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The Q Guild Butchers Tips for Buying your Christmas Turkey

Get the best Turkey at Christmas by following our butchers guidelines

A turkey under 8lb is not good value, as you are paying for the frame not the meat. If you need a turkey for a small number of people, it is better to buy a piece of turkey breast.

  • A good bird should have fat under the skin to baste the breast as it cooks. This is the sign of a well reared and finished turkey.
  • The turkey must be dry plucked this basically means hand plucked. A dry plucked turkey is more expensive, but will keep longer than a wet plucked factory processed bird.
  • Know your turkey: if the cavity inside the bird is red, this means it is freshly drawn. If it is purple then it means it's older and has probably been frozen.
  • The secret to a good turkey is not always about the bird, but about the farmer who rears it well and dispatches it humanely these are not always the most expensive.
  • When stuffing turkey, never stuff body cavity. just the neck end. Leave air space between stuffing and flesh.
  • Allow 1lb (500g) per person for the turkey. Turkeys should weigh no less than 10lb. they are not a naturally small bird so anything much less than this tends to suggest the bird was not the healthiest of the flock.
  • You should aim to spend no less than about £3.50 per head for a good quality turkey anything less than this probably means it has been mass produced. Free range turkeys will cost around twice that amount.
  • You should order your turkey in November. Most butchers give their requirements to the farmer at the beginning of December, so it is usually first come first served.
  • The bird should be mature hatched in summer and allowed to grow slowly on a corn diet. Mass produced birds are fattened too quickly and have a purple colour to them. Mature birds build up the fat in the skin and are whiter in colour and moister