I had a great culinary epiphany this Christmas season; I need to cook more turkey. I had only cooked two turkeys in my life and then I cooked two over the holidays. I had bought a couple of frozen turkeys in November for $1.49 a pound. I gave one to the food bank and cooked the other Christmas day. Despite my limited experience cooking turkeys, and the turkey being slightly less than 100% defrosted, it turned out fantastic, so fantastic that when I went to the grocery store a few days later I picked up another one, this one a fresh turkey for 99 cents a pound. The turkey cost less than 12 dollars! I’ve paid more than that for a small chicken.
Turkey had become synonymous with special occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving since it they are a great way to feed a large crowd, but turkey is often one of the cheapest meats to buy, particularly if you keep an eye out for sales. Grocery stores are always offloading unsold turkeys at cheap prices after major holidays. If you have a moderate sized freezer you should always buy a couple whenever they go on sale.
Just because you are cooking a turkey it doesn’t mean you have to prepare some kind of elaborate meal with all the fixings, though you certainly can. You can just stick one in the oven around noon on a weekend and by suppertime you have a pile of juicy turkey. When I made my post-Christmas turkey I just had French fries, dressing and gravy with it. After the main meal there is plenty left for sandwiches, and then you can make or pile of turkey soup using whatever dried up leftover vegetables you have in your cupboard or fridge. And if you don’t want to bother making soup you can just throw whatever’s left out for the crows. It’s still a good deal even if you don’t eat all of it.
It’s amazing how much more chicken is sold than turkey. It’s understandable that there is more chicken sold as it comes in a more manageable size. A basket of turkey wings at your local sports bar just wouldn’t be the same. Nevertheless, the fact that that chicken outsells turkey by a thousand to one suggests the turkey industry needs to do a better job of marketing itself. Everyone likes turkey bacon club sandwiches yet no one ever cooks a turkey. It doesn’t make any sense. If you are trying to feed your family quality food on a budget, there are few better options than turkey.