What’s the difference between white free range turkeys and bronze free range turkeys? Bronze and white free range turkeys are distinguishable by their plumage (feathers) but from an eating perspective, the difference is simply a matter of taste. Bronze free range turkeys are so called because of the bronze-like sheen to their plumage. Bronze free range turkey meat is a shade darker than white free range turkey meat and has a subtle ‘gamey’ taste, bursting with natural juices. The Bronze was a result of breeding domestic free range turkeys brought over to America from Europe (18th century), with wild turkeys, resulting in a larger, meatier bird. White free range turkey’s have a more delicate taste and are the more traditional option in Europe for Christmas dinner. This variety of free range turkey is the most familiar to us and characteristically has a broader breast than the bronze free range turkey.
The white free range and bronze free range turkeys that we sell in our shop and on our online butcher shop, come from Co. Tipperary. These free range turkeys enjoy a far superior quality of life compared to commercially reared turkeys. They are allowed to develop naturally, spending most of their time foraging in pastures, right in the heart of the Golden Vale, Co. Tipperary. The magic we at James Whelan Butchers can add, is that we insist that all our turkeys are dry-plucked and we only take delivery of our turkeys, New York dressed. This allows us to hang and mature the meat for a period of time to further develop the flavour and texture of the meat.
Cooking Turkey presents a challenge to all of us cooks every year. I don’t think it’s the physical job of cooking but rather the time lapse between one Christmas and another – we simply forget. I often think that if I had to cook it again on St. Stephen’s Day I could improve. I have developed a magic device that guarantees every cook a consistent result. It’s called the ‘Pop-up Timer’. I believe passionately in what I do and to ensure the perfect result for each of my customers we always include a complimentary timer with every turkey sold at James Whelan Butchers.
We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers