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Is a Butterball Turkey a Good Choice

Updated on November 8, 2012

Butterball Turkeys Get a 4 Star Rating

4 stars for Butterball Turkey

The Quest For the Perfect Turkey

The questions around the Turkey— Butterball or not? Tom or Hen?— have the holiday cook at odds with the concept of flavor versus ease in the turkey ladened kitchen. Many cry out for the big butch Tom Turkey, while some clammer for the dainty tender hen from your local farmer's turkey coop. The truth about today's Butterball turkey may surprise you and ease your fears of consuming all those injected hormones and other unknown turkey enhancers. Are extra hormones still lurking under that delicious crispy brown roasted turkey skin? And all the fuss over the Tom (vs) the Hen, would you be shocked to find out the difference is not in the breast at all? This short but juicy article will clear up some of these long assumed circumstances surrounding our beloved tender Turkey holiday worries. Lets get moving so you can get your answers and get back to your planning of this seasons holiday turkey feast!



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Often you will hear the turkey snob shout out, "My God! Anything but a Butterball!" It would appear that the Butterball boycott has reached it's apex and uncovered some facts that bring even the snobbiest of turkey-snobs to the local grocery store frozen Butterball isle these days. The process is far and away different from the imaginary injection-happy Butterball turkey farmer. Looking for all of those horrible ingredients that get "added" to your Butterball turkey? Well, the list is very short and not all that horrible, if at all; water, salt, modified food starch, sodium phosphates, and natural flavors, that's it. These few ingredients make up the entire list of the "broth" Butterball's have on board, which make the frozen turkey yummy and self-bastingly juicy. It's also worth mentioning that the name 'Butterball' has nothing to with the bird being injected with or covered in butter. The name is actually derived from the shape of the turkey-- the name was given approximately 50 years ago. The turkey was wide-breasted, fat and round-- as in a butterball of a bird.

I do find a couple of draw backs worth taking note of when talking about a Butterball turkey. The Butterball is considered a mediocre turkey at best. Any self basting turkey will offer the same results. Or by brining a regular frozen turkey (thawed) you can far surpass the texture and quality. One last thing about self-basting birds, keep in mind, that even as no hormones are listed in the ingredients, that the words food starch , can be another name for MSG.

If you just can't manage to get around the idea of a self-basting Butterball-like frozen turkey, you can always get measurably better results by buying a regular frozen bird or a fresh butchered bird and brine, brine, brine. You will truly enjoy the spectacularly earned results of a brined poultry masterpiece.

If you are just looking to make it through the turkey dinner with as little room for error as possible, and you are a novice at the big feast preparations, y ou will be glad you chose an almost fool-proof frozen (thawed) self-basting bird. Pop it in the oven, close the door and walk away! When you return you should find a pretty good roasted turkey to proudly place on your holiday table.


Traditionally we search from store to farm for that perfect tom turkey for our festive meal. The bigger, butcher (pun intended) and fatter the boy-bird, the better. The differences in a boy turkey over a girl turkey have been long accepted. In actuality, in the grocery store, the only difference is in the size. A turkey under 15 pounds is referred to as a hen, anything over that is considered a tom. The real difference to consider is in the number of pounds you need to feed your family and friends.

In the barn yard however, the difference is a legitimate boy/girl thing. The hen is a female turkey and the tom is a male bird. Many swear that a tom turkey has proven to be more stringy and dry when compared to its more petite hen turkey counterpart. This has little to do with whether the bird is a boy or a girl, It's all about the cooking environment and age. The simple fact is that the reason this may be true in some kitchens, is that the bigger-older bird (tom) has a tendency to get stringy and dry because of its age and extended cooking time. The smaller and most likely younger (hen) turkey is tender and cooks in less time, preventing the white meat from drying out and becoming stringy. Because of its youthful pre-adult age and lack of maturity at the time of harvest, the younger turkey will generally offer a more tender texture and a bit more flavor than does the older and bigger tom turkey.

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Comments for "TURKEY BUTTERBALL OR NOT? Should You Tom or Hen the Holidays?"

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  • profile image


    4 years ago

    Look up Butterball LLC court cases for criminal animal cruelty. Even if the meat was completely "natural," the treatment these turkeys get at Butterball LLC is horrendous. Animals being stomped on and choked....yeah.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    i heard the butterball was injected with dicarded oils

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Millionaire Tips~ I too, like to know what goes into the foods I eat. Most of the time, added stuff just means more chemicals in my food. I had heard a ton of rumors about the Butterball Turkey methods, and was actually pretty surprised to find when researching it that, it isn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. Thanks for stopping by for a read. Happy holidays. Thank you for the up vote!


  • Millionaire Tips profile image

    Shasta Matova 

    6 years ago from USA

    I don't like it when they add things to my meat, mostly because it almost always includes salt, which I am trying to reduce. You've provided some great information to compare Butterball with other brands. Voted up.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    6 years ago from Northern, California

    Alecia Murphy~ I totally understand what you're saying! I find it quite difficult to resist a roasted turkey of any kind! Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Happy Turkey tasting!


  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 

    6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    I do give them credit for their hotline but to be honest, I don't know what brand of turkey is which. All I know is as long as it's on the table and hot- I'll take it. But it is interesting to know what's in a butterball! Voted up and shared.

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    7 years ago from Northern, California

    zein-okeh~ So glad you found a little turkey-talk gave you inspiration! So, will you be having Butterball Turkey this holiday? Happy Hubbing~



  • zein-okeh profile image


    7 years ago from Indonesia

    nice hub.. it was giving me inspiration

  • K9keystrokes profile imageAUTHOR

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Hi Anna! Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate your comments. Hope you have a winderful holiday!


  • HOSPITALITY GURU profile image

    Anna Johnston 

    8 years ago from Canberra, Australia

    So much info, gonna have to head back to the top and start reading again. CHeers for sharing. Anna


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