When other holidays roll-around on the calendar your dinner choices are many, ranging from Prime Rib or a Crown Roast of Pork, to maybe a Ham or Leg of Lamb, but on Thanksgiving there is only one choice for most families and it's turkey.  Yes, on Thanksgiving the bird is the word.

I washed my first turkey with soap and water, it began bubbling as it cooked! Don't use soap, just water will do! - Anonymous

Up early to make the stuffing we begin crafting what we hope is the perfect Thanksgiving meal for family and friends.  We set the table and in a festive mood begin what for most of us is a full day of cooking, At the center of everything, a turkey. It's all about that turkey!  Everything you place on the table beside it can be the BEST DISH ever, but if that turkey is dry, you want to cry.  

The time for Hoping is over Tampa!


In this article we will cover not only WHERE to buy the best bird, but HOW to ensure a moist, delicious and tasty turkey for your guests!

Publix Super Markets

Publix came in again with the lowest price for their Publix brand frozen turkey at .59 a pound. (Note: For the first two, a third would be $1.09 per pound.).  Publix offers fresh and frozen turkeys from small to large.  If you want a fresh, never frozen, turkey call your local store ahead of the holiday to order the SIZE you need (pounds) and let them know when you will pick your Tom Turkey up.  For Fresh Turkeys Publix offers two brands, Butterball at $1.89 per pound and the Publix brand at $1.69 per pound.  Frozen Butterball turkeys are $1.09 per pound. Store Locator   



The first time I roasted a turkey no one told me there is a bag of giblets in the neck cavity. Imagine the surprise when we carved into our first bird only to find a crispy paper baggie with parts inside!  ~ Carlyn 


Trader Joe's 

Starting November 14th Trader Joe's is offering All Natural No Antibiotics Ever Brined Fresh Young Turkeys to ensure your Thanksgiving is extra gobbledy good!  Their turkeys come from farms in CA, MN, NY and PA where they roam free in natural sunlight, with fresh air, and fed an all vegetarian diet.  There are no animal by-products in their feed!
Carefully processed to guarantee no artificial ingredients Trader Joe's birds are soaked in a sweet and savory brine, the All Natural Glatt Kosher birds are salted as part of a kosher process.  Brining delivers a juicy, flavorful turkey. Prices range from $1.99 per pound to $2.49 per pound for the Kosher turkey.

I forgot to defrost the turkey even though my husband reminded me. It fit, so I thought I could defrost it in the microwave.  We ate out that year! - Deb

Land And Sea Market - Tampa Palms

Land and Sea Market in Tampa Palms is offering Amish Turkeys this year. Raised and delivered fresh to them by the Amish their turkeys are raised naturally and are antibiotic free. Sizes range from 8-10 pounds ups to 30 pounds.  You must call or visit the store in advance to reserve your turkey.

Fresh Market

Fresh Market offers fresh turkeys only, at $2.49 a pound. They reccomend calling ahead to reserve your turkey.  Let them know what size you need and they will hold one for you, walk-ins are OK, you can choose from what they have on hand. Pre-order your holiday meal in store by 11/22 and receive $5.00 off $25 coupon as part of their Early Bird Special.

Interbay Meat Market aka The Green Store

If you like supporting local mom and pop butcher shops try what the people of South Tampa call The Green Market on Interbay Boulevard.  Referred to by locals as The Green Market, thanks to it's green exterior, The Interbay Meat Market has been locally owned and operated since 1985. The store features a butcher shop specializing in Ribeye, Porterhouse and T-Bone steaks. The Mrs. is Cuban, leading to the stores traditional items like roast pork, yellow rice and chicken and cuban sandwiches.  They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and cuban coffee.  This holiday season they offer 10-15 pound frozen turkeys to patrons for $2.99 per pound. You will want to grab lunch when you pick up your turkey from this meat market,  sandwich shop and deli, they have an extensive Menu.


I wrapped my turkey in a towel before cooking it, placed it on the ground and stomped on it to break it's bones so it would fit in my pan.  I called the hotline to ask the best way to carve a turkey with broken bones! ~ Anonymous

Cacciatore Brothers

For 110 years the Cacciatore family meets the needs of hungry shoppers across Tampa Bay.  Located at 5610 N Hanley Road the Brothers continue the family tradition of offering the freshest meats and turkeys for the holidays.  Besides an array Italian specialties guaranteed to inspire, their fresh turkeys are available to walk-in customers at $1.49 per pound.  If you need a large turkey, 22 pounds or more please call ahead to place your order. 

National Thawing Day - Don't Be Like Deb!

According to Butterball, Nov. 20 is National Thawing Day.  If you move your turkey from the freezer to your refrigerator on the 20th it will be ready for you Thanksgiving Day.  You forgot, no worries, you can't nuke it like Deb tried, but you can safely use the cold-water method for defrosting.  Grab a cooler and fill it with cold water, drop your packaged turkey into the water and change the water every 30 minutes until thawed. The rule of thumb is 1 hour for every 4 pounds in the refrigerator.


Most pre-packaged turkeys are brined with added liquid, flavoring and salt.  If you buy a fresh unbrined turkey brining will add flavor and moisture to the meat. Interested in brining your own?  Here are the 5 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Brines from Food and Wine Magazine.

Tips and Tricks

1.  For crispier skin unwrap your turkey the day before and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.  Follow package directions for cooking times, on average 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven for a defrosted turkey and 10 - 15 minutes per pound for a fresh turkey will bring it to the correct internal temperature of 165 degrees.


2.  Before roasting gently separate the skin from the meat above the breast meat stuffing an herb-butter mixture between the skin and meat. Coat the outside of the skin with olive oil and use several layers of oil soaked cheesecloth cut so it covers the white meat only.  Baste the cheesecloth every 15-20 minutes with pan drippings to keep it moist.  Gently remove the cheesecloth 30 minutes before your turkey is done to crisp up and brown the skin. Not always the most beautiful turkey. but I promise it will be incredibly moist!

3.  Use an instant read thermometer (critical) to check both the meat and the stuffing temperatures. According to Food Network both should be 165 degrees.

4.  Lightly tent your turkey with foil and let it rest for 25 minutes before carving. Make the gravy and heat up your sides as it rests.

5.  Carve with a very sharp knife!  

President Bartlett was impressed! Turkey 911!  The Butterball Hotline

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We'd love to hear about your Turkey Day, did everything go well your first try?  Did a friend completely blow it?  

C'mon and DISH, leave a comment below and share!