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Tips Before Buying Your Thanksgiving Turkey

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(credit: CBS) Matt Brickman
Matt Brickman is the co-host of WCCO-TV Saturday Morni...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thanksgiving is just six days away, and this weekend is the prime time for turkey shopping.

With the cost of the average turkey up over 20 percent from last year, picking the right poultry may be more important than ever.

We’ve got some tips on what you need to know before you buy that turkey for your holiday feast. The old addage that you get what you pay for rings true when you’re talking turkey.

“We’re looking anywhere from $1.99 a pound to the organics which go up to 3.29 a pound,” said Rocky Sherman with Kowalski’s Market.

Sure you can find a bird for 39 cents a pound, but you might not like what you get.

“Some of the frozen birds you can buy cheaper, sometimes they’re enhanced with a solution of salt an d turkey broth,” Sherman said.

When you have to thaw a turkey, you lose a lot of the natural juices. The solution there to replace the lost moisture. Sherman said a fresh bird is the best option.

“A non-frozen bird is going to retain its own moisture better. I think you’re going to have a more moist bird and a better flavor bird,” said Sherman.

As for free-range birds, they’re more expensive and you’re not paying just for a better taste.

“A lot of it comes down to the care that goes into raising the birds. They’re not being raised in a commodity situation,” said Kristen Tombers. “They’re grown slower, they’re more humanely treated, that’s all stuff you don’t see at that end that you’re paying for at this end.”

Another thing to think about is size. Experts said bigger isn’t always better.

“For me personally is kind of my ideal weight for a turkey at 17.5 lbs. This one, I think that anywhere between 16 and 18 and 19 is just perfect for roasting,” Tombers said.

And if a bird that size just won’t cut it, well, you can always buy two.

If all that sounds like too much work for you, Popeye’s sells a fully cooked “Cajun Turkey” for $39.99. But you have to act quickly, as of Friday afternoon they only had six left.

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