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Chicken vs Turkey

Turkey is the traditional fare at Thanksgiving. But in all honesty, I cannot stand the taste of it. I much prefer chicken. We have family coming over and cooked 2 chicken instead of 1 turkey. My question to all you chowhoundians, do you like the taste of turkey over chicken? Are we doing something wrong with the way we prepare turkey?

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  1. I prefer chicken.....turkey is not my thing.....has a weird taste to it. If I must eat turkey, it's covered with cranberry sauce. Or as my friends would ask, "would you like some turkey with your cranberry sauce?"

    2 Replies
    1. re: normanwolf

      Last christmas, there was so much turkey left over so the next day I had turkey (without gravy) or anything with it for lunch. It was one of the nastiest taste ever. At least cranberry sauce and gravy someone masks its taste. I would like to hear more from others as to why they like turkey

      1. I don't know what it is, but my SIL and her family obtain turkey for the holidays that smells and has the texture of shoe rubber. I can't eat it. It's just unbelievably gross. The only times I did eat it, I got hiccups because it was so dry, and I just don't touch it (or I pretend to eat it to be polite at her holiday parties). However, when I get my turkeys (I buy mine at Whole Foods), I enjoy the taste, and the stock produced from it tastes better than chicken stock IMHO. I think turkey suffers from poor cooking methods by too many people.

        1. Viva the difference. I like both turkey and chicken. Chicken is better in stir-frys and the deep fryer, but minced turkey seems better than minced chicken. Gravy and cranberry sauce go better with Turkey. Chicken, especially dark meat is more moist. For Thanksgiving, I would hope for turkey (and gravy)....but would not be disappointed with chicken. I know some restaurants used chicken in hot turkey sandwiches because they could get away with it (customers did not complain and/or did not know the diff). YMMV.

          1 Reply
          1. re: T Long

            Got to love those cranberries. LOL

          2. Never liked turkey, so we always had capon. That was UNTIL we started brining the turkey. Now we look forward to delicious, moist, yummy turkey!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Full tummy

              Never brined a turkey, but I found that using a turkey bag kept the turkey from drying out as much as it would. I just open it late in the process to crisp up the skin. I know that Blumenthal recommends a light brine solution for chicken then roasting the chicken for a much longer time at around 90C until it reaches 60C at the thickest part of the breast; remove chicken and turn oven up as high as it will go; rest the chicken for 45 minutes; returning it to the oven for about 10 minutes until the skin is golden brown.

              1. re: cacruden

                Brining is a wonderful thing. I made fried chicken the other night with chicken that I had brined for a few hours first. The brining was seriously the best thing done to that chicken, hands down. Really remarkable.

                1. re: sandylc

                  i'm a huge fan of dry brining - it's less messy than wet brining, and less time consuming if you want to do a quickie on a weeknight. and i prefer the results, as sometimes wet-brined meat can be spongy.

            2. Sounds like some one doesn't know how to properly prepare/cook a turkey. LOL If I were ever dumb enough to start/own a restaurant again the first thing I would require any applicant for chef would be to prepare/cook a turkey. Price point alone makes serving excellent turkey dishes a must in any restaurant. Capons are excellent but $$$$$$$! compared to turkeys.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Puffin3

                "dumb enough to start/own a restaurant again"
                well said, I hears ya!

                1. re: Puffin3

                  Would love it if an Indian restaurant offered tandoori turkey!

                  1. re: ceekskat

                    I wonder if there are turkeys in India?

                2. A properly prepared turkey is divine. But obviously there are many folks, the Khantessa included, who disagree with me.

                  1. Few things in life are as good as turkey gravy.

                    1. I think turkey is less forgiving to improper cooking than chicken. I'm guessing that many people's mistakes are learned from previous generations. As a kid, part of new year's eve festivities included my mom popping the turkey in the oven - FOR THE NEXT NIGHT. 16 hours in the oven...sheeze.
                      I deep fried turkey on occasion, cooked until reaching 170F, and served besides an oven roasted bird. The fried turkey is always picked clean to the bones and the oven bird is barely touched.
                      So I think prep is a big part of it (although a deep fried shoe will likely taste pretty good).
                      Still, chicken and turkey ARE different and I much prefer chicken.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: porker

                        Yes, I think any idiot with a little direction can cook an edible chicken, but turkeys can be damned tricky. My two most successful ones were an 18-pounder that I cooked in an old-fashioned lidded enamel "roaster" (braiser, actually) - I stuffed the breast, then had to remove the breast bones to get the lid on! But it was delicious - and the other was last year's, spine cut out, bird flattened and then roasted quickly. This year if I can afford one I'll revert to "idiot" and do a capon. Mrs. O won't eat any anyway, and the few guests we have are not the kind who'll get all poochie-faced if they can't have turkey. Or maybe I'll just get a bunch of thighs, what the hell.

                      2. Call me a sourpuss or a spoilsport, but I really like a good ham for Thanksgiving.

                        Put small cubes of herbed potatoes (sage is my favorite) in the tray, and lay the ham on top, and bake slowly for a long time.

                        You will absolutely not miss the dressing.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: Tripeler

                          You're no spoilsport....
                          As a kid, I'd ask whats "thanksgiving" and get the standard answers. Then I'd ask why celebrate with a *turkey*...if its a *special* meal, why choke down a dry, overcooked bird.
                          Why not thanksgiving *langoustine*, or thanksgiving medium-rare, mesquite-grilled, 22oz, bone-in rib steak?
                          Mrs porker cooked a garlic stuffed leg of pork with a sheet of cracklin, mashed potatoes, meat pie, stuffing, gravy, and canned cranberries. THAT was worth a celebration (canned cranberries for mother-in-law).

                          1. re: porker

                            YAY for you!!

                            I can't remember that last time I had turkey for Thanksgiving, and I think that was at a friend's house.

                            Chicken (per the OP) is better. But I much prefer other stuff, like your pork leg. I like lamb, duck, steak - if dining Western style; or any number of delicious scrumptious things if dining E/SE Asian style. I am NOT "hung up" on that tiresome turkey thang. Nor those sweet potato or pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce etc fixations. In fact, I don't particularly care for them.

                            1. re: huiray

                              It's not a "hang up." We call it a tradition.

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                traditions start somewhere..... sometimes you just have to start new traditions :o

                                1. re: cacruden

                                  Fine. But don't call our tradition a hang up.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                    PK, I said *I* (je, ich, yo, saya, 我, 私, etc) did not have a hang up about turkey for TG. Not YOU or anyone else. These are my personal choices. Sorry you feel offended by my personal opinions and personal choices.

                                    1. re: huiray

                                      And in the process you implied that having turkey on Thanksgiving is some sort of a hangup. I have no problem at all with you saying stuff like this, but when you do, I will respond.

                              2. re: huiray

                                I pretty well dislike all the sides served on Thanksgiving, mashed potatoes, turnips etc.... Everyone else at the table would have that - and I would turn it into hot turkey sandwiches :p

                                1. re: cacruden

                                  I am a turkey lover, but I don't eat any of the sides you mentioned, and they were nevr served in my home, or my mother's home or my grandmother's home on Thanksgiving.

                                  We make turkey, gravy, baked white and sweet potatoes, a green vegeatble such as broccoli, a green salad, NO cranberry (nop one in the family likes it). Fresh baked rolls. Desserts are usually fresh fruit and sorbet, no pie.

                                2. re: huiray

                                  Must have been sheer torture...

                                  1. re: RUK

                                    RUK, the company was a pleasure. Please don't go any further.

                              3. re: Tripeler

                                I actually look forward to the cornbread-sage dressing more than any part of the Thanksgiving meal. Well, that and the fried cheeseballs.

                              4. For meat and eating, I prefer chicken.

                                For stock, I prefer turkey.

                                Very few things are quite as satisfying than a big bowl of congee made with turkey stock on a cold autumnal morning, or a big family meal on Thanksgiving centered around a big Chinese hot pot seeded with turkey stock.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Oh yeah, with all the neck and wing tip meat shredding off into the soupy rice. We used to have family fights over the turkey neck after simmering it for congee.

                                  But I vote for chicken just because the legs are so cheap and have so many uses.

                                2. Personally my favorite bird is goose but at a price point starting at $75, it's not feasible.

                                  After that, capon > turkey or standard chicken. Capon gets the nod when there's a smaller crowd, turkey when there's more.

                                  You get better success with turkey when you start with a better turkey (no Oleoballs) and do a few things to improve the cooking (brining, butter on/under skin, aromatics in the cavity etc).

                                  1. I like turkey(and turkey gravy),but I'll take roast chicken any day of the week...

                                    1. Guess l am the odd bird. Rarely if ever cook or eat chicken. Love goose, duck, and turkey. Buy turkey thighs and braise them and am quite delighted.

                                      1. Nope, I definitely prefer chicken over turkey. To me, the only part of the turkey worth eating is the skin (which I must say, is AMAZING if browned to perfection). I make turkey for my guests every year at Thanksgiving and don't touch a bite of it (except the skin) - I can more than make a meal out of the side dishes, especially my sausage and roasted shallot stuffing. I don't think we're having guests this year so I may just roast a couple of turkey legs for DH (he only likes dark meat), or even go non-traditional and do a ham.

                                        1. As a little kid on the farm I snuck a cooked turkey wing (not the whole wing just the wing tip and the middle part) into my bedroom to eat later. I hide it under my bed. My room was FREEZING! BTW because it was winter and there was no insulation but maybe newspapers in the walls. I had to sleep in a 'Five Star' Woods Arctic goose down sleeping bag! Anyway, I remembered the turkey wing a few days later and had a delicious 'midnight snack'.

                                          1. I love both turkey and chicken, I make both every week.
                                            The problem is that most people don't know how to cook turkey and are apt to dry it out. Also, many people are overwhelmed by the whole holiday meal and everything, especially the turkey suffers. AND people seem to boast about getting their turkey for nothing or close to it with supermarket promotions. That rock solid, frozen supermarket bird that has been injected with who knows what to self baste is not going to make a great meal.

                                            I only use fresh turkey. When not serving a holiday showpiece, I cut up the bird before cooking. Last night we had turkey thighs that were marinated in a basic soy/ginger marinade and cooked on the Weber grill. Then they were sliced over a seven grain mitxure and served with roasted root vegetables.. Absolutely delicious.

                                            Last Thanksgiving we served both a traditional oven roasted turkey with stuffing, and grilled (outside on the Weber) turkey parts and kebabs. Even those who usually take just a smnall slice of turkey to be polite loved the grilled turkey and the kebabs were a great hit.

                                            BTW>>I detest cranberry and serve it in no form at my holiday table.

                                            1. To me, extremely well-prepared turkey is just O.K. Few people prepare it well, causing it become something that I don't want to eat. CI once did a brined, butterflied, high-temperature turkey recipe that I tried and it was decent, but chicken is still much better. Our family Thanksgiving tradition, however, is stuffed duck(s). Rich and delicious. Unfortunately, non-fuel-injected ducks are becoming rare and pricey. The stuffed pork that someone mentioned here sounds great.

                                              1. I prefer chicken to turkey, but I don't dislike turkey - just that given the choice, I would prefer chicken.

                                                I often do turkey breast (rubbed with spices) in the slow cooker that my DH and step daughter love. I strain the drippings from the slow cooker and make a gravy on the stove to go with it. I think that it's pretty good, but they both prefer it over chicken.

                                                1. We had a heritage turkey last year and it was much more flavorful than the regular ones. That said, Thanksgiving is the only time I cook turkey but make roasted chicken frequently.

                                                  1. I love turkey, love, love, love. Chicken too, but turkey more. We cook several a year, sometimes on the grill for the smokiness, but each to his own. That's why there is chocolate AND vanilla!!

                                                    And we do at least one beer can chicken on the grill every week.

                                                    1. We buy orangic free range and smoke them for Thanksgiving, they come out wonderful. I'm not a huge turkey fan but I do like it this way. If I wasn't going to do turkey I'd do a goose, duck or a prime rib. We cook 2 chickens all the time to have leftover fixings for the week, so that would not be something I'd choose for a holiday.

                                                      1. Chicken in most cases ~~ Deep Fried Turkey ....in peanut oil....injected with seasonings...Very good!

                                                        BBQed (Smoked) turkey can be acceptable too.........

                                                        1. Turkey over chicken. But that is possibly a commentary on the poor quality of chicken in terms of flavor these days.

                                                          1. I eat more chicken then I do turkey. Even last Thanksgiving we roasted a chicken instead. But we like ground turkey more so then ground chicken.

                                                            1. I like both. I prefer the texture of chicken, but the flavor of turkey can't be beat.... and turkey gravy, OMG.

                                                              My mother makes a MEAN turkey. I don't know how she does it, it's so moist. I grew up eating Grandmas turkeys, and the dark meat was edible but the white meat was like sandpaper. My mothers turkey, even the white meat is juicy and delicious.

                                                              I have only cooked a handful of birds, but the last turkey I cooked was absolutely delicious and I hope the next one I cook is just as successful. I thought for sure I overcooked it (dark skin) but it was perfect.

                                                              1. I've made chicken before for one of my first Thanksgivings with family and they loved it! I also served shrimp so they may have over looked the chicken for that. lol!!!

                                                                But now, I serve turkey for Thanksgiving because I really don't cook it much any other time so it's my time to enjoy it for the season before it falls off my radar. I just don't have enough people over but that one time a year to cook and utilize even an 11 lbs bird (which is very hard to find in the 18+ lbs birds at the store.)

                                                                1. I am not a big fan of chicken in in general. i love turkey, and rarely pass up a chance to eat it if it's been roasted properly.

                                                                  1. We like them both. I think turkey is a better value if you are on a budget. I buy Natural turkey breast and treat them like a roast and they come out wonderful. Like chicken, the quality of the bird makes a huge difference. I never buy supermarket birds anymore. Turkey breasts are also like chicken in that they can be over cooked and just as tough. For whole birds, I like to Judy them over brinning.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                        As in Judy Rodgers. She is famous for for her chicken at the Zuni Cafe. The LATimes addapted the technuqe for turkey and it is now called a Judy Bird.


                                                                        Just a moist as brining, better texture. And has the added bonus that the pan dripping can be used for gravy.

                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                            I just think it's a bit strange to like something so similar as turkey and chicken. It's like saying you like steaks from a cow but can't eat the same cut from buffalo. If it has wings, I'll eat it...duck, pheasant, dove, goose they're all yummy.

                                                                            1. re: zoey67

                                                                              I think I understand your concept, but I don't know if chicken and turkey are all that similar.
                                                                              Yeah, the fowl you mention have similar characteristics, but they are different in their own right (taste, texture, moistness, etc) and everyone can have their favorite over others.
                                                                              Mrs Porker, BTW, eats beef, but does not eat buffalo, same cut or otherwise. Personal tastes/choices can certainly seem strange to others.

                                                                    1. Trying not to over analyze this one, but off the top of my head.....

                                                                      If they're roasted, probably prefer chicken white meat over turkey.
                                                                      When ordering at a deli counter or sandwich shop turkey beats out chicken most of the time.

                                                                      As for dark meat...... Served with dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy - turkey wins.
                                                                      Without those side available, I'd propably pick chicken.

                                                                      Maybe this should go in the "food rituals" thread, but I don't think I'd ever eat cranberry sauce with chicken, but I really like it with turkey.

                                                                      1. I'm Greek... and our family dinners are usually mediterranean food... so maybe that's why i just LOVE turkey. I think it's important that my very first turkey was a great success (used Martha Stewart's cheesecloth soaked recipe) - I can see how a big turkey fail might have began and ended my turkey career on the same day. Twenty years later I've tried a handful of different recipes and all of them have delivered - I usually cook almost double what we need so everyone can take home leftovers and always make homemade cranberry jelly. The only downside of Thanksgiving is the ridiculous cleanup that it requires... Last year I made turkey and sides for 8 friends and they mutinied during the cleanup!