From the Strategist: The Best Turkeys You Can Order Online, According to Experts

3 weeks ago
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Thanksgiving 2020 is shaping up to be unlike any other. More people will be driving to see their relatives than flying, and many folks may not travel at all, choosing instead to spend the holiday with close friends (or with Zoom). Factor in the need to put together an elaborate meal, and stress is inevitable — especially when it comes to sourcing a turkey. If you’ve never been in charge of the bird before and have no idea where to begin, don’t fret. We spoke to four experts, including the heads of two professional test kitchens and a fourth-generation butcher, who told us about the best turkeys you can get shipped straight to your door (including one option that’ll arrive mostly cooked, requiring minimal day-of work). Just be sure to order soon, as Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away.


The Best Turkey to Order Online

Raw turkey on a cutting board.

There are dozens of places to get a turkey from online, but Gaby Melian, the test kitchen manager at Bon Appétit, says that she’s always turned to D’Artagnan for high quality birds. Over the five years she’s been ordering turkeys for the magazine, she estimates she’s bought roughly 100. “This year was extra challenging, due to COVID and long distances, since the team was in different places,” she says. (Add to that the challenge that BA orders turkeys in summer, when they’re not yet in season.) “I was able to get them through D’Artagnan here in New Jersey and they were sent as far as L.A. This company is reliable, and their products are fantastic,” she says.


The Best Fried Turkey to Order Online

Deep-fried turkey decorated with sage on top of a wooden cutting board.

If you don’t want to spend hours making a turkey, consider the deep fried turkeys from Brooklyn-based operation Jive Turkey, which “has its very own cult following,” says Elle Simone Scott, executive editor at America’s Test Kitchen and founder of SheChef Inc. “Their fried turkey has been their claim to fame since being featured on Food Network in 2009.” The company ships nationwide out of Chicago and offers 15 versions of fried turkey, including lemon pepper, red wine cranberry, and barbecue. Best of all, it only has to be reheated on the big day.


The Best Heritage Turkey to Order Online

Cooked turkey on a surface with a dark black background.

If genetic diversity is important to you, consider purchasing a heritage turkey like UK-favorite KellyBronze, now sold through one iconic Michigan retailer. “Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is really the granddaddy of mail order food in the Midwest,” says Brenna Houck, editor of Eater Detroit. “Around Thanksgiving, it’s basically a one stop shop for anything one could possibly want for an at-home feast. Want a heritage-breed turkey? Zingerman’s is shipping out 15 to 17 pound rarified birds from a farm in Crozet, Virginia. Need a brine for that turkey? Zingerman’s has you covered.”


The Best Organic, Free Range Turkey to Order Online

Uncooked turkey in plastic packaging.

For those who like to make sure their turkey lived as happy a life as possible, there’s the certified organic turkeys from Mary’s, based in California and operated by the Pitman family since 1954. “I love Mary’s because they’re a family-owned business doing meat the right way,” says Cara Nicoletti, founder of Seemore Meats & Veggies and a fourth-generation butcher. “Their turkeys are all free-range, treated humanely, and fed a vegetarian diet.” The company offers not only organic turkeys, but heritage and non-GMO varieties as well.


The Best Small Turkey to Order Online

Cooked turkey breast on a white plate along with sage, roasted garlic, and onions.

If you’re feeding a small group of just four to five people, a whole bird may be too much. Luckily, Greensbury, which specializes in grass-fed livestock and sustainably sourced meats, has you covered with this 4–5 pound turkey breast. “They control the entire process, from the farm to your door, and the care that goes into their products shows,” says Nicoletti. “I love when meat companies are super transparent about where their meat comes from, and they do a great job explaining this to customers.”

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