HoneyBaked turkeys are often a part of my turkey dinners, whether for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or when I just want to do a festive gathering for no reason. In addition to them being delicious, Honeybaked turkeys are a time-saving option and a way to make a delicious meal without slaving in the kitchen all day. The best thing about these is that there isn’t only one, but three delicious options you can choose from. So, which is the best choice, Cajun, Smoked, or Roasted HoneyBaked Turkey?
HoneyBaked Cajun Turkey is rubbed with Cajun seasoning and is perfect for those who prefer spicy notes. Smoked Turkey is juicy and tender, with a hint of smoke, and the Roasted one is a traditional and classic-flavored turkey, ideal for a wholesome family meal.
I’ve had all three HoneyBaked turkey options on multiple occasions, and they are all delicious. Still, there are differences between them, and if you aren’t well-informed, you may make the wrong decision due to not knowing which works best for you. So, to help you get the best turkey option for your dinner party, this article will tell you all about all three of these.
Cajun vs. Smoked vs. Roasted HoneyBaked Turkey: Differences
Before I go into explaining the differences between these three types of HoneyBaked turkeys, let’s briefly go over the similarities. The three fall under the same category, “whole turkey,” which means whichever you choose, you will get a whole bird.
Their sizes are the same, i.e., 11-13 lbs, and they cost the same, i.e., $79.99. So, if you are worried about things such as size and price, you can relax because there is no difference.
Another thing they have in common is the cooking method. All three types of turkeys cook the same, and you don’t need to be a master chef to prepare them.
Now, take a look below and see what makes each of these turkeys unique to figure out which one is the best option for your dinner.
Taste and Spices
The one difference that is decisive for the consumer regarding these three turkey options is the flavor. So, if there is anything you take away from this article, it should be that.
The HoneyBaked Cajun is seasoned with Cajun seasoning, which means its favor is pretty much out there. If you are a fan of the traditional, classic, and familiar flavors, this turkey may not be for you as it brings a bold and spicy kick.
The seasoning mixture typically includes a blend of paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion, and other aromatic spices. This turkey is pretty intense, with several pronounced flavors and a pungent smell. I like it for its vibrancy and because it brings a non-traditional dimension to a traditional setting.
It also pairs well with sides that aren’t common turkey pairs, which gives me room to experiment and try out new things.
The Smoked variety is a whole story. Smoking imparts a smoky, woodsy flavor to the turkey, enhancing its natural juiciness and tenderness. So, you will end up with a mix of traditional turkey flavors, juicy meat, and a smoky sensation.
Smoked HoneyBaked is closer to the classic turkey flavor, with a side of smokiness, so it goes with the regular turkey sides, but it also leaves room for innovation. This is great for those who want to experience something new but quickly retreat to the safety of the known and familiar.
Roasted Turkey is a classic-flavored turkey and an ideal choice for those who are after the textbook turkey flavor, garnished, of course, with the unmistakable HoneyBaked juiciness.
This turkey variety is very natural-tasting, where the roasting further accentuates the natural flavors and juices of the meat. Lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs, this turkey perfectly delivers the wholesome holiday flavor. It allows space to experiment with the sides, but personally, it pulls me toward the traditional sides.
Essentially, all three options will turn out delicious with whatever you serve alongside. Still, since they are differently flavored, there are sides that bring out the best in them.
Cajun Turkey is perfect for spice lovers and culinary innovators. I usually serve it with sides like cornbread, leafy greens, and Cajun-spiced roasted vegetables. It also pairs great with Cajun cauliflower rice, steamed veggies such as broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, spinach salad, and even fermented veggies.
The smoked variety does best when the smokiness is further emphasized by pairing the turkey with grilled or smoked vegetables. Roasted potatoes with bacon and cheese are also a great side. Stuffed and grilled mushrooms are another great idea, as well as fresh green salad and grilled cottage bread.
The roasted variety works best with the old classics. I suggest you go with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.
What They Taste Like When Cooled Down
When cooled, the Cajun seasoning’s spiciness tends to be slightly mellow, which means that the rest of the flavors will be more pronounced. The overall flavor becomes less spicy, allowing the savory notes to take the main role.
As Smoked HoneyBaked Turkey cools down, the smoky notes become even more prominent and deeper. It tastes similar to cured or smoked meat, which makes it a great way to enrich a charcuterie board with a delicious cold cut that retains its bold and distinctive flavors.
When cooled down, the roasted version remains pretty much the same, only less juicy. This type of turkey is best for leftover turkey sandwiches or pasta dishes.
Which One to Choose: Cajun, Smoked, or Roasted?
This decision depends on which flavor you want and prefer. There is no right or wrong choice, and all three options offer a lot of flavor and enjoyment.
You can also consult with your guests about their preferences and choose accordingly. When I am in the mood for something more traditional, I choose the roasted Honeybaked turkey, but when I feel more creative, I go with the Cajun. The roasted variety comes into play when I want to try out both traditional and innovative combos.
How do you choose between all these HoneyBaked options? I would love to read about it in the comments below!