A turkey is a turkey—so what else do we need to know?  Turns out, I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.  There are a number of things to consider when buying a turkey. So here are a few tips that may help you decide which turkey to buy.

What Size Turkey to Buy

Buy a pound per person or two pounds if you want plenty of leftovers.


Frozen turkeys are usually “flash-frozen” and can last up to 6 months in your freezer.  To defrost, move to the refrigerator or a couple of days (usually 1 day per every 5-6 pounds) or you can defrost in a cold water bath (usually 30 minutes for every pound).


Fresh turkeys usually are more expensive, but are also usually tastier.


The USDA’s National Organic Program requires that organic turkeys be fed mainly corn and soybean meal (organic feed).  They also must have outdoor access.  These birds are not given antibiotics or hormones.


According to the USDA’s guidelines, “natural” means that they do not contain artificial ingredients or added color.


Kosher birds are slaughtered by a certified specialist “as humanely as possible” and deemed disease free.  They are soaked, salted and pre-basted.

Cooking Your Bird

Turkeys should be roasted at 325 degrees for approximately 15 minutes per pound.  Add 30 minutes for a stuffed turkey. Turkeys that are raised naturally have a tendency to be leaner and therefore you should be careful not to overcook it.