Best Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner - Jacques Exclusive Catering

How to Pick The Best Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

With many families planning their Thanksgiving holiday now, we thought it would be fun to provide some tips on how to pick the best turkey for Thanksgiving dinner so that you can enjoy a delicious dinner with your family and friends this holiday season.

There are few things you need to determine in order to select just the right turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner. Many consumers are not aware that there are differences between fresh and frozen turkeys. “Fresh” turkeys are labeled accordingly based on whether or not they have been chilled below 26˚ F because turkey meat does not freeze at 32˚ F. It actually freezes at a temperature of around 26˚ F. Frozen turkeys are chilled below 0˚ F and could be defrosted, labeled and sold as “previously frozen”. Most turkey producers agree that freezing adversely affects the texture and the taste of the meat.

If a turkey isn’t labeled as either fresh or frozen it’s most likely “hard-chilled” or “not previously frozen”. This type of turkey would have been chilled below 26˚ F but not below 0˚ F, which means it can’t be labeled as fresh or frozen. Our recommendation is for whatever turkey you choose that you look for one without any added ingredients and organic, kosher or premium brand for the best quality cooked turkey dinner.

The size of the turkey matters, depending on how many guests will be having dinner. When determining the size of the turkey, a good rule of thumb is three-quarters to one pound of turkey per person, which will be enough for dinner only. If you want leftovers to send home with guests or to have the next day, experts recommend calculating at least one to one-and-a-half pounds per person. You could also buy two smaller turkeys that equal the total weight you require and roast them together which could save on roasting time as compared to one large turkey. Another benefit of this technique is that smaller turkeys tend to remain more tender and juicy.

When Traditional Doesn’t Cut It

If turkey is not your favorite or you are looking to serve something less traditional, but full of flavor, consider some alternatives to a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Here are some suggestions for main course meats that will wow your guests:

  • Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
  • Orange Roasted Duck
  • Lasagna
  • Roasted Pheasant
  • Beef Wellington
  • Salmon or Halibut

Some families choose to make an additional main course along with the traditional turkey so that there is a main course that will please everyone at the table. Whichever you choose, be sure to have side dishes that complement your main course for a well-balanced, tasteful dinner.

If you are not sure how to proceed with your Thanksgiving menu or want to enjoy the day with family and friends without the hassle of days of preparation and cooking, consider having your holiday meal catered. Jacques Exclusive Caterers has been serving holiday meals for four generations. Our complete holiday menu includes all of your traditional favorites, as well as a variety of specialty items and cultural cuisines to choose from. Contact us today and book your Thanksgiving Day Catering.


By Frank Mamola

Frank brings over 25 years of special event and food/beverage experience to the team.

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Jacques Exclusive Catering
403 State Route 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
732.495.2600View map
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500 Palmer Avenue
Middletown, NJ 07748
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