Turkey is a holiday season staple from Thanksgiving through Christmas and Hanukkah, but this year, we may see far fewer gobblers on our plates. Experts say that there will be a turkey shortage of smaller frozen and fresh varieties, which means if you fly solo or host smaller gatherings over the holidays due to COVID-19, you’re more likely to be affected than, say, your aunt who has a 25-pound bird for her 30 guests every year. Find out what’s behind the turkey shortage, as well as where to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving 2021.
Is there a turkey shortage this Thanksgiving?
A rep for Butterball told TODAY, “Frozen turkeys are the bulk of what is sold at Thanksgiving and are produced all year long. Challenges like labor and transportation that have persisted throughout the pandemic have made it difficult to maintain a normal production flow. The result? Smaller frozen turkeys could be harder to find in stores this November.”
Shady Brook Farms, another leading turkey supplier, also warned that the higher demand for smaller turkeys (thanks to pandemic-induced smaller holiday gatherings) may not be met this year.
A spokesperson for Cargill, the parent company of Shady Brook Farms, told The New York Post, “It is important to note that the overall frozen bird production remains the same compared to previous years though average bird weights are slightly higher for both fresh and frozen birds due processing delays.”
David Anderson, a professor of agriculture economics at Texas A & M University, explained to The New York Post, “Turkey is such a seasonal item, dominated by the Thanksgiving market. We can build up supplies with frozen turkeys for the Thanksgiving market, but fresh turkeys have a tighter schedule. The eggs have to hatch at a certain time.”
One silver lining of not possibly having to get a larger turkey than usual this year? More Thanksgiving turkey leftovers!
Related: Pass the Turkey and Gravy, and Get Ready to Gobble up the 50 Best Thanksgiving Jokes!
Where to buy turkey for Thanksgiving 2021
If you’re looking for where to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving 2021 amid the turkey shortage, fret not. Of course, you can check with your local grocery store, but there are also online options to bag your bird—and even have it cooked to save you hours of defrosting and cooking!
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Goldbelly Turkey Thanksgiving Meal
- The All-Madden Turducken by Gourmet Butcher Block: Made famous by John Madden in 1994, the turducken—a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey—can be yours for $149. Free two-day shipping is available for select states.
- Cajun Feast for 35 by Cajun Ed’s Specialty Meats: Hosting a large group? Get this turducken, turkporken (turkey, chicken and pork) and a honey-glazed ham for $329 and free shipping. You can also get a smaller version that serves 25 for $299 and free shipping, and a petite version that boasts a small turkporken with cornbread stuffing that serves 10 to 12 for $129 and free shipping. Want just turkey? There are plenty of options for that, too!
- Cured and Smoked Turkey by Alewel’s Country Meats: Get a 9.5-lb. turkey that serves 12 to 14 for $84 and free shipping.
- Whole Smoked Holiday Turkey by Bludso’s BBQ: For a smoked turkey that serves eight to 10 people, enjoy this 10- to 12-lb. bird, made with a custom dry rub for $139 and free shipping.
- Smoked Turkey Dinner by Old 300 BBQ: Having a small gathering? This smoked turkey breast dinner serves four to six people and comes with seasoned creamed corn, green beans and dinner rolls for $109 and free shipping.
- Mesquite Smoked Turkey by Davila’s BBQ: Snag a seasoned, slow-smoked turkey complete with a special dry rub spice blend that serves 14 to 16 for $139 and free shipping.
- Cajun Fried Turkey by The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint: Brined, dry-rubbed with Cajun seasoning and deep-fried in peanut oil, this turkey will serve 10 to 12 people for $109 and free shipping. You can also nab a whole smoked turkey for the same price.
- Signature Whole Smoked Turkey by Lockhart Smokehouse: This smoked Texas turkey weighs 10 pounds, serves six to eight people and costs $159.
- Spicy Cajun-Style Turkey Breast by The Cajun Turkey Company: Injected with the family recipe “Geaux Juice” and dry-rubbed with a special seasoning blend, this 4.5-lb. Cajun turkey breast will feed six to eight people for $89 and free shipping. You can also nab a whole turkey.
- Whole Turkey by Schmidt Family BBQ: This nine- to 11-lb. turkey is dry-rubbed, seasoned and smoked to perfection and serves 10 to 12 people for $139 and free shipping. You can also add on sides including pinto beans, jalapeno mac and cheese and more.
- Boneless Pit-Smoked Turkey Breast by Louie Mueller Barbecue: Weighing in at 3.5 to 4.5 lbs., this dry-rubbed, slow-cooked, juicy turkey breast will feed 10 to 12 for $$169 and free shipping.
- Post-Oak Smoked Whole Turkey with Seasoned Giblet Gravy by Micklethwait Craft Meats: This smoked, seasoned turkey is eight to 10 lbs., comes with gravy and will serve eight to 10 for $159 and free shipping.
- Post-Oak Smoked Whole Turkey by Southside Market & Barbeque: Simply heat and eat this 12- to 14-lb. turkey, seasoned and cooked to perfection, to serve 10 to 15 people for $119 and free shipping.
- Kosher Uncooked Free-Range Whole Turkey by Charm City Kosher: Cook this 16-lb. Kosher turkey yourself! It feeds eight to 10 people and you can prepare it just the way you like it. The shop also has eight-pound varieties.
- Uncooked Free Range Turkey by Hinck’s Turkey Farm: Prep this 17- to 19-lb. vegetarian-fed, free-range bad boy to your liking for $139 and free shipping. You can also get a sous vide turkey breast entree.
- Turducken With 3 Dressings by Hebert’s Specialty Meats: This deboned turkey is stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken and comes with three of your choice of dressings (stuffings) to feed 25 people for $189 and free shipping. Smaller turducken options are also available.
- Cajun Style Turkey by Logan Farms: Get a fully-cooked, Cajun-seasoned turkey that will feed eight to 12 people for $89 and free shipping. You can also get a hickory-smoked variety.
- Whole Smoked Turkey Breast by Joe’s Kansas City Barb-B-Que: Having a gathering on the slightly smaller side? This turkey breast serves six to eight and comes with a bottle of the eatery’s signature barbecue sauce for $89.99. You can also get a full turkey dinner!
- Uncooked Free-Range Turkey Breast With Saddle by Chesapeake Bay Gourmet: This free-range turkey breast, $109 with free shipping, weighs in at around eight pounds and is a great option if you don’t want to cook an entire bird. You can also get a full feast with sides that serves 10 to 12.
- Smoked Turkey Breast by Terry’s Black Barbecue: Serve 10 to 12 people with this three- to four-lb. unsliced, smoked turkey breast for $119 and free shipping.
- Uncle Ray’s Fried Turkeys: Get a mild or spicy Cajun deep-fried turkey for $109 and free shipping to serve 10 to 12 people.
Related: 30 Warm and Cozy Turkey Soup Recipes to Use Up That Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey!
Harry and David Thanksgiving Turkey
- Create Your Own Gourmet Turkey Feast: Pick sides, appetizers and dessert to go with your turkey to serve eight to 10 for $239.99.
- Diestel Naturally Smoked Turkey: This 10- to 12-lb. smoked bird is ready to heat and eat for $109.99; two-day shipping is included in the price.
- Smoked Turkey: Ready to heat and eat, this 10-lb. smoked turkey ships in two days (included) and is $99.99.
- Sliced Ham and Turkey Sampler: No cooking, no cutting! Just heat and eat this seasoned, pre-sliced ham and turkey entree, which comes with two-day shipping included in its $89.99 price.
- Gourmet Ham and Turkey Brunch: Get two pounds each of pre-sliced, pre-cooked seasoned ham and turkey, as well as three-cheese scalloped potatoes; an artichoke, mushroom and bacon frittata; and a Wolferman’s apple streusel coffee cake for $179.99.
Rastelli’s Thanksgiving Turkey
- Oven-Ready Turkey Roast: This $59.99 seasoned white-meat turkey roast boasts 24 to 36 servings, so you’ll probably have some scrumptious leftovers.
- Turkey Roulades: Feeling fancy, but don’t want to feel trapped in the kitchen? Turkey roulades, complete with seasonings and apple-cranberry stuffing, does the hard work for you for $39 and serves six to 12.
Related: 15 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
Fossil Farms Thanksgiving Turkey
Fossil Farms offers turkeys in a range of sizes from eight to 28 pounds, all free-range, vegetarian-fed, with no antibiotics, hormones or steroids. Prices range from $50 (whole eight to 10-lb. turkey) to $140 (26-28 lb. turkey).
D’Artagnan Thanksgiving Meal
- Organic Turkey: Starting at $60, D’Artagnan’s organic turkeys are also free-range, non-GMO and fed a vegetarian diet with spring water free of fluoride and chlorine.
- Green Circle Turkey: Starting at $55, D’Artagnan’s green circle turkeys are free-range and free of antibiotics and added growth hormones.
- Heritage Turkey: Free-range Narragansett and Bourbon Red breeds fed non-GMO corn and soy, heritage turkeys start at $159.99.
- Natural Bone-In Turkey Breast: Fed an all-vegetarian gluten-free grain diet of corn and soybeans, this frozen option starts at $56.99.
- Truffle Turkey Breast: Coated in real black truffles, this hormone- and antibiotic-free turkey is a unique option at $54.99.
Next, Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey, Including Brine, Rub & Air Fryer Recipes