Home Posts tagged 'Heritage Turkey'

Posts Tagged ‘Heritage Turkey’


Local, Locale & the Evolution Of BN Beef

As climate issues have made it more difficult to produce great grass-fed beef locally, even seasonally, Bill Niman and BN Ranch have modified their approach to grass-fed beef.  Bill has chosen to reach out to his network of like-minded ranchers to seek out the best pastures in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.  Bill has long preached about locale being as important as local – raising the plants and animals best suited to a given locality – and with cattle production being severely challenged by our global climate issues (particularly in drought-stricken California), the need to find quality pasture has become key to offering great grass fed-beef year round.

BN Ranch Bolinas

The herd at BN Ranch in Bolinas

We’ve gotten off to a great start with this year’s BN Ranch grass-fed beef program, and the beef coming from New Zealand has been spectacular.  Raised on grasses similar to those here in Northern California and in a comparable climate, the beef has had terrific flavor and exceptional marbling.  Beginning in July, we will start seeing the transition into BN’s North American beef.  Some strategic changes have been made to this year’s program in order to maintain more consistent marbling throughout the season.  Last year Bill’s team learned that although the lush pastures of the Sacramento Delta provided bountiful grasses to graze on, the intense summer heat greatly reduced the amount of grass consumed by the steer, resulting in less marbled beef during August and September.  In the same way Bill extended his network into New Zealand to provide us with great grass-fed beef during our winter months, he has also reached out to his peers in Alberta, Canada to secure cattle that will be grazing on equally lush pastures but in a much more temperate climate.

Bill Niman explaining his grass-fed beef program

Bill Niman explaining his grass-fed beef program

In preparation for the launch of this year’s North American beef, we spent a few hours last week with Bill Niman on his ranch in Bolinas.  We toured his pasture, met the cows, and got the low down on what makes his grass-fed beef so special. We also checked in on his heritage turkey flock, which will be laying the eggs for all our heritage turkeys.

While we walked out to the pasture where the herd of Black Angus was grazing, Bill gave us a quick primer on the grasses that make up the diet of the herd (including rye and clover).  He spoke at length about how he rotates pastures to optimize the nutrition from the grass, allowing the cattle to efficiently put on mass.  When we were about 150 yards away from the herd, Bill gave them a yell and a whistle and about 45 calves and their mothers ambled over to gather around us.  It was striking how calm and curious his animals were; in all my other experiences cattle rarely let a stranger invade their space, let alone a dozen strangers eager to befriend them.

Bill takes a Zen approach to raising his beef – he believes that keeping animals calm and living harmoniously with their environment greatly improves the quality of their meat.  If the flavor, marbling, and that ocean view are any indication, we have a lot to look forward to this summer.

BN Ranch Bolinas

Chef Guy making new friends

Welcoming Thanksgiving: Our Guide to a Perfect Celebration

Thanksgiving is upon us! I love this time of year for the celebrations and wonderful food. From gorgeous seasonal produce, to amazing roasts and turkeys (including, of course, unforgettable heritage turkeys from BN Ranch), to ready-to-eat foods and complete dinner kits prepared in our Kitchens by our talented Chefs, we’re here to help reduce the stress of your holiday. I invite you to peruse our 2014 Thanksgiving Guide to see everything our Buyers and Chefs have created for you; you can view it online below, or pick up a printed copy at either Bi-Rite Market.

Partnering with Instacart is another way we can make your Thanksgiving more convenient. You can now pre-order your holiday meals for pickup at either Bi-Rite Market location from our special online Holiday Market. Simply choose Bi-Rite at 3639 18th Street or 550 Divisadero Street as your pick-up location, and you’re all set.

As always, we’re here to help make your Thanksgiving entertaining a success. Come in and chat with us, or call us with any questions. We look forward to seeing you. Happy Holidays to All!


Bi-Rite Tips for Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

TurkeyThe big day is almost here! I’ve been working with the best producers in California to bring my favorite heritage, organic, and free-range turkeys to our markets. But just as important as selecting a great sustainably-raised turkey is cooking it to perfection. So here’s a quick guide to help make the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal unforgettable. Keep reading for tips, recipes, and a printable .pdf guide to keep on hand in the kitchen.

If you haven’t reserved your turkey yet, we still have a wonderful selection available from BN Ranch, Diestel, and Mary’s available for pre-order here.

Bill Niman‘s BN Ranch heritage turkeys are the closest you can come to what the Pilgrims ate at Thanksgiving. Their vegetarian diet is free of growth promotants, antibiotics, and corn, which produces rich, flavorful dark meat. The turkeys are truly free-range, and are able to graze and forage on their own. Their body composition is different than conventional turkeys, so they require a different approach to cooking to ensure that their larger legs and smaller breasts cook evenly.

Tips for Roasting Heritage Turkeys:

  • We do NOT recommend that Heritage turkeys be brined. This ensures better texture, and maintains the naturally intense  flavor of these special birds.
  • Let the turkey come to room temperature before roasting.
  • Heritage birds typically have a humped breast bone, and the bird will be somewhat leaner than a conventional turkey, with darker meat. Because of their unique breast-to-leg ratio, the breast will reach doneness long before the legs and thighs. There are two ways to address this: Either roast the bird whole until the breasts are done, and then finish cooking the legs separately, or remove and braise just the legs and roast the rest of the turkey whole.
  • Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes prior to slicing. This ensures evenly juicy meat.

Recipe for Whole Roast Heritage Turkey:
Courtesy of Chef Dan Barber of Stone Barns and Blue Hill, NY


BN Ranch Heritage Turkey
Salt and Pepper

  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  • Let turkey come to room temperature. Carefully separate skin from the breast meat and rub softened butter on to breast. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Set the turkey, breast side up, on the rack of a large roasting pan. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast for 20 minutes.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cover turkey loosely with tin foil. Roast until the thermometer inserted into the inner thigh registers 150 degrees (2 to 3 hours, depending on turkey size).
  • Transfer turkey to cutting board. Let stand for at least 45 minutes to cool down. Remove legs and thighs, careful to not take too much skin with you.
  • Place thighs, skin side, on a roasting pan and continue cooking 40-45 minutes or until juices run clear. Separately slice breast and thigh and plate while still warm.

Recipe for Traditional Broad-Breasted Turkey:

After removing neck and giblets from the body cavity, rinse the bird with cold water. Pat cavities and body dry with a paper towel. Rub body and neck cavities with salt if desired, and stuff loosely. Truss neck cavity with metal skewer and truss legs. To remove the truss just lift the ring and pull it up and over the end of the drumstick. To secure the truss, hold the drumsticks together, lift the ring and pull it over the drumsticks.

Spread exterior of turkey with a blend of your favorite herbs and spices or with a paste made of the following ingredients:

4 Tbsp oil (melted butter or olive oil)
4 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 tsp. paprika

  • Heat oven to 325º F. Place bird in open pan, breast side up. Pour two 8 ounce cups of water in bottom of pan. Place in oven. If roasting turkey unstuffed then decrease roasting time by approximately 30 minutes. There is no need to turn the bird while roasting as it will brown to a rich, golden color. However, a piece of foil should be placed loosely over the breast for the last hour of roasting.
  • Take the temperature by inserting a meat thermometer in the thigh joint, where the leg connects to the breast; the turkey is done when it reads 155-160°. When done, the thickest part of the drumstick will feel soft. Remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Weight    Approximate        Time to Start
(lbs)      Roasting Time     Checking Temperature

6-10 lbs.      approx. 2 hrs.         1 ½ hrs.
10-12 lbs      3 – 3 ¼ hrs.            2 ½ hrs.
12-14 lbs.     3 ¼  – 3 ½  hrs.     2 ½ hrs.
14-16 lbs.     3 ½  – 3 ¾  hrs.     2 ¾ hrs.
16-18 lbs.     3 ¾  – 4 hrs.            3 hrs.
18-20 lbs.     4 – 4 ½  hrs.           3 ¼ hrs.
20-22 lbs.     4 ½  – 5 hrs.           3 ¾ hrs.
22-24 lbs.     5 – 5 ½  hrs.           4 hrs.
24-26 lbs.     5 ½  – 5 ¾  hrs.    4 ¾ hrs.

If you have any questions or need additional tips, you can always call us or stop in and talk to a butcher, and we’ll be happy to help. Happy Thanksgiving!

ThanksgivingScapePrintable Guide- page 1 (pdf)

Printable Guide- page 2 (pdf)