top of page

How to Cook your Pastured Heritage Turkey


Pastured birds are different birds. They aren't bland like industrial turkeys so they aren't injected with oils and artificial flavorings (which makes them "juicy."  Plus, being raised on pasture makes them leaner than store-bought birds that don't get exercise.


Willow City Farm raises heritage turkeys without antibiotics or hormones. 

(As an FYI, hormones are not permitted in any birds in the United States.)  Our birds free range their entire lives on large amounts of pasture and will actually roost in the trees at night, or in the coops with the chicken.  They have more fat under their skin, and less in their meat.  The fat keeps the juice in while you cook the bird, and you'll be eating a leaner, healthier bird.


This makes the turkey VASTLY different from your commercial genetically modified Broad Breasted White.  To read all the differences and read the results of a blind taste test from Bon Appetit, read here.


We've gathered a bunch of great advice on how to cook your pastured turkey, from brining tips to cooking times and temps (faster and hotter). Here are several great articles on the art of cooking pastured turkeys.

Pastured Turkey Cooking Tips from Mother Earth News. Comprehensive article with tips on prepping and cooking.

How to Cook a Pastured Turkey from
A simple brine recipe and tips on retaining moisture.

Cooking Your Heritage Turkey from Local Harvest. Great tips and delicious-sounding recipes here.

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Brining a Turkey from Serious Eats. Great advice on both dry-brining and wet-brining turkeys.

How to Slow Roast the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey from Nourished Kitchen. This article is about reviving the traditional art of slow roasting a heritage bird and offers many insights as to how it used to be done because pastured turkeys are essentially, old-fashioned.


The Heritage Turkey taste test by Cooks Illustrated.  An article about a nationwide taste test by chefs and average people between heritage turkeys and commercial ones.



bottom of page