Taste Test: Heritage Turkey vs. Conventional Turkey

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Heritage turkeys are old-fashioned breeds with smaller breasts, darker leg meat and heftier price tags than conventionally raised turkeys, but many people say the superior taste is worth the higher cost. Bon Appétit’s Test Kitchen put that assumption to the test with a side-by-side blind tasting of both types of turkey. Which one came out on top?

The 4-person tasting panel was a varied group which included a calorie-conscious health nut, a self-confessed foodie, a not-terribly-adventurous kid, and “The Dude,” a guy who just likes eating when he is hungry, food trends and health concerns be damned. They did a blind tasting of both the white and dark meat of a Standard Bronze heritage turkey and a conventionally raised Broad Breasted White turkey from the supermarket.

The results? With the exception of The Dude, the tasters preferred the heritage turkey for its flavor and texture, and most found the conventional turkey overly salty. Store-bought turkeys are typically injected with water, salt, and other preservatives during their processing, while heritage turkeys are not, which may be why The Dude found the conventional turkey juicier.

The article also includes in-depth information on the environmental, nutritional, and ethical considerations for each type of bird, and is definitely worth a read if you are wondering whether or not the higher cost of a heritage turkey is worth it.

What do you think? Is paying more for a heritage turkey worth it for you?

(Image: Flickr member tuchodi licensed under Creative Commons)