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cooking a heritage breed turkey — The Grow Network Community
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cooking a heritage breed turkey

I bought a heritage turkey from a local farmer for this Thanksgiving. I wish that I could remember the breed; they have predominately white feathers and I believe the name starts with a "B".

I have cooked many fresh, pasture-raised turkeys, but never (to my knowledge) a heritage bird. It weighs 13 lbs. (dressed) and has long legs and a slim breast. It's in the freezer because her processor couldn't accommodate her the week of Thanksgiving.

The farmer recommended brining the bird and cooking it "low and slow". She said the breast will overcook and be tough if I'm not extremely careful. She felt that I should cook it as parts, and add the breast last, but I know the family will be a bit disappointed if I bring a disassembled bird to the table.

Any thoughts, tips or recipes will be appreciated! I haven't been this intimidated by a piece of meat since I was a new bride- way too many years ago!


  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 4,080 admin
    edited November 2020

    You probably have a Beltsville Small White. Here is a link explaining the breed. I knew a lady who raised them exclusively & loved them.

    I agree with your farmer.

    A tip that I got from poultry friends (and this works beautifully with lean bison meat as well) is to use bacon. Now, obviously how you implement this with a turkey is different than with a bison. Haha

    You will want to put slits in the skin & slip some slices of bacon under the skin.

    Some people cook breast side down to keep the breast in the juices while the bird cooks.

    You do want to start the bird on a quick, high heat to shrink the skin to the bird & seal in the goodness. Then you turn it down for the low & slow.

    I received very good instructions from a poultry friend years ago. I will have to see if I can find it for you as the forum is no longer active.

    It was the best turkey we've ever had. It was the first time that I roasted a turkey. I was nervous!

    I have not had this recipe fail me. You will do fine. ;)

  • Gail HGail H Posts: 359 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Thank you so much! I'll be glad if it can get to the table in one piece. We are not master carvers around here. One time a friend asked my husband if he had put the roast chicken in the blender. 😯

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