You may not know the name of the company that produces the pumpkin puree in your pie or your can of wiggly cranberry jelly, but chances are you know the provenance of that juicy turkey on the Thanksgiving table. There is likely no brand name as synonymous with the holiday as Butterball, a name under which plump, ready-to-roast turkeys have been sold for over 60 years. However, there are other turkeys sold in supermarkets and direct from farms, so how is one to decide what to buy? Not all turkey is equal, per say, so it is important to understand what sets Butterball turkeys apart from other frozen options as well as fresh birds.
Though not exclusive to the Butterball brand, the birds the company sells are pre-brined. That means they have already been injected with a solution of water, salt, and other flavorings that render the meat juicy and seasoned throughout. For other turkeys, it is necessary to check and see if the bird has been brined already. If not, it can be easily brined after purchase -- and some people actually prefer this level of control -- though this will add to the overall preparation time for the turkey. Keep in mind that brining isn't absolutely essential to properly cook the bird, but it is highly recommended and goes a long way to ensure moist, well-seasoned meat.
Butterball Is Here To Help
One difference that is readily apparent is the price. Butterball turkeys are considerably more expensive than most other frozen turkeys in the supermarket. Name brands are generally more expensive than generic, but Butterball hopes that you'll be willing to fork over a few more dollars for a product that is ready and easy to cook once thawed.
From a health standpoint, Butterball turkeys are certified to be Grade A (the most prevalent grade of poultry to be sold in supermarkets), free of steroids, hormones, and antibiotics, all of which can be points of concern for many folks. It is worth noting, though, that it is illegal to use steroids or antibiotics in any poultry sold for human consumption in the U.S. Further, Butterball turkeys are American Humane Certified, and the hatcheries and farms now undergo video auditing for mistreatment, following some alarming investigations.
Ultimately, it comes down to your comfort level in the kitchen and how much work you want to put in. Butterball offers turkeys that are almost foolproof, but you'll pay for it. Other turkeys may require a bit more work and skill but are imminently more customizable. No matter what brand you buy, Butterball kindly operates a holiday hotline staffed by culinary experts who answer questions -- even via text -- and offer tips to home cooks intimidated by the prospect of fouling up such a sizable roast.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.