Super-nutritious, low in fat, inexpensive and extremely versatile, turkey is one amazing food!
Professional chefs, foodies and U.S. consumers love kosher turkey so much that demand for these plump, succulent and flavorful birds is high. Thanks to companies like Empire Kosher, frozen kosher turkeys are available at almost every supermarket in the United States—even in places where few people keep kosher. Fresh kosher turkeys are available less widely, but can be ordered online at Kosher.com for delivery throughout the country.
Kosher turkeys are all-natural and free-roaming, meaning that they are fed natural feeds, vitamins, minerals and fat, and are able to move around freely in large coops. Kosher turkeys are also available in antibotic-free and organic varieties.
Turkeys come in several sizes based on when they are slaughtered. The older the bird is at slaughter, the larger it will be.
Young Kosher Turkey (9-14 pounds)
This is probably the most commonly available kosher turkey. Young turkeys have two main advantages: the meat is softer and less dense, and young turkeys cook faster overall. As a rule of thumb, turkeys of this size require 15 minutes per pound to cook.
Organic Kosher Turkeys (9-14 pounds)
Organic kosher poultry producers like to talk about the "double certification" of their products. In addition to being certified kosher, orgainic kosher turkeys are certified organic by an outside agency like the USDA. To be labeled organic, turkeys must be fed nothing but organically-certified feed, free of any antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic kosher poultry is usually also free-range, meaning that the animals can roam outside of their coops to find food.
Some people claim that organic turkeys are better tasting, better for you and more environmentally friendly. The USDA, however, does not support claims that organic foods are more healthful or nutritious than conventional foods.
Organic kosher turkeys are most commonly found in the 9-14 pound range and should be cooked based on weight, like all other turkeys.
Big Kosher Birds (15-22 pounds)
Some people just don't feel it's Thanksgiving unless they bring an enormous, Norman Rockwell-worthy roast turkey to the table. If so, these bad girls are for you. The meat of a larger turkey is slightly more dense than the meat of a younger turkey. As a rule of thumb, turkeys of this size require 10 minutes per pound to cook but because they weigh so much more, the total cooking time is longer.
If you have a crowd coming, consider cooking two young turkeys; it will end up being faster.
Kosher Toms (24-30 pounds)
Male Turkeys or "Toms" are slaughtered later than other turkeys and grow much larger. The meat of a tom turkey is more muscular and denser. Most consumers prefer the flavor and texture of younger, smaller turkeys. For those that have acquired the taste for a kosher tom, you are out of luck this year. Kosher tom turkeys are not available this Thanksgiving.
If you are having a small group to Thanksgiving this year or want to try something new, consider these choices: