Thanksgiving turkey

Thanksgiving turkey (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

There’s nothing better than having a house full of guests when you take a perfectly browned turkey out of the oven. Now, imagine that sentiment being delivered to doorsteps across the country, where families eagerly await their mail-ordered feast. With the best mail-order turkeys, even those who shy away from the kitchen or are pressed for time can enjoy a centerpiece worthy of their festive gathering. You’ll see many choices, from fresh and frozen to pre-cooked. Which one will wow your Thanksgiving day crowd? We have the answer.

If you buy a bird online, bigger may be better. A survey found nearly seven in 10 think a next-day turkey sandwich tastes better than the original dinner. Regarding traditional Thanksgiving foods, 62 percent believe turkey makes the best leftovers, while 46 percent opt for mashed potatoes and stuffing. While 45 percent think pumpkin pie makes the best leftover, 38 percent also declared that it shouldn’t be eaten at any other time of year except the holidays. What’s your favorite leftover after Turkey Day?

If cooking a turkey is daunting for you, there are a few common mistakes to look out for when prepping a frozen bird. This includes proper defrosting, removing giblets, trussing and more. Be sure to read our full guide before getting started. That way, everyone will be impressed with your chef skills this holiday season.

It may seem odd to order a turkey online, but it’s convenient, and you have access to specialty breeds and organic options you may not find at your local grocery store.  Also, you don’t have to try to fight crowds only to find empty turkey bins. How big of a turkey should you buy? Unless you want a lot of leftovers, the average is about one to 1.5 pounds of meat per person.

When purchasing online — remember to order early so the bird isn’t late, and follow all the thawing and cooking instructions. Which are the best mail-order turkeys? We have a list of the top seven, according to food experts. Did we miss one you love? Tell us in the comments below.

Roasted turkey
Roasted turkey (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

The List: Best Mail-Order Turkeys, According to Culinary Experts

1. D’Artagnan

D’Artagnan has been a leader in providing farm-to-table, artisanal poultry and meats to high-end restaurants since they were founded in 1985. “D’Artagnan has earned a reputation as one of the best places to buy mail-order turkeys and other gourmet meats, and after our Associate Editorial Director, Mary Kate Hoban, prepared one of the Green Circle birds for her family’s Thanksgiving dinner, we knew the brand was deserving of our best overall spot,” writes The Spruce Eats. “‘I sampled a Green Circle turkey from D’Artagnan for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone agreed it was one of the best turkeys we’ve ever had. Plus, ordering it ahead of time and receiving it frozen in enough time to thaw in the refrigerator before the big day was so convenient,’ Hoban says. ‘Additional at-home testing resulted in a fresh, flavorful turkey with a good mix of light and dark meat that was easy to carve.'”

D'Artagnan
D’Artagnan Grass Circle Turkey (dartagnan.com)

Town and Country states, “It was poultry that made this culinary powerhouse famous when it launched in 1985, and it remains a top choice for those who take their birds seriously. Whether you’re looking for heritage breed fowl like a Narragansett or Bourbon Red or a wild turkey; organic, free-range, and even certified-humane turkey and turkey breasts, D’Artagnan has everything you need for a five-star roast.”

The Pioneer Woman knows her stuff and says, “D’Artagnan sells organic, free-range turkeys that are fed an all-vegetarian diet on small farms in the midwest to ensure quality. They ship frozen and unbrined but have great instructions on how to prep from start to finish on their site.”

2. Grassland Beef Pasture Raised Turkey

“Grassland Beef’s pasture-raised turkey makes a worthy centerpiece for any autumnal feast,” according to Serious Eats. “Once roasted, the skin turned golden and crispy while the meat remained tender and juicy. This bird also scored bonus points for arriving fully frozen in recyclable packaging.”

Grasslands Pasture-raised Free Range Turkey - 16-18 lbs
Grasslands Pasture-raised Free Range Turkey – 16-18 lbs (grasslandbeef.com)

Food & Wine says, “Gunthorp Family Farms’ Pasture-Raised Turkey is the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving feast, offering exceptional quality and ethical sourcing. Delivered frozen in an insulated box with dry ice, it arrives within 24-48 hours of ordering fully frozen.”

“Grassland Beef specializes in pasture-raised foods that are handled with organic processing standards,” according to Forbes. “They offer a variety of turkeys (ranging from 15 to 18 pounds) that are free from antibiotics, GMOs, and growth stimulants.”

3. Fossil Farms

If you want an organic bird, Town and Country says there’s nothing better! “Their Nicholas breed whole turkeys, which range from a more petite 8-10 lb option to a festive 26-28 variety, are raised cage-free in Pennsylvania on a vegetarian diet free of antibiotics and steroids. And if you’re looking to depart from tradition, they also have a variety of other birds including goose, pheasant, and guinea hen.”

The Spruce Eats tester Donna Currie says, “This is not a standard grocery store turkey, that’s for sure. The flavor was much deeper—more turkey-like. The stock I made from the bones and bits was outstanding.”

“Ordering turkeys online can get expensive, so if you’re looking for a less pricey option then we recommend the Fossil Farms Turkey Whole Bird,” states Southern Living. “The birds are available in 10 different weights starting at 8 pounds, which provides around eight servings. These cage-free turkeys come from third and fourth-generation family farms where they raise the turkeys in a healthy environment. Because the turkey ships frozen, allow time for it to thaw for about four days before your meal. There’s one for any size crowd, from an 8-10 pound turkey up to a 28 pound bird.”

4. William Sonoma Willie Bird Turkeys

If you don’t want to mess with brining a turkey, The Spruce Eats says, “The Williams Sonoma pre-brined Willy Bird turkeys solve that problem nicely. Even better, the brine isn’t just salty water; the spices and citrus add delicious flavor to the turkey, yet it’s subtle enough not to clash with the side dishes. The turkey we tested arrived very cold, with just a bit of ice, unlike rock-hard frozen turkeys that can require multiple days to thaw in the refrigerator before cooking. We cooked our bird the day after it arrived. It included a turkey neck inside the cavity (great for making stock or for gravy!) but there were no giblets. It was a delicious turkey, and leftover turkey sandwiches were just as good.”

William Sonoma Willie Bird Turkeys
William Sonoma Willie Bird Turkeys (williams-sonoma.com)

“For sheer variety, you can’t go wrong with this big-name gourmet shop,” according to Town and Country. “From prepared breasts and drumsticks to stuffed roulades to pre-brined birds and deep-fried options from brands like Willie Bird Ranch and Diestel Farms, their wealth of options will turn your holiday table into a Choose Your Own Adventure of culinary delights.”

Food & Wine loves birds from William Sonoma. “We often turn to Willie Birds for our Thanksgiving needs because the turkey actually tastes like turkey. It’s not too gamey and has that true blue turkey flavor you want as the base for your gravy. You can opt to get the fresh turkey brined or unbrined based on your preferences.”

5. Burger’s Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Whole Turkey

If a pre-cooked turkey is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong with this choice. “Whether you want a whole turkey, half turkey, or turkey breast, Burger’s Smokehouse has you covered—plus this fully-cooked hickory-smoked turkey makes celebrations easy,” writes The Spruce Eats. “Serve it hot or cold, and pair it with the brand’s side dishes and desserts for a complete meal.”

Burger's Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Whole Turkey
Burger’s Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Whole Turkey

This is all you need to know from Delish. “Oh, Amazon, where would we be without you? The Burgers’ Smokehouse turkey comes fully cooked.”

“Some will argue that this is the best mail-order turkey on the market with a deep rich flavor and crispy skin,” writes Smoked BBQ Source. “This tasty bird is hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and Certified Humane. A real crowd pleaser!”

6. Harry and David Oven-Roasted Turkey

Town and Country rates this as the top choice for a ready-to-serve turkeys. “You don’t have to love cooking to enjoy a traditional holiday feast. Just turn to this iconic gourmet foods shop which offers a host of ready-to-serve turkey options including roasted and smoked birds, a pre-sliced sampler of ham and turkey for families that just can’t pick one protein, and even curated bundles with sides and desserts or a Create Your Own Gourmet Turkey Feast option that puts you in control of the whole holiday table.”

Harry and David Oven-Roasted Turkey
Harry and David Oven-Roasted Turkey (harryanddavid.com)

“This 10-pound oven-roasted turkey feeds about 7 people, making it a great choice for smaller gatherings,” according to Southern Living. “Because the bird has already been cooked to perfection, all you have to do is heat the meat back up to a safe temperature of about 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to go deluxe, you can order the Gourmet Turkey Feast, which includes the oven-roasted turkey, gravy, apple sausage stuffing, black truffle and almond green beans, brown sugar sweet potatoes, spiced cranberry chutney, and pumpkin cheesecake.”

“Thanksgiving can be stressful,” writes Delish. “Why not just sit back, relax, and let someone else do the cooking? This year, Harry & David will send you a pre-cooked turkey. Just heat it up and it’s ready to serve.”

7. Omaha Steaks Turkey

Omaha Steaks is known for its steaks, but people also love their pre-cooked birds. The Spruce Eats writes, “The turkey is slow-smoked for up to 14 hours in brown sugar and then is delivered frozen. Be sure to account for thawing and cooking times when ordering, even if it is last minute. We had one delivered and it took about five days to fully thaw. We put it in the oven for 2.5 hours, which was a little long, but the bird came out golden brown and smelling delicious.”

Omaha Steaks Smoked Whole Turkey
Omaha Steaks Smoked Whole Turkey (omahasteaks.com)

Delish says, “They sell way more than just steaks, people! In addition to this generous-sized turkey that comes with ‘easy-to-follow instructions,’ you can also get your sides delivered, too.”

According to Smoked BBQ Source, “They are stuffed and seasoned in the cavity and then generously basted with brown sugar and honey. Omaha Steaks’ oven-ready birds come with a cooking bag and pop-up turkey timer included, ready to go in the oven.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Amy Chodroff

Amy Chodroff is a recovering Morning Radio Show Host and award-winning broadcaster who recently retired from DFW’s Morning News on KLIF in Dallas. Fondly known as the “Chief Googler” by her friends, it was a seamless transition for StudyFinds to enlist her expertise for their “Best of the Best” franchise. Amy has an innate curiosity and a penchant for thorough research before any purchase and she’s constantly on the hunt for top-notch products. Outside of her digital explorations, Amy loves to explore the world with her husband and is the proud mother of two adult daughters. You can also find Amy on the pickleball court, perfecting her dink and drop shots.

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1 Comment

  1. Andy Lightbody says:

    Turkeys from Popeyes are super!