Ok, this issue seems separate from my brining post, so I was wondering if others purchased a "fresh" turkey this year and what your experience was. By "fresh," I don't mean Heritage or other labels. As defined in Bon Appetit's T-giving issue, turkeys can be labeled as fresh as long as they are not stored in areas under 26 deg. F. So, technically a bird that was stored at 27 deg. could be labeled as "fresh" I suppose.
I got a "fresh" Porter Farms bird from Nob Hill Foods for .99/lb. When the meat clerk handed it to me, it was very cold and felt icy in some areas, so I immediately questioned him about why this was so and wanted to confirm that it was indeed ready for cooking. He assured me that it was ready to go and that it was not frozen.
Put it in fridge for a few hrs. before opening it up to brine. Upon unwrapping it, most of the fat parts of the bird were soft; however, the legs and surrounding areas were sealed together w/ thick ice which I had to run water on to defrost. The bird had a nice creamy pinkish-white hue which def. looked better than the slightly yellow birds from Safeway. Breast was in proportion to the rest of the body and legs and wings were nice and plump.
However, I actually didn't notice much of a flavor improvement from the frozen birds of my past. Given that co.'s these days have such great marketing techniques to hook in consumers, do you think that "fresh" turkeys are a sham?? Are they really any better than frozen ones? Although I like the idea of supporting Heritage farms, I just can't justify paying $4/lb. for a bird. Perhaps I should just go back to the good 'ole frozen turkey...