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Giving Ground Turkey Another Chance - What Brand?

Bliss149 Oct 16, 2011 02:44 PM

I tried ground turkey years ago and it was AWFUL! Literally a "hot mess." Nasty, gloopy, gloppy white ICK that my husband says even the DOG turned up his nose at.

I know you guys use it so it must be better now. (I think they ground the skin into it back in the 80's!)

Can you recommend a good brand? We do have Whole Foods here but no Trader Joe's and I'd prefer something I can get at Kroger or Walmart.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. mattstolz RE: Bliss149 Oct 16, 2011 02:47 PM

    the best ground turkey that ive had was the one sold at costco... i think its butterball brand but id have to check next time im there as i dont have any on hand right now.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mattstolz
      Bliss149 RE: mattstolz Oct 16, 2011 02:49 PM

      Thanks, Matt.

      Forgot about Costco. Does it come in a ginormous quantity?

      1. re: Bliss149
        mattstolz RE: Bliss149 Oct 16, 2011 05:47 PM

        four of the regular "supermarket sized" vaccuum seal packs. can always freeze three and use one (what i do)

        i think the most important part about ground turkey is that it doesnt stand overcooking NEARLY as well as ground beef or pork does due to being much leaner. i crank the heat on mine and cook it super fast so it still gets some brown on it. normally with some good taco seasoning on it.

        1. re: mattstolz
          sueatmo RE: mattstolz Oct 17, 2011 03:35 PM

          This is what I do. I think the quality is fine. You don't brown it the way you would ground beef. I think preparing it involves a bit of a learning curve. But it is fine to eat, as far as I'm concerned.

    2. greygarious RE: Bliss149 Oct 16, 2011 06:33 PM

      I don't think it's any different now. I have tried it on occasion - blech! The only time I use it is mixed with ground beef and lots of aromatic vegetables and seasonings, in meatloaf, so as to reduce the amount of fat per serving. IMO, ground turkey needs a LOT of help to be at all palatable. I know some people think it's wonderful and question the function of their taste buds!

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious
        biondanonima RE: greygarious Oct 16, 2011 06:54 PM

        I agree - I can't stand ground turkey. When I need lean meat, I would rather grind eye round of beef myself - it's almost as lean, and tastes 1000000% better.

        1. re: biondanonima
          mcf RE: biondanonima Oct 17, 2011 10:51 AM

          I hate it, both the smell when substituted where it doesn't belong, and the taste. Gimme grass fed beef, lean or not so lean, every time.

      2. goodhealthgourmet RE: Bliss149 Oct 16, 2011 07:11 PM

        (I think they ground the skin into it back in the 80's!)
        they still do. if you're buying packages that are simply labeled as "ground turkey," you're getting all the tissue components - the white & dark meat, skin, and fat - from all parts of the turkey.

        if you just want the meat, you have to buy packages that are labeled as such - "ground turkey MEAT."

        and if you want just the ground white meat from the breast, the package must be labeled as "ground turkey BREAST."

        2 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          valerie RE: goodhealthgourmet Oct 16, 2011 07:52 PM

          Agreed. I have made the mistake before of buying just ground turkey and it was disgusting. I am always very careful now to buy ground turkey breast. I never make burgers or meatloaf. My main use is for turkey chili or instead of ground beef in a baked pasta dish.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
            WNYamateur RE: goodhealthgourmet Oct 17, 2011 10:02 AM

            Ground turkey breast, or 99% lean, is not for me - too easily dried out and not enough flavor. We buy 94% lean and make turkey burgers.

            To me, the secret to the burger is not to pretend it's beef - season it like it's poultry (e.g. sage).

          2. Kat RE: Bliss149 Oct 16, 2011 08:05 PM

            I have bought Harvestland at Walmart, no hormones or steroids, and it made OK turkey burgers. They also sell Shady Brook Farms, which is actually Cargill, which was subject to the recent ground turkey recall, and I won't buy that. Harvestland was not subject to the recall.

            1. PotatoHouse RE: Bliss149 Oct 17, 2011 02:36 AM

              I used Jenny O brand for years.

              6 Replies
              1. re: PotatoHouse
                coll RE: PotatoHouse Oct 17, 2011 03:03 AM

                Until the recent recall? I notice you use the past tense.

                1. re: coll
                  Val RE: coll Oct 17, 2011 03:55 AM

                  Is Jennie O part of Cargill does anyone know?
                  couldn't find any connection to Cargill BUT they've had their own recall recently:

                  1. re: Val
                    coll RE: Val Oct 17, 2011 12:51 PM

                    I'm pretty sure the Cargill recall was Jennie O. Not to sound paranoid, but they are confusing on purpose. Remember Topps burgers had a major recall and supposedly went out of business? Not! They are still around under another name, not that they're necessarily poisoning anyone lately.

                  2. re: coll
                    PotatoHouse RE: coll Oct 18, 2011 03:25 AM

                    Actually since I got married three years ago. My wife doesn't care for ground turkey.

                    1. re: PotatoHouse
                      coll RE: PotatoHouse Oct 18, 2011 03:57 AM

                      Most people I know buy it for their dogs, if they're on the raw diet. That's what it makes me think of unfortunately.

                  3. re: PotatoHouse
                    srsone RE: PotatoHouse Oct 17, 2011 05:34 AM

                    i use jennie o as well...

                    they used to make a stuffing and breast meal that was pretty good and easy to cook...
                    and their prepared breasts are pretty good...

                    but have not gotten the ground turkey lately..

                  4. s
                    smartie RE: Bliss149 Oct 17, 2011 05:43 AM

                    it has a smell I can't stand, like others said maybe maybe in a meat loaf to reduce the fat but barely ever.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: smartie
                      mcf RE: smartie Oct 17, 2011 10:52 AM

                      You'd get a much leaner meat loaf by combining veal, pork (so lean these days it's dry!) and lean beef. And it'd smell and taste good.

                      1. re: mcf
                        smartie RE: mcf Oct 17, 2011 05:07 PM

                        except I don't eat either pork nor veal!

                        1. re: smartie
                          mcf RE: smartie Oct 17, 2011 05:59 PM

                          Well, hmmph. Screw dat, den! ;-)

                    2. porker RE: Bliss149 Oct 17, 2011 10:49 AM

                      Some ground turkey is nasty, but not all.
                      One of the best (to me) is Shadybrook Farms (didn't know about any recall). It has no offensive odor when cooked.
                      Many people use ground turkey to cut fat calories, if this is your case, check the label. Not all ground turkey is created equal both flavor (or stink) and calorie-wise. Some ground turkey has more fat content than regular ground chuck...

                      I agree with WNYamateur, try not to pretend its beef and you'll do OK. It will be drier and have less flavor. It lends itself better to be cooked in a liquid, like in a spaghetti sauce. Burgers with 99% lean come out way too dry.
                      You may also consider ground chicken (which I prefer to turkey).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: porker
                        pine time RE: porker Oct 17, 2011 11:26 AM

                        I also gave up on turkey burgers, and decided that soups are a much better use of the product. I buy the Jenny-O, just because that's what's at my store. I tried several casserole recipes, and they all were way bland and watery. Soups are the only way to go, IMHO (oh, and lots of seasonings.)

                      2. mattstolz RE: Bliss149 Oct 17, 2011 12:44 PM

                        i gotta admit, im a little disappointed in CHers general giving up on this product it seems. normally i like to think of CHers as people who will find good ways to use products, especially if they are not inferior ones, just different. (for example, we're not talking canned tuna vs fresh here, we're talking chicken vs tuna).

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: mattstolz
                          mcf RE: mattstolz Oct 17, 2011 03:45 PM

                          But to me, it *is* an inferior product. It's factory farmed, smells and tastes bad as a substitute for beef, and this CH is all about having a good smelling and tasty food experience.

                          1. re: mcf
                            mattstolz RE: mcf Oct 17, 2011 05:54 PM

                            i think this is the main issue though. ground turkey is ground turkey.

                            if we made the most beautiful kobe ribeyes on thanksgiving expecting it to be a roasted turkey when we ate it, then we would think that the ribeyes were gross.

                            1. re: mattstolz
                              mcf RE: mattstolz Oct 17, 2011 06:02 PM

                              I love turkey, I just don't eat factory farmed stuff and I grind my own meats at home so I know what's in them. I don't grind turkey, though, because I find it an inferior substitute in the types of dishes it's in. I don't get your insistence that preferences different from yours means folks are confused about what food is or supposed to taste like. Even if I ate ground turkey, I'd never eat the mass produced pre packaged stuff.

                              1. re: mcf
                                mattstolz RE: mcf Oct 17, 2011 06:24 PM

                                this makes much more sense. but i'm not saying that preferences different than mine are wrong, i just dont think that using it solely as "a substitute for beef" is giving it a fair chance. thats all!

                                1. re: mattstolz
                                  mcf RE: mattstolz Oct 18, 2011 06:28 AM

                                  Can you list all the uses for ground turkey that aren't substitutes for dishes traditionally made with beef or other meats?

                                  1. re: mcf
                                    mattstolz RE: mcf Oct 18, 2011 08:15 AM

                                    i guess i'm more trying to say that if youre picturing your TURKEY meatballs as beef meatballs, and expecting a beef meatball, then you will be disappointed, when in reality i tend to think of a turkey meatball as a different entity altogether with its own tastes and textures. I think if you look at it this way instead, it allows more opportunity for turkey to take on its own personality?

                                    not sure if that makes sense or not haha

                                    1. re: mattstolz
                                      mcf RE: mattstolz Oct 18, 2011 08:58 AM

                                      Why the eff should I have to do that when I can have good smelling and tasting, wholesome and much more healthy versions of those foods made from other meats that aren't subject to recall monthly for health scares?

                                      Turkey's "own personality" is at its best roasted or deep fried, IMO, and at its worst in plastipaks in the supermarket ground up with whoknowswhat.

                                      1. re: mcf
                                        mattstolz RE: mcf Oct 18, 2011 09:07 AM

                                        well... mainly because its a thread asking for the best brand of ground turkey... not whether ground turkey is better than another meat or as a whole roasted breast. lol

                                        other than that, i gotta agree with ya!

                                        1. re: mattstolz
                                          porker RE: mattstolz Oct 18, 2011 09:25 AM

                                          or perhaps,
                                          mainly because its an eff'n thread asking for the best eff'n brand of ground eff'n turkey?

                                          1. re: porker
                                            mcf RE: porker Oct 18, 2011 09:57 AM

                                            See previous effing reply. ;-)

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              porker RE: mcf Oct 18, 2011 10:27 AM


                                              1. re: porker
                                                mcf RE: porker Oct 18, 2011 02:59 PM

                                                Actually, it's the effing reply that appears right below yours... the OP was about the ick factor, too.

                                          2. re: mattstolz
                                            mcf RE: mattstolz Oct 18, 2011 09:57 AM

                                            Actually, reading the content of the OP, it is about how yucky ground turkey is. Then there's the matter of "brand" vs. wholesome turkey.

                            2. re: mattstolz
                              Isolda RE: mattstolz Oct 18, 2011 10:22 AM

                              But isn't that the very definition of a CH? When you search for deliciousness and do not find it, you give up and go eat something that is delicious.

                              1. re: Isolda
                                Steve RE: Isolda Oct 18, 2011 10:51 AM

                                I would say that, like so many worthwhile things in life, foods can be an acquired taste. So just like nobody is born liking opera, jazz, long novels, or NPR, giving up on food you don't appreciate at first is not an accepted Chowhound practice.

                                1. re: Steve
                                  mcf RE: Steve Oct 18, 2011 03:00 PM

                                  I think that depends upon what value the food in question might offer. In this case, it's nil in terms of dietary or gustatory enrichment.

                            3. s
                              Steve RE: Bliss149 Oct 18, 2011 09:36 AM

                              I like turkey burgers. No special brand needed. But use a recipe that is specifically for turkey burgers.

                              I think most folks just don't adapt well to burgers made from poultry. It's a non-starter for many.

                              1. t
                                therealdoctorlew RE: Bliss149 Oct 18, 2011 03:28 PM

                                Empire Kosher makes decent turkey burgers if extended and moisturized with chopped onions and coated in breadcrumbs before frying.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: therealdoctorlew
                                  mcf RE: therealdoctorlew Oct 18, 2011 04:12 PM

                                  I rest my case. :-)

                                2. Azizeh RE: Bliss149 Oct 18, 2011 11:21 PM

                                  I made ground turkey kabobs when I couldn't find ground chicken for my Koobideh. I'm sure the pureed onion and its juice helped with the flavor and moisture, but it was good.

                                  I usually put it in chili, but if you're not worried about fat content, add some butter or oil to the burger patties.

                                  1. b
                                    Bliss149 RE: Bliss149 Oct 22, 2011 04:31 AM

                                    Thanks for all the replies, everyone! This was helpful. Y'all can make even the most boring topic interesting.

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