Why Southfork Freerange Turkeys?

My aim is to produce the most wonderful tasting turkey for that special Thanksgiving celebration meal.

Southfork turkeys are grown to full maturity using special slow growing coloured breeds . Maturity is the single biggest factor in achieving fantastic taste texture and flavour in my turkeys.

However, Southfork turkeys also benefit from an artisan method of processing. My turkeys are plucked by hand without the use of water at any stage. This was the traditional way of removing feathers over 80 Years ago. It is no longer practised because the pressure to reduce costs has led to automation . Dry plucking and dry ageing has all but disappeared in the US.

It was the plucking of turkeys in the US for the Thanksgiving market that started the method of removing feathers by hand and hanging them before sending them to market with just the feathers removed and carcass intact. Only when the turkeys were ready to be cooked would they be eviscerated because as soon as the carcass is cut spoilage begins. Therefore this method of delayed evisceration was initiated originally to extend shelf life but by default it brought about many eating quality benefits.

The traditional dry process that I use helps remove contamination from water , allowing the dry hanging process to commence. Connective tissue is broken down during hanging which improves flavour and texture.

Rigor mortis is the stiffening of muscles after death and is important in meat technology. The chemical ADT (adenosine triphosphate )can no longer reach the muscles after death. After about 72 hours muscles start to soften due to an enzyme reaction which starts to break the connective tissue down. It is the onset of rigor mortis that partially determines the tenderness of meat. If the turkeys are also cooled slowly post mortem the rigor comes out of the bird with the muscle in an elongated natural position and this also helps tenderness.

Although dry ageing ( hanging ) the turkeys for a minimum of 7 days results in a 3% weight loss the increase in flavour more than makes up for it.

Pin Feathers

The sole reason that bronze turkeys went out of fashion in the 1950’s was the amount of small dark pin feathers left on the carcass.

White turkeys have just as many pin feathers but because they have a white pigment you cannot see them.

ALL the pin feathers are completely harmless and most will shrivel up when cooked. As I dry hand pluck it is impossible to remove each and every one.

Please do not feel you have to spend Thanksgiving day trying to remove them with tweezers, they are perfectly natural and a testament to the authenticity of your bronze turkey.