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Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey

Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey

19th century turkeys for the 21st century Thanksgiving table.

Thanks to the work of a few farmers like Judd Culver in Crozet, Virginia, heritage breed turkeys are making a comeback in America after near extinction. You might even have some available where you live, which would be excellent news and you should order early from your local farmer to try one this year. Heritage birds are sharp contrast to the modern Thanksgiving turkey, which is a bit of a monster.

The modern Broad Breasted White turkey was bred to produce a lot of white breast meat as quickly as possible. As everything else got pushed aside in favor of that goal: out went its disease fighting genetics, out went its ability to survive on its own, out went its flavor. Today’s commercial turkey is raised on a daily cocktail of antibiotics, without which it would succumb to illnesses common in high-density feedlots. It’s also terribly bland. Commercial turkeys taste like salt and water, with very little turkey flavor to mention.

Not so with these turkeys. They are rich with flavor. Part of the reason is that Paul and Judd prepare them in what’s called “New York dressed.” It’s the old way turkeys were processed on farms. They are cleaned without water, then hung to age like steak. It’s a style that, as you can derive from the name, started in the USA but went away as American farmers switched to water processing with no aging. These might seem like small differences—a bit of water here, a bit of time hung to age there. But wait till you taste the difference. It’ll blow you away. This turkey is so tender, so flavorful, it’s so different from what we’re used to it shouldn’t even be called by the same name.

First time buyers, it's good to know that dry processed birds look a little different because some of the dark colored quills remain in the skin with the gentler plucking. This is normal, it's fine, it's edible. In fact, you've been eating them all of your life because wet processed birds have them too, they're just few and white so they're harder to see. You'll remove the skin when you eat and guests can choose to eat the crackling skin or not.

This is the kind of turkey that everyone at the table is going to enjoy. For many, it’ll be the first time they’ve tasted the real thing, and they’ll be fighting for seconds.

"KellyBronze turkeys are the best of the best, the most joyful treat."
Chef Jamie Oliver

Download cooking & care instructions for our heritage turkeys

Order details
Order now, we'll reserve your turkey to ship on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, to arrive by Thursday, November 18. The turkey ships frozen and will likely arrive frozen, too. It may take a couple of days to thaw. Your turkey will ship with all needed care and cooking instructions.

Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey from Judd Culver

M-KBT-12 11-13 lbs, whole turkey
$200
Free shipping

Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey from Judd Culver

M-KBT-16 15-17 lbs, whole turkey
$275
Free shipping

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