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Families already staking out birds

Turkeys come in all shapes and sizes, but to get the choice one out of the bunch it’s best to start shopping early, Jones said.

Thursday, November 18, 1999

Turkeys come in all shapes and sizes, but to get the choice one out of the bunch it’s best to start shopping early, Jones said.

"If you wait until the last minute, you might not be able to get the size you want," he said. "There will be turkeys up until the last minute, but people tend to buy them early."

Most turkeys are about the same, but the expert knows what to look for, Jones added.

"Most people look for the size of the breast," he said. "They want a broad breast. They have more white meat on them that way."

And the product name carries a lot of weight, as well, said Tim Abshirer, meat cutter at Bartram and Son Supermarket.

"Butterball – it’s the national brand around here," Abshirer said. "And it’s the No. 1 seller in the Tri-State area. They are juicy."

Which turkey is right, however, depends mostly on the expected size of the dinner party, Abshirer added.

"For five people, I’d recommend probably an eight- to 10-pound turkey," he said. "But that won’t feed a very big family. You have the bones there, and then there’s only four pounds of meat. But the higher the pound, the more meat there is. Most people don’t like to go over a 22-pound turkey, though, so it’s not too big for the oven."

It’s also a good idea not to wait until the day before Thanksgiving to buy it, Jones said.

"If you’re going to buy frozen, getting it up to the day before is not a good idea," he said. "You need to get it thawed out. Most stores have turkey up until the day before Thanksgiving, but if you get it 24 hours before the event, you have a hard time thawing it out. They suggest you thaw it out in the refrigerator to avoid bacteria buildup. For a normal size turkey, that will take 24 hours or more."