Mix in a little cheese, wheat germ, egg and spices, serve on an English muffin with dijon... Yum! Best lunch ever, esp if I can make sweet potato oven fries with it...

                                                                  1. re: Heatherb
                                                                    gaffk Nov 18, 2010 03:36 PM

                                                                    sweet potato fries . . .takes me back to my Philly youth.

                                                                    As you said, you don't want fat all the time.

                                                            2. re: ediblover
                                                              JuniorBalloon Nov 18, 2010 02:46 PM

                                                              One big reason it's not cooked and eaten at home more often is it's a big bird. You need a crowd to polish one off.

                                                              jb

                                                              1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                gaffk Nov 18, 2010 03:05 PM

                                                                That's why I love local restaurants that have "real" turkey. Our family does the big bird three times a year--when there's a crowd.

                                                                1. re: gaffk
                                                                  o
                                                                  ospreycove Nov 18, 2010 03:24 PM

                                                                  let's not forget sinking one's teeth into a juicy well roasted Turkey Neck!!!! nothing is sweeter or more tasty. Don't forget the liver and gizzard too; heart goes into the gravy diced up.I roast, or smoke/ rotisserie, a turkey about 4-6 times a year. Must be a fresh "backyard raised" bird too!!!

                                                                  1. re: ospreycove
                                                                    gaffk Nov 18, 2010 03:31 PM

                                                                    Oh yes, the neck, liver and gizzard go into the gravy. I do not live in an area where "backyard turkeys" will fly ;_)

                                                                2. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                  b
                                                                  Breezychow Nov 18, 2010 03:43 PM

                                                                  Not so JuniorBalloon! Every year it's just my husband & myself, & I always roast up a 20-pound bird. Not only is the meat to bone ration better, but the amount of leftovers I end up with to use in so many other dishes (I do freeze some - usually in some chicken or turkey broth to keep it moist) is wonderful. And the carcass makes such a wonderful stock - something I also freeze & use in soups & stews for months afterwards.

                                                                  And this time of year turkey is such a bargain - definitely worth taking advantage of if you like turkey & enjoy cooking.

                                                                  1. re: Breezychow
                                                                    gaffk Nov 18, 2010 03:49 PM

                                                                    Every year mom and my BIL argue over who gets the bones--they are in a turkey soup war. Whoever wins the bones gets the left over veggies. And we all enjoy turkey soup the weekend after T'giving. It's a win-win for all! (They are both great cooks and nobody takes it seriously.)

                                                                3. re: ediblover
                                                                  b
                                                                  Breezychow Nov 18, 2010 03:40 PM

                                                                  Ediblover - you simply haven't enjoyed the right kind of turkeys. Try an organic free-range one; or even better, a heritage breed. Talk about delicious & chock full of turkey flavor.

                                                                  As far as the flavor of pork - definitely not "a vastly superior meat in every single way" unless you're talking about free-range pork. Regular factory-raised pork is just as insipid to me as regular factory-raised turkey.

                                                                  But then, everyone is entitled to their personal tastes. . . .

                                                                  1. re: Breezychow
                                                                    ZenSojourner Nov 18, 2010 05:56 PM

                                                                    Free range chicken - as long as it's not the usual Franken-chicken breed you get in the grocery store - does have a huge difference in flavor.

                                                                    But this hasn't held true with turkey for me. Still find it bland.

                                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner
                                                                      o
                                                                      ospreycove Nov 19, 2010 11:38 AM

                                                                      Zen if you can find a "Bourbon Red Heritage", locally grown and processed for fresh consumption; you will be very pleased.

                                                                      1. re: ospreycove
                                                                        ZenSojourner Nov 19, 2010 08:42 PM

                                                                        I had a Bourbon Red, locally grown and raised, and processed on-farm. Same old story.

                                                                        Some people just don't care for turkey and I am among that number. No amount of telling people they should feel otherwise about the bird is going to help that.

                                                                    2. re: Breezychow
                                                                      e
                                                                      ediblover Nov 24, 2010 09:48 AM

                                                                      One can do so much more with pork than with any other meat. The types of cuts, flavors and dishes that can come from it puts turkey to shame.

                                                                      Turkey is just turkey. I don't see much point in getting heritage turkey when I can get duck, goose (A Holiday bird with flavor merit!), pheasant and other flavorful birds. Again, that's not to say that turkey is bad. But, there are so many better options out there.

                                                                      1. re: ediblover
                                                                        j
                                                                        Jenny Ondioline Nov 24, 2010 11:15 AM

                                                                        You'd think, but I've had heritage turkeys. Comparing them to a Butterball is like comparing Jamon Iberico to Spam.

                                                                  2. Kajikit Nov 23, 2010 08:23 AM

                                                                    I adore turkey. I wish it was easier to get turkey breast year-round... but they grind it all up into hideously expensive ground turkey and it's almost impossible to get except over the holidays. A whole turkey is far too much for two people!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Kajikit
                                                                      BubblyOne Nov 23, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                                      We do a turkey breast at least once a month here in CA; it's really easy to find.

                                                                      1. re: BubblyOne
                                                                        gaffk Nov 23, 2010 10:14 AM

                                                                        Ditto for PA>

                                                                    2. j
                                                                      jujuthomas Nov 24, 2010 09:47 AM

                                                                      we love turkey and cook it frequently, altho this is the only time of year I do an entire bird. :)

                                                                      1. Passadumkeg Nov 24, 2010 12:33 PM

                                                                        Nope.

                                                                        1. e
                                                                          emu48 Nov 24, 2010 01:37 PM

                                                                          Fresh, warm, roasted turkey is like fresh, warm, roasted meatloaf: a meal you have to tolerate in order to enjoy several days of yummy sandwiches. (I make an exception for turkey in mole sauce, though)

                                                                          1. t
                                                                            tall sarah Nov 24, 2010 01:42 PM

                                                                            We spend T-day with either friends or family, away from our own home. Since I've been living away from home, I always make my own turkey & all the sides either the day after, or the day after we get home from traveling. I love turkey & all the trimmings that much. My husband remarks that I'm crazy, but then he does enjoy the 2nd (and 3rd) feast.... Plus, how else would I get to make stock to last me a couple of months?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: tall sarah
                                                                              b
                                                                              Breezychow Nov 24, 2010 01:55 PM

                                                                              Oh yeah - those leftovers!!! I can't wait - lol!! The basic leftover dinner with the leftover trimmings, Cold turkey & Swiss cheese sandwiches, hot open-face turkey sandwiches with swiss cheese & gravy, Turkey Tetrazzini, Turkey ala King over Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Patty Shells, Turkey Enchiladas, Turkey with Mole Sauce, turkey stirfries, the lovely stock from the carcass. . . . - the list is deliciously endless!

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