With turkey season around the corner, knowing your options and what each of them offers is a very useful piece of information. I love the winter holidays, and I always make the most of them, but in addition to having my loved ones gathered in my house, the food plays a huge role in the evening’s success.
In this article, I will compare Honeysuckle White and Jennie-O turkeys as two of the most common choices for your turkey dinner. Before I get into the details, let me just say that I’ve had them both, and they are super delicious, but I can see why someone would prefer one over the other. So, let’s see what makes Honeysuckle and Jennie-O turkeys each so delightfully unique.
Differences Between Honeysuckle White Turkey and Jennie-O
If there’s one thing to know about these two turkeys is that they both bring Christmas to the table, even if it is in the middle of the summer! So, know that whichever you choose it will be the right choice. Still, the differences between them are important to know as they may influence your decision and help you choose the one that is absolutely perfect for you.
Size and Variations
The greatest thing about Honeysuckle White is that it offers a range of sizes suitable for different family needs. So, whether you are hosting an intimate gathering or a full-blown dinner party, you have a good size selection to choose from.
I’ve had Honeysuckle White for very small dinners, like three or four people, but I’ve also had it for 12 people, so you probably get the point.
Jennie-O is the same as Honeysuckle White in this aspect. It also offers different-sized turkeys suited for smaller and larger gatherings. I’ve served Jennie-O only once, and it was for a larger group of people, but I know these turkeys also come in smaller sizes.
However, be warned that as the holidays get closer, your choice gets narrower. So, if you shop a day in advance, you will likely have to make do with what is left, which is only a fraction of what the brands offer.
Taste and Meat Quality
What is there to say about the taste of two brands of premium organic turkeys? You probably guess that they both taste decadently rich and delicious. And you are right.
They do have their differences, but both are extremely tasty.
Honeysuckle White turkeys are known for their rich and powerful flavor. Of all the turkeys I’ve tried, and there have been many, I find this one to be most suitable for Christmas. It is rich, very flavorful, and goes heavenly with traditional Christmas sides.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have it for Thanksgiving or just for fun outside the turkey season, but if you want a traditional Christmas, that’s the one you should go for. The meat is often described as savory, hearty, and very juicy.
Honeysuckle White turkeys are pre-brined, which is the secret to the succulent texture of the meat. They come to you already tendered, making your job way easier.
Jennie-O turkeys, on the other hand, are milder in taste, which is the main difference between these two turkeys. So, if you gravitate more toward the gentler and softer flavors, it is the best choice for your holiday table.
I need to stress that their mildness does not mean they are bland; they are still flavorful, and the upside is that you can season and flavor them any way you want. I find that Jennie-O turkeys awaken my creative side since they allow for a wide spectrum of flavor experimentation.
If you are a fan of cuisine fusions, you can give your Jennie-O turkey a tropical twist, but if you are more inclined toward the more traditional flavors, you can absolutely deliver that
If you enjoy experimenting with different herbs, spices, and marinades, Jennie-O turkey is the perfect fit for you. On the other hand, if you want the job done for you, you can order a pre-cooked Jennie-O turkey and enjoy the holiday afternoon doing something with your loved ones instead of cooking.
Although the cooking is the best part for me, I, too, sometimes opt for a pre-made turkey, so I know how handy it is to have this option.
The meat is of impeccable quality; it is juicy and succulent, though not as tender as that of Honeysuckle White.
Packaging and Prices
Both Honeysuckle White and Jennie-O have clear, simple, no-fuss, and informative packaging. The turkeys are basically wrapped in the package, so you aren’t getting a box or a tray but a simple turkey wrapped in a packaging wrapper. For me, this type of packaging is the best one because you get to touch and feel what you are buying.
The packaging for both turkeys also contains information about the products, which I find beyond useful since I get to read everything I need to know. This info is incredibly beneficial if you are hosting a dinner party for more people since you’ll know if the turkeys contain something some of your quests can’t have.
I’ve had a guest who couldn’t have brined food, and had I not read that the turkey was pre-brined on the package, my dinner party would have been a disaster!
Price-wise, Honeysuckle white and Jennie-O turkeys are pretty similar. For example, a 25-pound turkey, whether Honeysuckle White or Jennie-O in Walmart, costs about $20 at the time of writing this article. This doesn’t mean that both brands have the same prices everywhere, but they should be very close in pricing.
Treatment of Turkeys and Use of Antibiotics
This is probably where both turkey brands are the most similar, and they both excel in this area. Honeysuckle White and Jennie-O are organic turkey brands known for the quality of the meat they produce.
Jennie-O has its own turkey farms and turkey feed mills to ensure the best possible results regarding the meat quality. They don’t keep the turkeys confined in a cage, but they are free to roam and feed naturally, in addition to the specialized food the brand produces for them.
Since turkeys are mainly carnivorous, Jennie-O makes sure they get what they need from the specialized turkey feed made for them. Jennie-O turkeys aren’t injected with antibiotics, steroids, or any other growth-stimulating substances.
They undergo regular veterinary check-ups and are treated with antibiotics only when that is absolutely necessary.
Honeysuckle white is the same as Jennie-O in this regard. They also have their own farms where the turkeys are free to roam and are fed with the best and most suitable diet, ensuring that the turkeys are healthy and thriving, which reflects on the meat they later produce. You can watch this heart-melting video about one of their farms:
Antibiotics and other chemical substances are a big no-no with Honeysuckle White and are used only when there’s no other way to treat the animals.
Availability In Stores
Jennie-O and Honeysuckle White turkeys are institutions in the turkey-producing world so they are available everywhere in the US, but of course, in different amounts tailored according to the season.
The supply of both ramps up during the holiday season, so let’s say October, November, and December, while they can be scarce during the rest of the year. Again, it depends on the specific area whether or not these turkeys are available year-round.
In general, the larger market chains carry Jennie-O and Honeysuckle White turkeys year-round but in significantly smaller quantities. Still, if you are persistent enough, you can find them.
They are also available on a pre-order basis, so you don’t even have to stroll around the stores, but have them delivered to your doorstep, which for me is a huge plus since I like to have my turkey locked in!
Which Is Better, Honeysuckle White Or Jennie-O Turkey?
Honeysuckle White is more robust with traditional flavor, so if you are a fan of a textbook Christmas, you should definitely go with this brand.
On the other hand, if you prefer to be creative with your food and experiment with different flavors, Jennie-O turkey is the one for you. With its gentle flavor, it is the perfect canvas for you to paint on!
Whether you choose Honeysuckle White or Jennie-O turkey is absolutely up to you. Whichever you choose will deliver a delicious dinner and a festive dining experience. Both brands offer high-quality meat, they are similar in price and availability, and the turkeys are well-fed and antibiotic-free.
I’m curious. Which turkey will you choose? Let me know in the comment section below. 🙂