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Discussion Starter #1
So the local grocery stores have started their Thanksgiving turkey sales. Coincidentally, we had a very bad experience recently with ground beef that turned out to be mostly water and WAY more fat than was listed on the package, and just tasted nasty. We've decided to start grinding most of our own meat. (And we are looking at buying a beef eventually from the local rancher, who lets you pick out the one you want then fattens it for you at his house, but that's another story. Freezer isn't big enough, for now.)

We picked up a 20 pound bird for $.75 cents/pound. It took me, my father, and my stepmother about an hour to break it down, including grinding the meat with a hand grinder, and clean up. We ended up with 11 1/2 pounds of meat -- wings, legs, and the rest ground meat. 8 1/2 pounds of ground meat. Plus the carcass, assorted scraps, and skin are simmering in a pot for stock.

Works out to around $1.30/pound for meat, PLUS a big pot of turkey stock PLUS I'll skim the fat off for cooking when the stock's done. If you look at the price of MSG free broth, that's a huge bonus.

Local grocery store charges $3.99/pound for ground turkey, and it's full of water and fat. We trimmed the skin and extra fat off and threw it in the stock pot. :D So we know the ground meat is just meat, nothing else.

We bagged the ground white meat separately from the dark meat. IMHO, the white meat is neutral enough in flavor that it's hard to tell from beef in chili or spaghetti. I like dark meat turkey burgers or turkey meat loaf.

Legs we'll roast or do in a crock pot. (They're just too much of a pain to debone.) Wings we're saving up for the next neighborhood pot luck, and we may or may not try to convince the neighbors that the "giant wings" are from home grown cornish cross chickens ... :D

We plan on doing a couple turkeys a week until the sales are over ... definitely a cost savings.
 

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Another good use of turkey meat is making jerky from the breast. I have done this on sale turkeys and it works out okay, grind the rest.
I raise my own turkeys feeding them clover and other greenfeed in their diet of Turkey grower. The taste is so much better than store bought.
My routine with Processed Turkey is cutting out the breast for jerkey. The back and bones go into a big boiling pot to make stock I freeze. The meat taken off the back and the necks perfect for my companion dogs. The thigh, leg meat grind up. I like wings for other uses, often crock pot dishes.

Turkey is amazingly versatile. I love it year round.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've raised my own turkeys before, and butchered quite a few. Yes, they taste much better -- mine always got alfalfa with their feed, and roamed the yard eating bugs, but I didn't have pasture at the time. My father, however, has reservations about raising them due to the space they require. (I can't convince him that they can live in the barn with the goats.)

I live with him, so for now, I won't be raising them any time soon. Ah, well.

Only issue I ever had with raising turkeys is that they're much smarter than chickens, they have personality and they're funny, friendly birds, and I always hated butchering them ... I'd do it, but I hated it! LOL.
 

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Generally those turkeys are also injected with a "tenderizing" mix of water and oil. I'm impressed with the effort you put in and results you got, but I did an accounting a while back and discovered that (for me) with even a minimal value placed on my time that once the cooking and processing was completed it was cheaper for me to buy deli meat turkey at $4/lb. (Cooked weight is the final arbiter.) I've still got one turkey in the freezer that I'm dreading processing.

I do agree that the ground turkey in the markets has a buncha fat, and what you did at home is going to be much better.
 

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I've raised my own turkeys before, and butchered quite a few. Yes, they taste much better -- mine always got alfalfa with their feed, and roamed the yard eating bugs, but I didn't have pasture at the time. My father, however, has reservations about raising them due to the space they require. (I can't convince him that they can live in the barn with the goats.)

I live with him, so for now, I won't be raising them any time soon. Ah, well.

Only issue I ever had with raising turkeys is that they're much smarter than chickens, they have personality and they're funny, friendly birds, and I always hated butchering them ... I'd do it, but I hated it! LOL.
I know what you mean. I raise 10 or so in a 400 sq. ft. Barn space
With no other animals. They happily live, eat, grow (and make manure)😊
Their straw bedding keeps them clean. They look forward to visits and the
Greenfeed. Very tame and easy going.

At butchering time its kinda sad, but do it quick and they are
Easy to pluck and gut the large cavity. Takes no longer than processing
A chicken. In my opinion, turkeys are the least maintenance bird
to raise on the homestead and most feed efficient next to geese.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Generally those turkeys are also injected with a "tenderizing" mix of water and oil. I'm impressed with the effort you put in and results you got, but I did an accounting a while back and discovered that (for me) with even a minimal value placed on my time that once the cooking and processing was completed it was cheaper for me to buy deli meat turkey at $4/lb. (Cooked weight is the final arbiter.) I've still got one turkey in the freezer that I'm dreading processing.

I do agree that the ground turkey in the markets has a buncha fat, and what you did at home is going to be much better.
Yeah, the time is a concern, but it only took an hour after breakfast, and we enjoyed sitting together and doing it. Both my father and I have processed a whole lotta birds, so it went pretty fast. Razor sharp knives and a knowledge of turkey anatomy help make it go fast. And we would have just been watching TV or puttering on the internet at that hour of the morning if not doing it, so ...

Butterball turkeys -- which are not injected -- are now on sale for $.99 cents a pound, or $1.29 for birds over 24 pounds (which usually have a better meat to bone ratio). I may pick up a couple of those when I'm in town next week.

I suspect if I had a better meat grinder it would go a lot faster, too. It's an old, but not actually antique, cast aluminum grinder. It works, but it's slow.

Moonwolf, we have about a 14X14 steel barn area for the goats, but it opens onto a small pasture. The animals are only locked up at night. We only have four Nigerians right now, so a half dozen or so turkeys would be doable so as long as they had access to the pasture during the day, but it's convincing my father that's the key. ;-) (Bonus, they'd probably draw in wild turkeys and we could put in for wild turkey tags!)

(We only have an acre property, so space is pretty limited once we factor in 1/3rd acre of "pasture" plus a vegetable garden.)
 

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I can get turkey loins for $10 for a 10 pound box. They are boneless & yummy! Our neighbors own a turkey processing plant not too far from here. I generally raise my own. We always go to the in-laws for t-day dinner, so I don't have to have a turkey for that.
 
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