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Backyard Blogging.

Fresh or Frozen Turkey? Here’s How to Choose

Should you pick a fresh or frozen turkey? This always seems to be the dilemma. Is there anything wrong with either choice? No, but we’re going to give you some information so you’re an informed shopper!

Fresh Turkey

  • A turkey is labeled fresh ONLY if it has never been chilled below 26°F.

Frozen Turkey

  • Turkeys chilled below 0°F are labeled frozen.

Hard-Chilled, Not Frozen

  • Turkeys that have been chilled below 26°F, but not below 0°F can’t be labeled fresh, but they aren’t labeled frozen either. If a turkey isn’t labeled either, it’s most likely hard-chilled or not previously frozen.


Most farmers agree that freezing affects the texture and taste of the meat. We like fresh turkeys without added ingredients. You can choose from organic, kosher and premium turkeys. Brining it will add extra-moist flavor to your meat.

If you order a fresh turkey, make sure to pick it up only a day or two before cooking. Take it straight from your car to the refrigerator. As always, handle raw meat with care.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, choosing a fresh or frozen turkey depends mostly on your personal preference and how soon you plan on cooking the turkey.

Remember that fresh turkeys are ready for you to prepare – no thawing needed. You can purchase a frozen turkey weeks in advance of the big day, but do note that frozen turkeys must be thawed before you cook them. This not only takes several days, but enough space in your refrigerator to thawy.

Looking for the perfect grill to cook your holiday turkey? Stop by one of our three locations today – we’ve got a grill or smoker for you!

Image: terren in Virginia