The Q Guild Butchers Tips for Buying your Christmas Turkey
Get the best Turkey at Christmas by following our butchers guidelinesA turkey under 8lb is not good value, as you are paying for the frame not the meat. If you need a turkey for a small number of people, it is better to buy a piece of turkey breast.
A good bird should have fat under the skin to baste the breast as it cooks. This is the sign of a well reared and finished turkey.
The turkey must be ‘dry plucked’ – this basically means hand plucked. A dry plucked turkey is more expensive, but will keep longer than a wet plucked ‘factory processed’ bird.
Know your turkey: if the cavity inside the bird is red, this means it is freshly drawn. If it is purple then it means it’s older and has probably been frozen.
The secret to a good turkey is not always about the bird, but about the farmer who rears it well and dispatches it humanely – these are not always the most expensive.
When stuffing turkey, never stuff body cavity. just the neck end. Leave air space between stuffing and flesh.
Allow 1lb (500g) per person for the turkey. Turkeys should weigh no less than 10lb. they are not a naturally small bird so anything much less than this tends to suggest the bird was not the healthiest of the flock.
You should aim to spend no less than about £3.50 per head for a good quality turkey – anything less than this probably means it has been mass produced. Free range turkeys will cost around twice that amount.
You should order your turkey in November. Most butchers give their requirements to the farmer at the beginning of December, so it is usually first come first served.
The bird should be mature – hatched in summer and allowed to grow slowly on a corn diet. Mass produced birds are fattened too quickly and have a purple colour to them. Mature birds build up the fat in the skin and are whiter in colour and moister