I had the unique experience of getting to cook the two side by side this year, so here’s the report back.
Due to Bar prep, DH banned me from my annual Thanksgiving running arounds which usually results in a CH post on some of the local turkey offerings and prices. My only job this year was to cook the turkey.
We were expecting 32 people, so MIL placed an order at Maiwand weeks in advance for a 20+ pounder. There was a shortage of halal turkeys again this year, so when I showed up on Tuesday there was no salted turkey in the fridge. Maiwand wouldn’t be getting their larger birds until Wednesday. Damavand had frozen solid Turkey Valley Farms. After following a bad tip about halal turkeys at Costco (how the Fremont location usually caters to the local demographic is fairly impressive), I called Tayyibaat in Milpitas and got the last 19 lb. Mary’s Organic. I hoped to get some extra turkey parts, as well.
There were quite a few people picking up and unfortunately, it did not appear that they had any reservation system in place. 20 minutes after my call, we ended up with two 15 lb. birds as that is all they had left. They were apologetic and someone was nice enough to carry the turkeys to the car for us. I really hope they get something into place, because in the chaos we were charged $2.59/lb. for both which I did not realize until we got home. TVF turkeys are usually $1.59-$1.99/lb.
There were appreciable differences between the birds. The TVF had less visible fat pockets. Mary’s giblets were larger and looked far healthier/fresher. The TVF liver and heart got tossed; oddly there was no gizzard or tail. The TVF looked like it had been pricked all over with a knife, but was cleaner than the Mary’s. I spent a good amount of time cleaning the Mary’s. Both were salted a la Judy Rodgers, air-dried for six hours in the fridge, and got a spice butter under the skin. Note: there was about 1 c. of liquid leftover from the TVF after salting. I have been buying organic, free-range, blah blah turkeys for so long that I forgot to check to see if it was pre-brined (didn’t taste it, though the drippings were SALTY). The TVF was served first and although no one knew there was any difference between the birds, a couple of people asked if I had done anything different to the second. FIL preferred the Mary’s. I thought the TVF was milder and slightly drier. It reminded me of the Butterballs I grew up eating.
In any case, not bad for the $1.50-$2 price range, imho. Hope you all enjoyed your holiday.