Turkey Day is right around the corner (we're pretty excited for that Tryptophan-induced nap that we all enjoy after stuffing our faces), and heritage turkeys are quickly becoming the talk of the town. You may be wondering what the deal is with these birds. Why is everybody talking about them? Why should we leave our old supermarket turkeys behind? Do they taste better? How should they be cooked?
Don't fret, turkey lovers. We've got some answers for you.
The Bourbon Red is what my local co-op has to offer this year - fresh from a farm in southern Minnesota. Only the frozen free-range, broad-breasted white industrial turkeys were available last year. I quickly put in my order to ensure I got one.
In doing some research, the Bourbon Red used to pretty much be the standard table bird in the 19th and early 20th century - until the broad-breasted white turkey was commercially adopted and massed produced.
After doing some research, the benefits are clear. The broad-breasted white was bred for large their breasts and fast growth rates, which sacrificed flavor (older birds have more flavor) and the birds' ability to walk and breed on their own. The the old-fashioned Bourbon Red, by contrast, are raised ... uh, the old-fashioned way, have much better flavor, can breed on their own, and don't go through rigorous factory processing and water injections.
The broad-breasted white is cheap for a reason, so I gladly will pay the extra money for the good stuff and am using the Rosemary/Maple recipe from LocalHarvest the article recommends.