For (Canadian) Thanksgiving this year, I prepared President’s Choice Stuffed Young Turkey. It was upon one of my elder’s insistence that I roasted a frozen, butter-injected, pre-stuffed bird as part of our clan’s tradition. Normally we have the Butterball variety, but I rebelled and chose a different brand. Plus, I was lazy. As much as I love brining and lubing up my own poultry, I had a hectic week leading up to this weekend.
Here I review the PC Stuffed Young Turkey in terms of quality and ease of use. Please note that at the time of writing this post, there was no page on the President’s Choice website for this product. This page is for a similar product, the PC Young Turkey Basted with Real Butter.
Product Description & Use:
The President’s Choice Stuffed Young Turkey is a Canada Grade-A turkey with the giblets and neck included. It is described as ‘basted with real butter’ and ‘deep-basted with PC Normandy-style culture butter’. It is also ‘prepared with a traditional onion and herb bread stuffing’.
When I opened my package, I could tell a lot of butter product was added to this thing, with frozen pools of yellow on the breast. As you can see below, the flesh and skin were not perfectly pale as that of a fresh turkey. Honestly I don’t care and the meat came out just fine, but I know that some people with lots of money and/or free time would view this as a problem.
From the wizardry and hard work of food scientists, this turkey product comes frozen and is meant to be cooked from frozen. The package comes with instructions and a chart displaying estimated cooking times for different carcass weights. However, I found the instructions to be lacking in some key steps. They do not tell the user to remove the plastic giblets bag, which was frozen to the bird immediately before roasting. They also do not explain how to remove the giblets bag. I ran the anterior of my frozen turkey under lukewarm water until the bag was loose enough to pry off using a knife. But this left some frozen paper stuck to the bird because, interestingly, the liver and heart were in a parchment bag inside the plastic bag containing the neck. Thus, I had to chip off the paper, bit-by-bit, until the turkey was fully naked.
Once that was done, I placed the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and wrapped the turkey loosely in foil. The instructions say to add 1 cup of liquid to the bottom of the pan to prevent burning the drippings. I ended up doing this every few hours because 1 cup at the beginning was not enough. I removed the foil and began basting periodically for the last 2 hours of roasting to brown the skin. At this time I also put the giblets and some onions at the bottom of the pan to enhance the drippings for the gravy I made.
The turkey roasts at 325 °F / 163 °C until the thigh meat reads 180 °F / 85 °C with a meat thermometer. For our 14 1/2 lb turkey, it roasted for just over 7 hours until it was done.
I scooped a lot of stuffing out of this turkey. It’s good stuffing, flavoured with onion and some sort of mild herb profile. The following picture does not do justice to how much tasty bread dressing came out of this thing:
The meat was tender, moist, and flavourful. The dark meat was amazing. The white meat was not the best I’ve had, but it was good. The skin browned beautifully. The turkey cooked fairly evenly throughout except for the slightly burnt wings. This could have been prevented if I had tucked the wings under the bird in the middle of roasting. I wish I had the option to tuck them under before roasting, but the turkey was frozen solid.
The per-mass price of this product was $5.28 per kilogram last weekend. Ours was 6.585 kg for $34.77 (about 14 1/2 lbs). This was enough meat and stuffing to feed at least 8 people, so the cost per person was $4.35 (or less) before any tax.
I don’t buy whole turkey often so I don’t know how this compares to other products. However, the per-person price seems reasonable enough. Not cheap, but not expensive when compared to chicken or cheap cuts of beef.
Pros of the PC Stuffed Young Turkey:
- It’s definitely a time-saver. There is no need to thaw, clean, brine, stuff, tie, or lube up the turkey in advance.
- The meat is moist and cooked evenly when you roast it to the correct temperature.
- The skin browns nicely when you remove the foil for the last hour or two of roasting.
- The traditional bread stuffing inside is flavourful and most of it does not come out burnt.
- If you love stuffing, there was a lot of it jammed into this turkey.
Cons of the PC Stuffed Young Turkey:
- The instructions are clear about cooking time, but not about how to set up the bird and prevent burning of the drippings.
- Thawing the bird just enough to remove the giblets bag was a pain. It’s a plastic bag that surrounds a paper bag and the paper was frozen stuck to the turkey flesh.
- One can’t customize the flavour that goes into this turkey, i.e. no brining and no stuffing the cavity with additional herbs and aromatics.
- The wings are not tucked under the body before freezing, so they inevitably burn.
- This is a factory bird that has been frozen. The turkey is a little bruised with a bit of freezer burns, so it is not pristine. I personally don’t care but I know from similar reviews that this is an issue for some people.
I would buy this again if I were to roast another frozen, butter-injected, pre-stuffed turkey. One member of my clan even explicitly stated that they prefer the PC turkey over the Butterball version.