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Blackwater_Park's avatar

Anyone else realize this about turkey dinner?

Asked by Blackwater_Park (8562points) November 29th, 2023
33 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

So I finally have accepted the fact that turkey sucks. It takes a lot of work to make it palatable, no matter what you do. That same bland, dry, and uninspiring flavor is there. Baked, broiled, smoked, or is still blah. My wife and I have decided not to do a bird at all next year. We’ll do a ham because that’s a whole different ballgame. What’s your opinion on this?

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seawulf575's avatar

I’ve always liked turkey. It isn’t really that hard to keep it moist and you can stuff the cavity with all sorts of things (onion, celery, carrot, sage, etc) to add flavor. BUT for us it used to be turkey at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas. Ham has substituted for Christmas. It is easier to make and the leftovers are very tasty as well.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I usually spend holidays by myself. I usually order KFC.
I like dark meat turkey at a buffet. As the buffet restaurants cook turkey properly.

smudges's avatar

I really like turkey. I think the flavor is much better than chicken, and the skin is awesome when cooked. If you stuff it, the juices imbibe the dressing with a flavor like nothing else. I also am usually alone on holidays, but try to make myself cook something special. Cornish hens are a favorite and a turkey breast with all the trimmings is great too.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Do this thought experiment: If you cooked a chicken just like a turkey, which would taste better?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Also gravy helps turkey taste palatable. The exact ingredients to my grandpa’s gravy is mostly lost to the ages, but I do know that he used a packet of gravy powder and the turkey juices with sliced mushrooms.

Forever_Free's avatar

I brine mine for a day prior to cooking/smoking it on my grill with apple wood.
The brine is Barley malt syrup, Guinness, water, salt and seasoning sealed in a turkey bag for at least 24 hours.

I have hosted for years and everyone loves the flavor and tenderness and always comes back wanting more every year.

smudges's avatar

@Blackwater_Park The turkey.

I don’t need gravy to make it taste good, let alone make it palatable. I like it as is. Gravy is just…well, gravy. It makes the mashed potatoes palatable.

Forever_Free's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Turkey is leaner than chicken and the breast to leg ratio is quite different.
I think your experiment might be similar results if you could find a 14–16 pound chicken to roast

Dutchess_III's avatar

I love turkey. My stuffing is awesome and I stuff it every where, like under the skin of the breast.
My stuffing calls for raisens and.other stuff. It’s marvelous.

canidmajor's avatar

Turkey, if cooked properly, isn’t dry and bland, @Blackwater_Park. It’s a better choice for a large group than a bunch of chickens, that even if the sizes are pretty similar, require more work to prepare, and, as leftovers, is more versatile than chicken. Ham is fine, I guess, if everyone at the table eats the meat of mammals, fewer and fewer do.
Enjoy your ham, but trying to make the argument that turkey is just bad across the board seems silly to me, as taste is so very subjective.

jca2's avatar

I like turkey. It’s different than chicken and I only eat turkey a few times a year, so it’s special. Yes, I like it with stuffing and cranberry sauce, if it’s available.

As for you not wanting to have turkey on your holiday table, that’s totally up to you. I have a friend who is the mother of some teen girls, and a few years ago (during the pandemic) she got divorced. She no longer was obliged to attend her husband’s family’s Thanksgiving with the long drive and all that. With the pandemic, they were now free to have what they wanted for Thanksgiving and so they did seafood. A lot of people, that first pandemic year, seemed to break from tradition and have what they wanted that year, since a lot of people were not doing family gatherings. You’re free to have whatever suits you. No use eating something that you don’t like just because it’s a tradition.

I remember when I was working, a friend came into my office and when we were discussing what our holiday plans were, she said her two adult children lived in California, so she wasn’t seeing any family or friends for the holiday, and as a result, she was planning to spend the holiday in her sweats, watching fun things on TV and eating fun foods all day. I remember at the time thinking that sounded like a perfect holiday. Stay home, hang out, no obligations, eat what you want. Stress free.

jonsblond's avatar

I came here to say what @Forever said. Brine that turkey for a day and you’ll have the best turkey you’ve ever tasted.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How you brine?

smudges's avatar

Doesn’t brining it make it salty? jeez i’m hungry now!

SnipSnip's avatar

I stopped cooking whole turkey years ago. This year we ate with my mom at the home where she lives and we had turkey and ham as well as a couple of veggies and delish cornbread stuffing and mashed potatoes. We were served spanakopita, egg rolls, and some kind of individual pork rolls which I didn’t try. It was a lovely meal. They open roasted the turkey and the other people said it was delish but I didn’t take even one bite of it.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

So apparently, everyone around me just sucks at cooking turkey. @Forever_Free I need to try that brine, it sounds intriguing.

RocketGuy's avatar

My buddy posted on FB that he made turkey breast with herbs via sous vide. I’ll bet it came out juicy and flavorful.

For me, roasting only resulted in tasty dark meat. Never got better than dry white meat. Now we only do Trader Joe’s spiral honey ham for holiday meals.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m going to try brine next time.
I’ll buy a frozen turkey this week or next and give a try to practice.

This year my turkey was a fresh 24.88 pounds. It was a little big and heavy to handle.

JLeslie's avatar

My exboyfriend’s mom and her sister both made amazing turkey. It was not like American turkey at all. She used bacon or pancetta, butter, salt, garlic, paprika, not sure what else. When they cut it, they cut it in chunks not thin slices. It was served with rice, no gravy. It was delicious.

When I was dating him turkey was one of the things they would serve at family parties throughout the year. Turkey sometimes and other times roast beef. From what I understand, in Ecuador it was typical to serve turkey throughout the year.

I never could make it like them, I wish I could.

I have had turkey made many different ways by Americans for Thanksgiving (deep fried, brine, slow roasted, marinated, also very basic, and by gourmet chefs) and nothing is like what that Ecuadorian family made.

My husband doesn’t like turkey very much, and I don’t like dealing with a raw turkey, so I usually don’t deal with it. My husband would much rather have chicken. We turned down a free turkey this year.

When my parents come for Thanksgiving I make a turkey breast and we have ham also.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@RocketGuy We did Trader Joe’s ham this year also, it’s deceptively good after a warmup in the oven. That’s exactly what made us decide “the hell with turkey.” We would buy honey baked in the past and it did not have that effect.

Forever_Free's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Here is my Brine recipe

The bonus is you buy a 6 of beer , use 3 for the brine and have 3 left to enjoy

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@Forever_Free Awesome, thank you!

jonsblond's avatar

My husband always does the turkey. He uses fennel, buttermilk, apples, oranges, garlic and onion for the brine. The buttermilk is the secret to a moist turkey.

Forever_Free's avatar

@jonsblond Yes, buttermilk is a secret weapon to tenderizing and maintaining moisture of the meat.

janbb's avatar

I love all the sides that come with a turkey dinner and smothering it in good gravy works for me.

gondwanalon's avatar

I’m a turkey gobbler. I love it. I like to smoke it slowly on our Webber. It’s so good. I like it the white meat and the dark meat. I especially like the legs and wings. Breast meat makes awesome sandwiches. It doesn’t bother me if the meat is dried out. Just eat it more slowly and enjoy the flavor more.

zenvelo's avatar

I could roast a turkey once a month and not get tired of it. Compared to a roasted chicken, or even a roasted capon, the turkey is far superior. And, turkey takes time but it is not at all difficult to cook.

I buy a whole turkey breast, no wings or legs, which means I get plenty of breast meat and no worries about part being finished while other parts stull need some time.

There is a deli near me that roasts a turkey or two every night for the next day’s sandwiches. They sell out every day.

seawulf575's avatar

Another option from turkey is to get a goose or a duck. Generally darker meat and you have to roast them upside down, but both are tasty.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Now duck is my bird. I love duck meat.

seawulf575's avatar

Have you ever roasted duck? Or just had it in a restaurant?

Blackwater_Park's avatar


seawulf575's avatar

If you get one for yourself, put it in the roaster breast down. Ducks and geese have fat packs on the bottom side (helps keep them afloat) and when you cook it all that fat will cook down through the meat, basting it as it goes. If you cook it like a chicken or a turkey all that fat fills the pan and the meat dries out.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yes. Turkey sucks. I have had the privilege of eating duck instead, for the past eight years.

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