Willie Bird Brined Turkey & A Fast Food Gal Giveaway

How'd you like to sit down to this magnificent turkey for Thanksgiving? (Photo courtesy of Williams-Sonoma)

Love the juiciness of a brined turkey for Thanksgiving, but at a loss as to where to store a big bird in gallons of salted water overnight?

Wonder no more.

Sonoma’s Willie Bird has done the work for you. That family farm now offers a free-range turkey that’s already brined in rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic and salt. It is shipped fresh and vacuum sealed.

Exclusive to Williams-Sonoma, the already brined turkey is available in five sizes: from 12-14 pounds on up to 24-26 pounds. Prices range from $90 for the smallest to $175 for the largest.

Normally, I brine the turkey in a cooler on wheels filled with ice water that I park to the side of my kitchen overnight. So, I’m quite intrigued about a turkey that allows me to bypass that step.

Although, I won’t get to try mine until Thanksgiving week, reviews on the William-Sonoma Web site already tout the bird. Of the 45 customer reviews online, the majority rave about the brined bird. A couple folks complained the turkey tasted too much of garlic, another was disappointed not to receive the giblets with the turkey, and a few said the high price was not worth it.

Want to try one for yourself? Here’s your chance…

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a Willie Bird Fresh Pre-Brined Turkey from Williams-Sonoma. The turkey, 12-14 pounds (serves 9 to 11), is valued at $90.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted only through 7 p.m. PST Nov. 13. Winner will be announced Nov. 14. This is a quick contest because the turkeys must be ordered by noon PST Nov. 16 in time for Thanksgiving delivery.

How to win?

Just tell me what you most like to “gobble up” on Thanksgiving. Most memorable answer wins the turkey.

Here’s my own response:

“I admit I go to town on seconds or sometimes even thirds on Thanksgiving. But more than the food, what I gobble up is the company. In this harried world, where we’re so used to gulping our food or multi-tasking even while we eat, it’s just so nice to sit down formally with close friends and family to enjoy a leisurely meal that’s been prepared with love, attention and thoughtfulness. Nowadays, I often find that time races by. But on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that the clock somehow manages to slow down enough so we can all focus solely on laughing, conversing and reminiscing in a home warmed through from hours of delicious cooking.”

Winners of Last Week’s Contest: In the previous Food Gal contest, I asked you tell me what you wish there was a starter kit for in life. Best five entries win a trio of Pacific Organic Soup Starters.

The winners will enjoy: Tom Yum, Tortilla, and Vegetarian Pho soup bases. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Congrats to:

1) Natalie, who wrote, “I wish there were a starter kit as to how to deal with a quarter life crisis. This sounds a bit odd (and possibly obnoxious to non-quarter life crisis members), as most people would give an arm and a leg to be 25 again, but that awkward, anxious time nestled in between adolescence and adulthood can be pretty darn terrifying. Anxieties range from paying back student loans, finding a job (to pay off student loans), finding your own place, finding yourself, finding a mate, deciding whether to have children, finding the career that suits you the best (monetarily and spiritually fulfilling), and just figuring everything out (vague, but there is no better way to explain it). Though all these things terrify me to the max, at least I am confident in one thing in my 25 years of living– no matter what, just be yourself and engulf yourself in all that you are passionate about. Oh and one other thing, soup is a very, very good thing.”

2) Teresa, who wrote, “I wish there was a starter kit for dealing with the loss of a loved one. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my grandparents. I was blessed to have a grandmother who was a fantastic cook. My sister and I are both excellent cooks and still make some of her favorites (like mac and cheese). I would love to have one more day of cooking with her and my sister, all together. We don’t realize how much they mean to us until they’re gone.”

3) Derrick, who wrote, “I wish there was a starter kit for cultural engagement. One that helps you understand the great melting pot we have in America, and how to eat, interact, and be respectful to each person.”

4) Edwin Chua, who wrote, “I wish there was a starter kit for teaching an elderly person to use technology(i.e., computers, cell phones, tablets, programming DVR, etc…) Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing it! I really don’t! But it really can be quite frustrating at times! lol Something as simple as checking a voicemail message or sending a text can be quite the adventure! Computers are the ultimate though! Seriously JAVA, must you have to have an update almost daily? I mean c’mon!(Cause you know my Mom calls me every time to take a look!) To be fair, I must say that after a few times, my parents retain it pretty well and for the most part are self sufficient though—Emphasis on For the most part!”

5) Nancy, who wrote, “How about a starter kit for retirement–Medicare A,B,D, health care options, pensions, annuities, etc. Psychological symptoms of “postworkpartum” depression, anxiety due to reduced income. Ways to keep busy, volunteer work, ways to add a little income. There are a large number of Baby Boomers facing these issues now along with the issue of being in the “Sandwich” generation — taking care of adult children and elderly parents at the same time as we’re starting retirement. It’s a daunting situation in which to be. We could use a starter kit.”

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  • I too truly like to gobble up the family time on Thanksgiving. From the craziness that 10 people in one tiny kitchen causes, to the hysterical and somewhat inappropriate games of charades and taboo, to the very competitive football game going on in the backyard and the multiple mimosas and hot toddys, it is a very special day. For us, its never about if the meal turns out perfect, its never about eating right on time or have a fancy dining table. It’s about our crazy family spending a wonderful day together. And for some unknown reason, we all seem to get along on this special day and everyone has a great time. Since I live in Northern California and the rest of my family is spread throughout the west coast, it is rare that we get to all be together, but we always make time to be together on this day and we always like to GOBBLE IT UP!

    This turkey would give us more time to gobble up each other’s company and less time worrying about the turkey!

  • When I was growing up in Georgia, Thanksgiving was a huge affair. I had to go to two dinners, one for my mom’s family, one for my dads. My dad’s side, generally 20 of us, my mom’s, 15.
    Now, living in Central California, and the majority of family in GA is gone, it’s pretty small and quiet. Four to eight people at the most. And since I work in the food business, it’s really hard to find the time to spend with family around the holidays. This year, I’m making dinner at my house since I somehow lucked out and don’t have to work Thanksgiving day. I’ll get to actually have dinner with my family, and not just talk to my mom on the phone and have leftover turkey from my job. So, I’ll get to gobble up my family time, along with my favorite Southern Cornbread Dressing, (and maybe a free turkey 🙂 ).

  • I am kind of sad that I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in France. Our last Thanksgiving was 24 years ago when my husband was new and had never been to the US before and our son was 6 months old and we joined my mom, brothers, grandma all at my sister’s house. But every year I make my brother’s orange cranberry relish which is just perfect and which he taught me to make. I gobble it all week with roasted chicken and on chicken sandwiches. It helps keep my brother’s spirit alive and me closer to him wherever he is.

  • i love all the traditional thanksgiving foods, but my favorite part to gobble up (besides dessert) is the laughter of everyone around the table. it seems like we can sit for hours around the table talking about past thanksgivings and what seem like past lives and laugh until we cry. spending those few hours reconnecting to friends and family refreshes me for another year.

  • I always enjoying gobbling up the story telling. The amazing and inspiring stories my grand parents and uncles always tell, have the entire family sitting at the table for hours! We spend most of the time laughing our butts off, and some of the time marveling in the true beauty of what my grand parents have gone through immigrating to America with my mom in stowe as a tiny child. It always seems as if there is at least one or two stories we have never heard – you would think after all these years we had heard it all. And believe me most of the funny ones we have heard OVER and OVER, but they never get old. Sometimes my grandfather even adds hysterical twists to them that have us rolling on the floor laughing, as he claims he never changes his stories. It is one of the very few times of the year that we take the time to just sit with each other for hours on end and are not worried about work and all that we have to do and our busy lives. Just gobbling up each others company.

  • Every Thanksgiving, my memories always take me back to my childhood and how we gathered around the dining table to help my mom get the bread ready for the stuffing. She would buy Kilpatricks bread early in the week and let it stale a little in order for the bread to be easy to crumble in our hands. That’s right, we would tear pieces of bread off and gently sift it through our hands so that the bread would become very fine crumbs… cups and cups of fine breadcrumbs. This process would take at least an hour or more, but it went by quickly. At that time, I didn’t even know that stuffing came in cubes and that you could actually purchase it at the grocery store! My mom passed away in 1984 of breast cancer, and although her stuffing was my all time favorite stuffing, I never felt compelled to make it again as it just wouldn’t be the same. I continue to treasure that memory every Thanksgiving and only wish she were here now so that I could give her the best food processor in the world. She would be amazed at how fast bread crumbs could be made now, and I think we would laugh together and say “remember when….”?

  • I won’t be here during Thanksgiving so I won’t enter the giveaway yet I just wanted to say this WS turkey sounds wonderful! I’d love to try especially it has such a nice review. I’m curious!! I hope you do a review in case I can grab it next holiday!

  • I most like to gobble up stuffing. My mom always made the best and I’d watch her make it in a gigantic bowl or sometimes even the turkey roasting pan the night before Thanksgiving. She’s always let me be the taste tester to make sure she got the seasonings right and the ratio of celery and onion correct in comparison with the stuffing cubes. I still remember sitting in the kitchen watching her melt butter, chop the vegetables, heat the broth, tear open the packet of seasoning and stuffing cubes and then watching her work her magic with it all, sprinkling on additional poultry seasoning and then serving me up a small bowl of it. I don’t think she really needed a taste tester, but it was her way of including me in the ritual of making it without me actually getting under foot. Now I make the same stuffing for my own family and every year I think back to the Thanksgivings I spent with my mom.

  • I’m dying to make a turkey and we don’t even really do Thanksgiving but that one looks divine! 🙂

  • What a great giveaway! Unfortunately, I can’t enter (as I live in Canada) but good luck to the others. This would be an amazing gift to win!

  • What I like to gobble up the most during the acceptably gluttonous, yet family strengthening holiday of Thanksgiving is my mother’s blissful enthusiasm for cooking her epic dishes. My mother was born and raised in Santiago Chile until her 30’s, so the concept of Thanksgiving was never (well, ever) particularly prominent in her home. However, every Sunday, the whole family (aunts, cousins, grandparents, and all), would cook all morning and eat all day long. This came hand in hand with telling wonderful, yet slightly inappropriate stories around the table, laughing until people literally peed their pants, and just basking in this very real sense of love and family togetherness. My grandfather would attempt to sing opera arias (in between guzzling down merlot and stuffing his face with mussels, abalone, pastel de choclo, and freshly baked bread), all the while being cheered on by his slightly tipsy, yet always encouraging family. I never got to meet my grandfather, but I feel that my mother definitely embodies his gusto for life, food, and family. This is why I believe Thanksgiving is by far, her favorite “American” holiday. She loves entertaining, she loves making people happy, and she loves cooking. But most importantly, she loves her family. If food is the ultimate connector, then so be it. I strive to one day be even a fraction of the cook and person she is. Even with all the struggles she has been through, such as converting to a new religion to appease my father’s rigid mother in order to marry, moving to a new country knowing not a lick of English, and becoming a housekeeper to add to the family income, all the while after having a stroke, she finds not only the time, but the enthusiasm and sheer joy to prepare a wonderful meal for her family. I would very much like to let her have a break, as she more than deserves it. Perhaps I can start with preparing this delicious specimen of a turkey and letting her kick back, sing some arias, and bask in the wonderful world that she has worked so hard to create and preserve.

  • Every Thanksgiving I like to gobble up the true spirit and love of my grandchildren. Spending the holidays with my grandchildren brings so much joy, as we watch their eyes grow like the size of grapefruits when they see the ginormous turkey come out of the oven…or better yet when they stand directly in front of the oven watching as the marshmallows on top of the candied yams get larger and larger, making the gooey crispy top that they will be sure to get all over their cheeks later. It brings me so much joy to watch them grow and truly enjoy these holidays. From being the chosen one to scatter the mini marshmallows on the candied yams before going in the oven, or the one who is lucky enough to end up with the bigger end of the wishbone, you can tell they are truly making memories that will last a lifetime. I try to spend every holiday with them, as every holiday is so magical with children around and we all know they don’t stay young forever!

    We always go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for and I gobble that up too. It is rare that you get the WHOLE family around the table to talk about how much they love each other and how thankful they are for eachother. This holiday is truly a meaningful one!

  • I like to gobble up the traditions! When my kids were young we always had thanksgiving at our house, with aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins…the whole shabang! We LOVED entertaining and bringing the family together and developed many, many traditions over the years. Such as writing down something you are thankful for on a piece of paper and then we would close them up to no one could see and bake them in our dinner rolls. At thanksgiving each person cracked open their roll and read the little piece of paper that was inside, and then we guessed who’s each person’s was! We also always played a game of charades right after thanksgiving and the team that lost had to do the dishes! Haha…well the other team usually ended up helping anyways, but we got some serious competition going that was always quite fun and kept a tournament going year after year.

    Now that I am older, I go to my sons house for thanksgiving and I watch him do the same traditions with his children and family. It warms my heart to the core to watch the many traditions be passed on and to know that they may stay in our family for years and years. These traditions have made so many wonderful memories and are continuing to make them each and every thanksgiving.

  • Every year I remark upon the fact that it takes hours to make the meal yet minutes to gobble it up. But the hours in the kitchen are always the most memorable part for me. What is it about a kitchen? It is as if all those magnets on the refrigerator actually attract people.

    We live in Washington DC so our kitchen isn’t exactly huge. And while it may be crowded, I always look forward to everyone milling about, drinking wine, making stuffing (usually two kinds), laughing, joking, and feeling at home.

    And all the while my puppy patiently waits for a turkey leg bone. Can you blame her? It smells delicious in that kitchen!

  • During Thanksgiving I always like to enjoy and “gobble up” the bonding time of the entire weekend. For us, thanksgiving is not just one day, but rather a weekend affair. Since my family doesn’t often get to even get together every Thanksgiving, when we do get together it is epic!

    We’ll spend Thanksgiving morning sipping mimosas and watching the Macy’s parade, nibbling on breakfast pastries my aunt always made and playing some football. The rest of the afternoon is spent preparing the final items for the Thanksgiving dinner and all of us stuffed in the kitchen. We spend Thanksgiving dinner laughing, enjoying great food and playing games.

    But the festivities don’t stop there, we spend the entire weekend together, driving down to the coast, shopping on black Friday, golfing or just simply watching movies. The Sunday of thanksgiving weekend before every flys home to return to the normal life we visit the farmers market and go out to a nice big brunch.

    It is more than a special day to us, but a special weekend where we truly devote the whole weekend to each other and the whole family. It is such a rarity that this happens that I have to gobble it up while I can!

  • Anticipation! Planning, shopping, cleaning, gathering, cooking, eating, laughing, delighting in chaos, remembering, thankfulness, eating more, laughing more,cleaning, sleeping! What a joy to unite past traditions and new ones! What a blessing to add new family! This year I plan to integrate homemade cheeses into the menu. I hope everyone will enjoy gobbling up this new tradition as much as I will.

  • Thanksgiving wasn’t a very traditional holiday for me growing up- I spent it at different friends, family, and even resturants and I’ve throughly enjoyed making it my most favourite holiday with my own family. I love to cook and this holiday allows me to share my passion with those I love. I know when my kids leave our home for their adulthood adventures that they’ll remember with fondness and would be entice to visit every Thanksgiving. We enjoy eating- gobbling- and talking with one another and desserts while playing board games. It is the one holiday my husband request to have off and I look forward to his vacation week around Thanksgiving every year especially since he works most holidays.

  • Sorry I missed the giveaway! We’ll be brining our 15 pounder on Wednesday, but to be honest, I think my husband enjoys it. The bird is his thing. He brines it, then smokes it on the grill. It turns out SO good! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my dear!

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