Suggestions on how to cook my skinny heritage turkeys?

harriedhomemaker

Songster
8 Years
Jul 26, 2011
344
34
118
We butchered our Blue Slate and Bourbon Red toms this weekend. We wanted to let them grow for a couple more months, but they were ganging up on my roo and were going to kill him. It was the first time DH and I had butchered anything and it went pretty well. Not too shabby for a couple of former city kids.

I knew they were young and skinny yet, but was surprised at just how different they looked than the Thanksgiving turkeys I'm used to buying. Their breasts are tiny (no surprise since they weren't BB) and they have very little fat on them. I'm not sure if the standard roasting process I use will be the best use for them. Do y'all have any ideas? They ended up being 12.5 and 15 lb after processing.
 

Oregon Blues

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
5,531
267
273
Central Oregon
With no fat, they will dry out easily. I'd go with lower heat, perhaps 315 F, rub the bird with butter. Place it breast side down in the pan, cover with foil.

When the bird is nearly done, turn it over. When the legs move easily (or use a meat thermometer for poultry done) remove the foil, baste with the dripping, if there is any, or else with butter, turn the heat up to 350, and brown the top of the bird. Once the bird is browned, you can glaze, if that is something that your family expects.

I normally place a sliced onion and some garlic inside the body cavity before I put the bird into the oven.
 

harriedhomemaker

Songster
8 Years
Jul 26, 2011
344
34
118
With no fat, they will dry out easily. I'd go with lower heat, perhaps 315 F, rub the bird with butter. Place it breast side down in the pan, cover with foil.

When the bird is nearly done, turn it over. When the legs move easily (or use a meat thermometer for poultry done) remove the foil, baste with the dripping, if there is any, or else with butter, turn the heat up to 350, and brown the top of the bird. Once the bird is browned, you can glaze, if that is something that your family expects.

I normally place a sliced onion and some garlic inside the body cavity before I put the bird into the oven.
Thank you, this is very helpful! I would cry if I overcooked these birds.
 

PurpleEast

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 14, 2012
41
1
24
Fennville, Michigan
I'd also recommend a brine. I think they do these with commercial turkeys? There's many a brine recipe online depending on your taste; I heat up some water and add equal parts of sugar and salt with some poultry seasoning. Once cooled, completely submerge a whole bird for at least 6 hours.

We do this with wild turkeys and they turn out really moist.

Finish as Oregon Blues suggested and it should be really tasty!
 
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harriedhomemaker

Songster
8 Years
Jul 26, 2011
344
34
118
I'd also recommend a brine. I think they do these with commercial turkeys? There's many a brine recipe online depending on your taste; I heat up some water and add equal parts of sugar and salt with some poultry seasoning. Once cooled, completely submerge a whole bird for at least 6 hours.

We do this with wild turkeys and they turn out really moist.

Finish as Oregon Blues suggested and it should be really tasty!

Another weapon for the arsenal. Thank you!
 
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harriedhomemaker

Songster
8 Years
Jul 26, 2011
344
34
118
Update: I cooked one of them tonight and it turned out really well!

I made the brine in this recipe: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-shafferrec5nov15,0,6790695.story I cut back on the salt in the brine quite a bit since I usually find brined food to be too salty for our taste. I'm not sure how much this actually contributed to the final product, but the turkey definitely was not boot leather.

Then I prepared it according to this recipe: http://www.localharvest.org/features/heritage-turkey-recipes.jsp The compound butter spread on the breast meat really seemed to help things stay moist and it tasted great.

All the hard work that went into raising and butchering these birds was well worth it.
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