Choosing Turkeys

What is the difference between a Whole Turkey, Crown & Breast Joint?

Whole Turkey

A whole bird is as it sounds and offers the classic silhouette of a picture-perfect Christmas turkey dinner.

A whole bird is great for if you are putting on a feast, or if you have a larger family. Whole birds are also great if you want to have leftovers, which many people do! After all, if you spend 4 hours cooking something, it’s nice to get more than one sitting / meal out of it.

A turkey curry is a classic on boxing day as some families look forward to the boxing day curry just as much as we do the Christmas day lunch! Hence why a whole bird is more suitable for some. You could make a curry with leftover crown, but the succulence of the dark turkey meat is a must in a curry! The whole bird also allows you to indulge in the best part of the turkey, which is the turkey oyster. It is located on the back, next to the thigh joint.

A whole turkey does, however, take much longer to cook than a joint or a crown, which means you could increase the chances of drying it out if you do not calculate cooking time correctly. However, if you pay extra attention to detail and follow the steps How to Cook Your Turkey page, you will be left with a succulent Christmas turkey that will put Jamie to shamie!

Turkey Crown

A turkey crown is on the bone, it is a whole turkey, that in essence, has had its legs (thigh and drumsticks) removed, though still giving the appearance of a complete bird in its silhouette.

A turkey crown will provide you with a breast saddle (two whole breast lobes). There are many options available around Christmas for turkey crowns. Most of which include a stuffed neck cavity, and streaky bacon laid over the top of the crown.

A turkey crown will take less time to cook in comparison with a whole bird, however, you will also be without thigh and drumstick meat, which is some of the tastiest meat of a turkey! A well basted turkey crown is however, not to be understated as a worthy centerpiece for your table and its ease of carving compared to a whole bird is undoubtably simplified!

Breast joint

A turkey breast joint is boneless, and is sometimes filled with a seasonal pork stuffing variant, especially around the festive period. This would be known as a breast joint. You could also however, purchase a turkey breast lobe which is unstuffed, but for example, may have been butter basted.

They are very convenient to feed a smaller family and take much less time to cook in comparison to a whole bird. A stuffed joint is also usually less in cost overall due to the weight difference. However, the overall cost per kg is usually more expensive vs a whole bird.

A turkey joint is very easy to carve due to there being no carcass, meaning you are much likely less to have wastage. This is a bonus for convenience, however, if you are wanting to make an extra tasty gravy with your meat juices, a whole bird or crown would help enhance your gravy, due to the carcass being intact.

A stuffed joint will also not deliver the same level of theatre on Christmas day, as a whole bird or a turkey crown. This is because it is not the traditional look, and not the classic silhouette that you would expect with a turkey on Christmas day.