A registered trademark since 1940, “Butterball” came into wide use in the 60s by Swift & Company and the brand was eventually spun to ConAgra. Today the line of fresh and frozen turkeys and a host of turkey derived products is owned by Kansas based Seaboard Corporation, a diversified multinational, that also operates other food companies like Prairie Fresh pork products, heat and eat pork products featuring Sweet Baby Ray’s sauces, and Daily’s processed pork products, like bacon, hams, and sausage. Vertically integrated in the pork business, Seaboard owns their own kill plants, processing 19,000 hogs daily at their Guymon, OK location.
Today Butterball, based in North Carolina, sells over a billion pounds of turkey annually, which includes the processed products, like hot dogs, sausage, cold cuts, bacon, and ground turkey. (Do you realize that a billion pounds translates roughly into 66 million turkey legs? Who knew there was enough Renaissance Fairs to handle all that product?)
One such product is a heat and eat meal, “Everyday Chef Selects” Turkey Breast and Gravy. This 15 ounce package can be heated as a boiling bag or 5-6 minutes in the microwave, and seems pretty straightforward on the ingredient side. According to the package, this product is put together at Smithfield’s RMH Foods plant in Morton, IL, USDA establishment 17789B (pictured below).
The most important thing about the ingredient list is that it does NOT include the phrase “may contain a solution of XX %……To me, brine injected beef, pork, and poultry has the most horrible texture. I just can’t stomach (or chew) it.
So I went with the boiling bag heating option, simmered for about seven minutes (after bringing the water to a boil). I was pleased to open the bag and find actual ‘chunks’ of turkey muscle meat, and not “chopped, pressed, and formed” slices. Whew. This product is good, surprisingly good. And for the single person or couple that can’t or doesn’t want to shell out $25 – $30 for a whole turkey,and go to the hassle of fixing a huge holiday meal, this is a good solution. Product plated, pictured below (mashed potatoes not included in package). I generally don’t enjoy reheated poultry of any kind, but this product doesn’t give you that tactile/taste sensation. I’d buy it again. I might stock up if they can be frozen. Time to make a call!
The only exception I take with the packaging is that it suggests it serves “three.” Doubtful.
There’s probably not a person in the country that doesn’t know you can contact the Butterball Hotline (1-800-BUTTERBALL) (800-288-8372) during holiday periods, or check their website for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cooking a turkey.
Butterball Turkey Reviews