Kosher turkey with feathers and pins for dinner

I was excited to finally have my very first Thanksgiving turkey spatchcocked, as today, we hosted our annual early Thanksgiving/friendsgiving dinner at our apartment. Since I had to pick up the turkey a few days ago to ensure that Whole Foods had them this early, they only had one type of turkey available, the kosher variety. I’d purchased kosher turkeys from Trader Joe’s before in previous years, so I figured it would be fine. I asked the butcher to remove the backbone for me, hence “spatchcocking.”

When I opened the turkey bag last night, I was annoyed to see that it actually had feathers on it; a LOT of feathers. And when there weren’t feathers, there were the feather pins still in the skin. No one wants a mouthful of turkey with a side of feathers and pins. So I actually spent an hour last night manually picking out feathers and pins, then another hour this afternoon using my tweezers I use for my eyebrows (sterilized, of course) plucking the turkey pins and feathers out before roasting it flat. I know I didn’t get all of them, but I did my best. I roasted it with a Cantonese-style glaze and was very pleased; this is probably the best turkey I’ve ever made — spatchcocking whole poultry is definitely the way to go.

I later looked up what makes kosher turkeys “kosher.” I found out that kosher turkeys usually still have some feathers on them because of the lack of processing of the turkey. All of the processing is done by hand as opposed to machine, so the feathers and pins are pulled out as much as possible, but given it is manual, they can never get all of them.

I get a few spare pins or feathers, but this had massive patches that warranted over two hours of my time, and I didn’t even get all of them. And I’d had kosher turkeys before from Trader Joe’s that weren’t this sloppy, so this enraged me even more, especially after dinner was all ready, and mid-way through eating, I realized my right hand started hurting from the repetitive motion of plucking.

Yeah, so… while dinner was delicious and everyone enjoyed the food, no one could possibly have appreciated the fact that I spent 2+ hours not even cooking, but just plucking feathers out of this annoying kosher bird. I can’t even appreciate that. As the pain increased in my hand, I just kept feeling more and more mad. Whole Foods is definitely going to hear from me about this.

1 thought on “Kosher turkey with feathers and pins for dinner

  1. It’s not a function of its being kosher. I grew up in my father’s kosher butcher shop and we never had feathers on chickens or turkeys.

    It seems that among certain suppliers the standards have lowered.

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