What’s the Biggest Turkey You Can Buy? A Backyard Chicken Forum Investigation

Imagine cooking your whole Thanksgiving dinner, including all the sides and desserts, only to discover that there was not enough turkey for everyone to eat from the table. We asked Claudia Sidoti, head chef at HelloFresh, for advice on how to easily gauge the size of turkey to buy based on the number of guests you plan to have for Thanksgiving in order to avert such a nightmare.

She also included a turkey recipe for you to try on Thanksgiving Day in addition to her advice. Here’s everything you need to know about selecting the ideal turkey size for your Thanksgiving spread.

Ever wondered how big a turkey can get? Or if it’s possible to raise a 100-pound behemoth for your Thanksgiving feast? Well, we dove into the depths of the Backyard Chickens forum to uncover the experiences of fellow poultry enthusiasts and uncover the secrets of colossal turkeys.

Largest Turkey Encounters:

  • WhiteAfrican923: This forum member kicked off the discussion with a question about the largest turkey they’d ever encountered, either raised or purchased. They even pondered the possibility of raising a 100-pound turkey, referencing the record-holding “Tyson” at 89 pounds.
  • chooks4life: This seasoned chicken keeper shared an encounter with a giant Plains Turkey in Australia. They described a drumstick alone measuring a meter long, leaving us all wondering about the weight of the entire bird.
  • Freeholder: This member recalled raising several turkeys that reached a dressed weight of around 40 pounds, barely fitting in their oven. They emphasized the importance of finding a recipe that could handle such a massive bird.
  • Bossroo: This forum user shared a Thanksgiving bargain, scoring a 19.9-pound turkey for a mere $0.45 per pound. They planned to bake it for their grandson’s birthday, proving that even large turkeys can be budget-friendly.
  • SunnySkies: This member reminisced about childhood turkey-raising experiences, with birds reaching 40 pounds and fetching $500 at auctions. They also shared their preference for processing turkeys at a smaller size for easier consumption.

Intriguing Encounters:

  • chooks4life: This member recounted a peculiar encounter with a large, white turkey that they believed to be a feral domestic breed. They also mentioned encountering massive water buffalo hybrids in the same area.
  • WhiteAfrican923: This user speculated about the possibility of the large white turkey being an Australian Bustard, a protected species. They also shared an amusing anecdote about finding a raccoon recipe in their grandmother’s recipe box, sparking memories of “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song.

The Verdict:

While raising a 100-pound turkey might be a challenge forum members have shared experiences with birds reaching impressive sizes. From 40-pound giants to meter-long drumsticks, these stories showcase the potential for raising and encountering truly colossal turkeys.

Additional Insights:

  • Processing Considerations: Several members mentioned the challenges of processing large turkeys, emphasizing the need for proper equipment and recipes.
  • Market Availability: While large turkeys are not readily available in all markets, some members shared their success in finding them at grocery stores or through auctions.
  • Breed Selection: Choosing breeds known for their size, such as the Broad-Breasted White, can increase the chances of raising a large turkey.
  • Nutritional Needs: Providing adequate nutrition and space is crucial for raising healthy, large turkeys.

The Takeaway:

Whether you’re aiming for a Thanksgiving centerpiece or simply curious about the potential size of these fascinating birds, the Backyard Chickens forum offers valuable insights into the world of colossal turkeys. With careful planning and dedication, raising or finding a truly impressive turkey can be a rewarding experience.

Any other way to make the turkey perfect?

Sidoti has a great way to elevate the presentation of your Thanksgiving turkey.

Just before serving, Sidoti suggests slicing some citrus and gathering some whole herbs to arrange around your bird. How elegant! Cheyenne Buckingham Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That!.

How much turkey should you buy if you’re hosting 10+ people? How about if you are feeding five or less?

According to Sidoti, “you should usually plan on having enough for seconds and leftovers when determining how much turkey to buy.” “For a turkey smaller than 16 pounds, usually estimate about 1 pound per serving. For a larger turkey, you can anticipate a little less. “.

Now, you should try to have roughly 1 if you want to ensure that you have an abundance of leftovers. 5 pounds of turkey per person.

To put it briefly, if you are hosting ten guests, you should get a fifteen-pound turkey; if you are hosting five or fewer, get a seven- to eight-pound bird. The chef adds that these weight measurements account for the bones inside, too.

When in doubt, follow the rule of thumb of 1. 5 pounds of turkey per person at your table. Then, youll never get left with no leftovers or underserved guests.

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The Best Store Bought Turkeys


What is the largest size turkey you can buy?

You can buy giant (20+lb) frozen WHOLE turkeys, but if you just want a breast, the biggest you can get is about 8lbs. A 20lb whole turkey should yield about 12-14lbs of breast. You can buy giant turkey LEGS, but you can’t buy a giant turkey breast.

Can you get a 30 lb turkey?

Fresh Whole Turkey – 28-30lbs | Bob’s Turkey.

What is the largest turkey ever sold?

His name was Tyson, and he weighed a whopping 39.09 kilograms (86 pounds). This beast was the equivalent of four gold bars, two average human adult legs, or two 4-year-old children hiding in a trench coat.

What is the largest turkey you can smoke?

If you’re smoking a whole turkey, we recommend that you choose one weighing no more than about 15 pounds — large turkeys take too long to heat all the way through. If you choose a frozen bird, plan to safely thaw the turkey before you begin.

What size Turkey should I buy?

The number of guests is the very first start to determine what size turkey to buy. Most turkey portion serving sizing charts are based using a bone-in turkey. A chart might say 1 to 1.5 pounds of purchased turkey per person, so an 8-pound turkey is allegedly perfect for 6-8 people. I say NO! Initially, the bone removes some of that weight.

How much Turkey should a family of 10 eat?

For example, estimate a pound and a half per person. To feed a family of 10, you would want to buy a 15 pound turkey. Whether you’re feeding a ton of people or planning for a ton of leftovers, you also don’t want to buy too large a turkey. You’ll want to make sure the bird you buy can actually fit in your roaster oven or traditional oven.

What kind of Turkey should I buy?

Classic Turkeys: These tasty, tender turkeys are a great choice for value, quality and flavor. Organic Turkeys: These birds receive organic, non-GMO feed and have specific requirements for the amount of access to the outdoors. If you’re looking to try something different this year, don’t miss our assortment of unique, special birds.

How many people can a 8 pound turkey serve?

Most turkey portion serving sizing charts are based using a bone-in turkey. A chart might say 1 to 1.5 pounds of purchased turkey per person, so an 8-pound turkey is allegedly perfect for 6-8 people. I say NO! Initially, the bone removes some of that weight. Secondly, the weight becomes further reduced during cooking.

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