Anyone that has come to my house for turkey dinners are always impressed as I have to admit I always put on a great meal. I buy huge turkeys and usually serve hot turkey sandwiches the next day and use the remainder to make Turkey Pies for the freezer. My meat pies are not only a favorite with out family, but I also sell them and people just can’t get enough of them.
So by now you have probably figured out, the turkey is a big deal in my house. Well, this year, I decided to just have my son grab a frozen turkey from Walmart. I admit, that I have only purchased an occasional turkey from Walmart but time was short and the previous ones from there were just fine. So my son grabs the largest turkey they have and throws it in the freezer.
On Christmas Eve morning I grab the turkey and throw it in a large white kitchen garbage bag and throw it in my sink and fill the bag with water to let it thaw. The reason for the garbage bag is simple, my sink doesn’t hold water well and rather than filling it up every 10 minutes, I put what I want to thaw in a plastic bag, problem solved.
Well, to make a long story short, it was noon on Christmas Day when I finally got around to check out my bird close up. My stuffing was all prepared, oven was on and I was just going to open the airtight packaging the turkey comes in to rinse off the turkey and prep it for the oven.
I took scissors and opened the package and to my horror a Mutant Turkey from Hell greeted me. I grabbed the package and saw that it was a Utility Turkey, not Grade A! However, that did not explain this turkey. Utility Turkey’s can be missing a leg or wing, or have a small skin tear, that’s it. I will sometimes buy them during the year for pies when regular turkeys are very pricey. Missing legs and wings don’t bother me too much as we never eat them, but I do like them just for presentation purposes. They are not Mutant and the quality of the meat is the same as Grade A.
The Turkey that was before me had NO SKIN at all except for on the legs. The legs were disjointed from the turkey itself and flopped to the sides, barely attached. There were no wings. The area were you stuff the turkey, didn’t exist, it was sliced down almost all the way to the back and the breast was barely attached to the rest of the turkey. Lastly, there was a chunk missing out of the turkey breast, that I had hoped was not a bite from another animal.
Panic set in. I could not stuff the turkey, because there was no skin, there would be nothing to baste the turkey, the entire top of the turkey would be dry, rock hard turkey without skin…and there would be no drippings from which to make gravy.
With no stores open and family coming from out of town, I had no choice but to cover the breast with foil and hope for the best. Well, as you can probably guess by now, dinner was the worst holiday meal I have cooked in 30 years and would be in the Top 5 Worst Meals of All Time. There was no gravy possible, the stuffing I had to cook outside the turkey was edible…barely and the turkey? Oh that thing wasn’t edible. As I was slicing it I was thinking “uh oh, this thing just isn’t slicing like turkey should. Everyone took a slice and everyone took one bite and that was it. Everyone was afraid to eat more. It didn’t taste like turkey and the texture is best described as “spongey”
The best thing I can say about the meal is that it was over quickly. Thankfully, we made the best of the situation and cracked jokes like “wow, that turkey didn’t give up without a fight” and “well you can tell who lost that fight” and other numerous jokes including the fact I tried to serve road kill for Christmas dinner.
After thinking about things over Boxing Day I decided to call Walmart about the turkey. Government regulations are very strict when it comes to grading meat, and this turkey was not only not Grade A, but it was also not a Utility Turkey either, in fact, this turkey didn’t make any Grade and should never have been sold. I thought it was important that they know their suppliers obviously had issues with quality control and when it comes to meat, that is NOT a great thing.
I wasn’t expecting much from Walmart, except for a half hearted apology. After all, I no longer had my receipt and the turkey was promptly thrown in the trash. I was however surprised by the reaction of the assistant manager. She was very emphatic and sincere with an apology and very much wanted as much information as possible as to brand so they can contact the supplier. They have even arranged to refund me the purchase price plus provide a gift card for ruining our Christmas meal.
Will anything major come of this with the supplier? Probably not. Will I ever buy a turkey from Walmart again? No, never again. In fact, I would be hesitant to buy any meat products from them unless of course it was something like name brand bacon that is sold everywhere else. I will however, shop at Walmart as always for 2 reasons. The first being is that they are close and about the only store in my city that is a low cost department store. The 2nd being they accepted responsibility for a bad product without much proof of the product.
So in closing, Christmas, other than the meal was wonderful. The Mutant Turkey is finally at rest and will be buried at the local landfill but will go to Turkey Heaven knowing it won, no one ended up eating him. I hope he was an old bird, who fought to the very end. He will actually be remembered with fondness and we will remember and speak of him every Christmas to come. RIP Mutant Turkey.