Other FAQs

Which is best, a refrigerated or a frozen turkey?
Most people will not be able to notice any difference in flavor or quality. However, refrigerated turkeys may be more convenient since they do not require thawing. For more information go to Selecting A Turkey. Whether frozen or refrigerated, all Norbest turkeys are Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Confused about the terms “Fresh”, “Frozen”, and “Refrigerated”? Go to “Fresh” Regulations for facts about USDA regulations and how Norbest relates to them.


How do I determine when my turkey was processed?
You can determine when your turkey was processed by establishing when the Julian date is.  The Julian date can be found on your turkey’s weight tag.  Please see information below on how you can find your turkey’s Julian date.


How long will a turkey keep in the freezer?
For the best flavor and quality, a turkey will keep easily for one year in the freezer. However, a turkey will stay safe and wholesome for much longer – several years if held at 0ºF or lower.

A frozen turkey, once thawed, must be used within seven days of thawing. Keep it cold in the refrigerator until ready to roast.

If you would like to know the exact production date of your product and have the manufacture tag available, feel free to contact us – we would be happy to verify the date for you.



How long will a refrigerated turkey keep in the refrigerator?
You should roast your refrigerated turkey by the “use by” date found on the weight tag or weight sticker. If you don’t plan to use it that soon you should freeze it immediately, then thaw and roast it later.


Can I refreeze a thawed turkey?
Don’t refreeze a previously frozen turkey.

You should roast it within seven days of thawing. Keep it cold in the refrigerator until ready to roast.



What is the best way to safely thaw a frozen turkey? How long will it take?
The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is on a tray in the refrigerator. It takes about 2-3 days. There are faster options – go to How To Thaw A
Frozen Turkey

A previously frozen turkey must be used within seven days of thawing. Keep it cold in the refrigerator until ready to roast.



Why does my refrigerated turkey appear to be frozen?
Norbest refrigerated turkeys are quick chilled immediately after processing to seal in their peak flavor and freshness. The firmness that you notice on the surface of your turkey is your assurance that it was rushed to your supermarket in its most wholesome condition.



How large of a turkey does my family need?
As a general rule, plan on about 3/4 to one pound (raw weight) per person.  For more details, go to How To Select A Turkey.



What do you baste your turkeys with?
Our Norbest raw whole turkeys basting solution consists of natural turkey broth, a small amount of salt for flavor, sodium phosphate to help maintain juiciness, and natural flavorings to bring out the best turkey flavor. We add no fats, oils, sugar, and no MSG, or trans fat. There is no HVP or ingredients containing MSG. Our natural flavorings are simply extracts of common household spices (oleoresin red and black pepper). Also, our turkeys contain no gluten or gluten-derivatives from wheat, oats, barley, or rye. There is no soy in our raw turkeys.  Please note that our Norbest Oven Roasted cooked whole turkeys do contain hydrolyzed soy protein.  There are no corn derivatives in our raw or pre-cooked turkeys.  We also offer non-basted turkeys under the brand name Norbest ”Family Tradition®”.


Do your products contain any allergens?
Please see our Norbest Ingredient Information for People with Food Allergies & Sensitivities for information regarding allergens.


I am gluten-intolerant. Are your products gluten-free?
We are very aware of gluten intolerance in the form of celiac sprue disease. All of our turkey products are completely free of gluten from wheat, barley, rye, oats, or their derivatives.



I am allergic to dairy proteins. Do your products include any?
All Norbest products are free of dairy proteins.
We also sell non-basted, all-natural turkeys without any added ingredients under the brand name Norbest Family Tradition.


Are your turkeys certified Halal or Kosher?
Occasionally we fill special orders for Halal whole turkeys or other Halal turkey products. These are slaughtered and processed following Halal requirements under the supervision and with the involvement of an authorized Muslim cleric. These Halal products are identified with a green and white sticker on the weight tag of the whole bird or on the side of the package of further processed items. This sticker clearly identifies it as a certified Halal product. If the Halal sticker is not present then the item is not Halal certified.

We are not producing any certified Kosher products at the present time.



Are your turkeys fed steroids and hormones to make them grow faster?
Absolutely not! Our turkeys are fed wholesome grains and feeds including vitamins and minerals. No steroids or hormones are ever fed to any Norbest turkeys.



The Norbest turkey I purchased has a plastic leg clamp on it. Will it melt in the oven when I roast it?
No! It is made from ovenable plastic that will not melt or otherwise affect the quality of your turkey.



Is it OK to stuff the turkey the night before I roast it?
No! Harmful bacteria may grow in the stuffing overnight. If you want to stuff your turkey it should be done immediately prior to roasting.



Is it true that the best way to keep turkey juicy is to cook it slowly at a low temperature?
No! You should always roast your turkey at 325 degrees F. Harmful bacteria may grow in the turkey at lower temperatures. Higher temperatures may cause the turkey to be tough and dry. If you are very concerned about juiciness you might try using an oven cooking bag to retain the juices.



Is it OK to roast the turkey a day or two in advance and keep it in the refrigerator?
Cooking a turkey a day or two ahead of the big meal is fine, but only if it is carved immediately after cooking and the sliced meat is properly refrigerated. A cooked turkey is too big and too dense to cool down quickly and efficiently in a home refrigerator. You should cook the bird thoroughly, allow it to sit 20 minutes, then carve it. Store the sliced meat in shallow containers in your refrigerator. You can reheat the slices in a conventional oven or microwave to a steaming hot 160 degrees F.



Is it OK to leave the leftover turkey out on the table for people to snack on?
Not for very long. To be safe, you should debone the turkey and refrigerate the turkey leftovers in shallow containers within two hours of cooking.



There was a power outage in our home. Is the turkey in our freezer still good?
It can be hard to tell in some situations. If the turkey has remained cold throughout the power outage (cold to the touch, ice crystals in the body cavity) it is likely your turkey is OK. However, if you wish to be better safe than sorry, follow the old maxim “If in doubt throw it out!”



Last year my turkey turned out very tough and dry. What can I do this year to make sure my turkey is juicy and tender?
Toughness and dryness are most commonly the result of overcooking.

First, choose a self-basting Norbest Tender-Timed® Young Turkey. The basting solution is added deep inside to keep the turkey moist and tender.

Second, do not overcook.

Third, let the turkey sit for about 20 minutes after you pull it from the oven and before you carve it. This will not only make it more tender and juicy, but will make it easier to slice.

Another recommendation is to use an oven-roasting bag. This not only leaves the turkey more moist and tender, but shortens cooking times and makes clean-up a lot easier. Refer to Cooking Perfect Turkey for more information.


How do I determine when my turkey was processed?

You can determine when your turkey was processed by establishing when the Julian date is.  The Julian date can be found on your turkey’s weight tag.  Please see the information below on how you can find your turkey’s Julian date.

Plant Code:  Indicates which plant your turkey came from.
Flock Number:  Plant use only.
Julian Date:  3-digit day of the year.  For example, 136 would indicate the turkey was processed on the 136th day of the year.
Year:  1-digit number that indicates the year.  For example, 8 would represent 2008.
Batch Number:  Plant use only.

Click Here for a Julian Date calendar to find out when your Norbest turkey was processed!



I’ve heard that the best way to cook a turkey is breast side down. Is this true?
No. We recommend cooking the turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. This allows more uniform cooking and allows the skin to turn a nice golden brown.



How long can turkey leftovers be stored?
Leftover turkey meat should be carved from the bones within two hours of roasting, then refrigerated in shallow containers. If kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator, turkey leftovers may be used up to 4 days after storing. Cooked turkey may be kept frozen for up to a month when wrapped in heavy foil or stored in freezer bags. For more information go to Storing Turkey Leftovers.


Should I brine my turkey?
After many years in the turkey industry and numerous tests and trials, we believe that we have created the best possible solution to pre-baste your turkey with.  Brining is a method that is used in larger, poorly marbled red meats.  Although it is somewhat effective in poultry, we don’t feel that this method would greatly benefit your Norbest turkey.  However, if you choose to use the brine method on your Norbest turkey and get great results, please let us know.  It may result in a different recommendation next season!


How do I cook two breasts together?
We would suggest cooking the breasts for the complete time of one breast and half the time of the second.  After you have reached the cook time for one breast, watch your oven carefully for doneness.  You can determine if the breasts are done when a meat thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the breast and reads 170°F.


Do Norbest turkeys contain tryptophan? 
Like many proteins, turkey contains the essential amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is used to produce the B-vitamin, niacin, which is used to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that exerts a calming effect and regulates sleep. Although turkey does contain high levels of tryptophan, there are other protein foods that contain a larger amount of tryptophan such as swiss cheese and roast pork.

While turkey often receives the blame for making people sleepy after the Thanksgiving feast, it is actually a carbohydrate-rich (not protein-rich) meal that increases the level of tryptophan and this leads to serotonin synthesis.


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