Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33

Thread: Buyer Beware: "Natural" turkey may be injected!

  1. #1
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    12,185
    For years, I have been telling people that they should choose a "natural" turkey for brining--a turkey that's not injected with a solution of water, salt, flavorings, etc.

    I'm cruising through the supermarket tonight and I see a "fresh, all natural*" Butterball turkey that I've never seen in years past. It's a turkey that's not frozen and it says "natural" so I assume it's not injected.

    But I noticed that little * next to the word "natural". And sure enough, in the fine print, it says, "Contains up to 4% solution of water, salt and spices to enhance tenderness and juiciness." And that little asterisk refers to the fact that this turkey contains "no artificial ingredients".

    That 4% injection is about half of the injection percentage of the usual Butterball self-basting turkey, and it's lacking the food starch and sodium phosphates found in the usual Butterball...but I'm blown away by the fact that it says "NATURAL" on the label and yet it is injected!

    So I run home and go to the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service website--the definitive source for the definition of turkey terms--and low and behold, it says that natural turkey may not contain artificial flavorings, coloring ingredients, chemical preservatives, or other synthetic ingredients.

    This means that a natural turkey MAY contain a solution of water, salt, and other NATURAL flavorings to enhance tenderness and juiciness. As long as your injection solution is natural, it's still a natural turkey!

    It just proves once again that you have to read the fine print on the label. To ensure you're buying a non-injected turkey--one that contains only turkey and water--you want to make sure it does not say "Contains a X% solution to enhance tenderness and juiciness" on the label.

    Do not be tricked by the word "natural" on the label!

    So from now on, I am revising my turkey terminology. I'm going to use the phrase "regular turkey" to describe a turkey that's not been injected with anything. I will be recommending "regular turkey" to those that want to brine a turkey.

    Learn more: Enhanced Meat

    Regards,
    Chris

  2. #2
    TVWBB Guru Bruce Bissonnette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Utica, Michigan
    Posts
    2,044
    Chris, I agree wholeheartedly with your post, however, for the past several years I have been buying the Butterball "Natural" turkey and using a normal ratio brine and have had excellent results. I don't know how much 4% is but it has to be a fairly small amount. But as I said I agree with your sentiment.
    -------------------------------------
    Good Talking With You,

    Bruce

    (2) 18" WSM's (1) 22" WSM
    Treasurer, Great Lakes BBQ Association
    Rubbed, Smoked & Sauced Comp. Team

  3. #3
    TVWBB Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Big D
    Posts
    70
    Interesting! I think you found that the same time I did!

    My dad brought me a 16lb frozen turkey to use for thanksgiving. It is clearly a self basting bird and marked 8% injected.

    Since I had not decided if I was doing self basting or a full on brine, I looked next time I was at the store. They had gotten in some "fresh" (not frozen) birds that said "natural". Didn't say "all natural" but did say "natural". I read the print at the bottom and it showed 3% injection with a description as you noted. I don't remember the brand but sure it was not a Butterball.

    I looked around a little more and found a fresh "all natural" bird that was also marked as Kosher. I could find nothing about injection on it and the fine print simply said "all natural". They actually had it marked on sale (which made me a little nervous) but the bigger issue is it was small. Right at 10 lbs. So I passed.

    But your right...read those labels!!!

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    San Jose, CA.
    Posts
    15
    Just in case any of you didn't under stand what they mean by 4% or 8%, it is this. 4% of the birds weight or 8% or 3% or what ever percent is stated. So if you have a 20 pound bird it is 20 X 16 ounces x the 4% stated on the label = 12.8 ounces of the broth has been added to the bird.
    Chet

  5. #5
    TVWBB Emerald Member Dave/G's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    St Petersburg, FL
    Posts
    3,099
    Originally posted by Chet Kreidler:
    = 12.8 ounces of the broth has been added.
    Chet
    Thanks Each year at this time I give thanks that I'll be cooking our traditional Thanksgiving chickens.
    Posts are just my opinion. Be very kind to each other,
    Dave

  6. #6
    TVWBB Olympian JimK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    N. VA
    Posts
    7,610
    Did an inspection at the store today. There were several different "kinds" of turkey available. Sadly, only one of them was not enhanced in some way; though one was with only 4%. What's really scary? The only one that wasn't enhanced was $3.99/lb. And it wasn't organic.
    ; ; ;

  7. #7
    TVWBB Platinum Member Phil Perrin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Shuffletown, Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    4,450
    Well %#@&)%$ !! I just looked at the Butterball "premium" bird I bought yesterday. 7% injection. I repeat,%#@&)%$ !! I guess I'm just gonna rub it and forget the brine.
    Proud veteran of the US Army!

  8. #8
    TVWBB Olympian JimK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    N. VA
    Posts
    7,610
    While we're on the subject, what would the term "4% retained water" indicate? I had the butcher tell me that all it is is water, and no brine or brine-type ingredients.
    ; ; ;

  9. #9
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    12,185
    Originally posted by JimK:
    While we're on the subject, what would the term "4% retained water" indicate? I had the butcher tell me that all it is is water, and no brine or brine-type ingredients.
    From the article Turkey Selection & Preparation:
    The label on a regular turkey may include the phrase, "Contains up to X% retained water" as shown in Photo 1. Do not confuse this with a self-basting turkey. Retained water is water that is absorbed and retained by the skin and meat as a result of washing and water-immersion chilling during processing. The USDA requires that poultry producers prove that the retained water is an unavoidable consequence of the process used to meet food safety requirements and that they list the actual or maximum percentage of retained water on the label.
    Regards,
    Chris

  10. #10
    TVWBB Fan
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    116
    yes, i was supermarketing about 4 times the past three weeks, at 2 diff. markets and all i've ever seen (this yr) are basted/natural birds... shadybrook farms, butterball... could not find any true natural (I dont mean organic) birds.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Turkey Breast - The pre injected variety
    By S Newbrough in forum Turkey Talk
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-23-2011, 08:19 PM
  2. Non-Injected Turkey, Hard to Find
    By Scotty W. in forum Turkey Talk
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 11-19-2011, 05:15 AM
  3. Buyer beware
    By Eric G in forum Weber Charcoal Kettle Grills
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 09-14-2011, 06:54 AM
  4. Brining a salt-injected turkey.
    By Greg Schaefer in forum Barbecuing
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-27-2008, 03:05 AM
  5. Grill-Smoked Injected Turkey (Weber)
    By Rita Y in forum Poultry Recipes
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-01-2004, 01:25 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •