Ho-Ka Turkey: A Guide to Cooking and Serving This Tasty Bird

Ho-Ka turkeys are bred for great flavor, texture, and large breasts, raised on a family-owned farm in Illinois, and priced at $2.29 per pound.

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey with All the Sides

The Ho-Ka turkey is a specific breed of turkey, bred by Howard Kauffman Turkey Farms. The first flock was established more than 80 years ago. Selective breeding has been done over the years to breed the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Kauffman Turkey Farms is now one of the few family owned and operated turkey farms that also contains a dressing plant in the United States. They provide fresh Ho-Ka turkeys for residents throughout the Northern Illinois area.

The turkeys are raised on the farm, and are bred for slow and steady growth. It is a breed that contains a significant amount of meat (though, like all turkeys, few eggs), with an emphasis on great flavor and texture. 

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What is a Ho-Ka Turkey?

With more than 70,000 Ho-Ka turkeys raised at the Ho-Ka farm in Illinois, it is the largest turkey farm in the state. It takes hens about 16 weeks to reach full maturity for dressing, while toms take until 19 weeks of age before they are mature enough for dressing.

During the season, the first flock of turkeys are free-range, but the weather does not permit this as the season goes on. This specific breed of turkey is white, and all of the turkeys found on the farm are white in color.

They are bred to have large breasts, where the white meat comes from. The larger breast size makes it impossible for the Ho-Ka turkey to breed naturally, so they must be artificially inseminated.

How Much are Ho-Ka Turkeys Per Pound?

A whole, Ho-Ka frozen turkey is currently priced at $2.29 a pound at the Ho-Ka Turkey Farm in Illinois. They also offer wings, drumsticks, turkey necks, and other cuts of the turkey for a variety of prices.

Ho-Ka turkeys are more expensive than other frozen turkeys on the market, but the birds are described as worth it and delicious for those looking for the perfect turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

How do I Cook a Ho-Ka Turkey?

If you are going to roast your turkey, use a thermometer to test when the turkey is done. While an internal temperature of 185 degrees is recommended, white meat only needs to be cooked to 170 degrees, while dark meat should stop cooking once it reaches 180 degrees.

You will set the temperature of your oven to 325 degrees, and let the turkey cook about 30-45 minutes for each pound of turkey you are cooking.

Roasting turkey is simple (especially in a turkey roaster), once you get the hang of it. Your turkey should be covered in foil, and basted periodically to keep all of the meat moist. You can also consider smoking it.

Should the Stuffing Be Cooked Inside the Turkey?

You can cook stuffing inside your Ho-Ka turkey, but pay attention to how long everything sits out on your counter.

Stuffing a fresh turkey can lead to problems with salmonella, so you want to be sure to get your turkey in the oven quickly.

If you prefer, you can make stuffing separately from your turkey, and serve it with the meat once it has been cooked.

Should You Brine a Ho-Ka Turkey?

Brine Turkey

While you can brine a Ho-Ka turkey, there’s really no reason to. The owner of Ho-Ka turkey farm states that guests couldn’t tell a difference between one turkey that brined, and the other that wasn’t.

If you skip the brining process, you will save time in cooking the bird. It used to be common practice to brine turkeys before cooking them, but this is no longer the case for many cooks.

Are Ho-Ka Turkeys Organic?

The owner of Ho-Ka farm addresses this question succinctly. Ho-Ka turkeys are not labeled organic, free range, or natural, because that is not a legal distinction for turkey farms.

These words are often used to confuse buyers, who are looking for a natural meat to eat. Ho-Ka turkeys eat a wide range of food, as they are true omnivores. They are able to move about, and are raised on the farm (like pasture raised chickens) from day one until they are dressed for consumption.

Natural can be put on a label, and the turkey could be full of salt and other “natural” products. Ho-Ka turkeys do not contain added ingredients, and the owner believes that the natural label is misleading.

Are Ho-Ka Turkeys Hormone Free?

Hormone free in the poultry industry is another term that the owner finds misleading. Ho-Ka turkeys are hormone free, because using hormones in the poultry industry is illegal.

No farmers use hormones while raising poultry, as it is both illegal and not helpful. Of course Ho-Ka turkeys are hormone free, but so are all turkeys on the market today.

Are Ho-Ka Turkeys Considered Free Range?

The distinction of free range is probably not what you are thinking when you consider a poultry farm. All that a farmer has to do for a flock of turkeys to be considered free range is to provide an access door to the outdoors.

While the first flock of the season is free range, the rest of the year the weather is not warm enough for the turkeys to survive outside. They are safely cared for inside, with plenty of room to roam around.

Ho-Ka turkeys can be found fresh at Ho-Ka farm, and in local grocery stores throughout most of the year. The turkeys arrive at the farm at one day old, and they are dressed at 16 weeks for hens, and 19 weeks for toms.

The turkeys eat an omnivore diet, and are not restricted to just fruits and vegetables. They are bred for their large chests, providing families with an abundance of white meat upon dressing.

This farm has been around for roughly 80 years, and the Ho-Ka turkey has been selectively bred to be only white. Colored feathers were causing a stained look when some of the birds were dressed, and the selective breeding led to pure white chickens.

The birds are well cared for, and an excellent addition to a holiday meal. You cook a Ho-Ka turkey the same as any fresh turkey you would purchase.

More FAQs

How long do you cook a Hoka turkey for?

The recommended cooking time for a Hoka turkey is approximately 30-45 minutes per pound when roasted at 325F, with the turkey wrapped in foil.

How do you cook wild turkey so it’s not tough?

To ensure that wild turkey is not tough, it is important to address the limited fat content they possess compared to their domestic counterparts. By immersing the meat in a saltwater solution, you can achieve a turkey that is more moist, tender, and succulent. The brine’s salt enhances the water content within the cells, breaks down connective tissues, and imparts flavorful seasoning to the meat.

Does turkey get more tender the longer you cook it?

Turkey does not get more tender the longer you cook it. As the contracting muscle fibers reach 180 F, they start to break up and the bonds within the molecules begin to break down. This causes proteins to unravel and the muscle meat becomes more tender. However, if the turkey is cooked for too long, the proteins become excessively denatured, resulting in tougher meat.

Why do you soak a turkey in salt water before cooking?

Soaking a turkey in salt water before cooking helps to enhance its flavor and retain moisture during the cooking process.

How to cook an unstuffed turkey at 325?

To cook an unstuffed turkey at 325F, you should allow for approximately 15 to 17 minutes of cooking time per pound. For a stuffed turkey, the cooking time should be around 20 to 22 minutes per pound.

How long to cook unstuffed turkey at 400?

The recommended cooking time for an unstuffed turkey at 400F (204C) is between two to six hours, depending on the size of the turkey. To ensure even cooking, it is advised to rotate the turkey 180 once every hour.

How long to cook ground turkey in oven at 350?

The ground turkey should be cooked in the oven at 350F for approximately 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven and place the ground turkey in a greased baking dish, adding desired seasonings. It is not necessary to break up the meat at this stage. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake until the ground meat has turned gray/brown.

How long to cook ground turkey at 400?

The ground turkey should be cooked at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until it is thoroughly cooked throughout. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare, mix the ground turkey, eggs, milk, onions, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined. Then, bake at 400 degrees for the specified time.

Do brined turkeys take less time to cook?

Brined turkeys do require less cooking time compared to unbrined turkeys, therefore it is important to regularly monitor the internal temperature.

What temperature and how long to cook turkey?

The recommended cooking temperature and duration for turkey can be determined by calculating 13 minutes per pound at 350F for an unstuffed turkey. This means that a 12- to 14-lb. turkey would require approximately 3 hours of cooking time. Alternatively, for a stuffed turkey, it is advised to cook for 15 minutes per pound.

Who is the largest turkey producer?

The largest turkey producer in the world and the largest exporter of turkey products is the United States.

What are the top 5 states that produce turkeys?

The top 5 states that produce turkeys are Minnesota, which raised an estimated 49 million in 2008, followed by North Carolina with 39 million, Arkansas with 31 million, Virginia with 21 million, and Missouri with 20 million.

What are the top turkey producing states in the US?

The top turkey producing states in the US include North Carolina, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, and Arkansas, as they make significant contributions to the country’s overall turkey production.

What turkey is most popular for meat production?

The most popular turkey for meat production is the Broad Breasted White breed. This particular breed is widely favored globally due to its ability to yield a larger amount of breast meat and meatier thighs. Its distinct white feathers make it easily recognizable. The majority of commercial turkey farms focus on raising these birds specifically for meat production.

Who is the largest turkey producer in the US?

The largest turkey producer in the US is Minnesota, which has consistently ranked No. 1 in U.S. turkey production since the formation of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association in 1939. Each year, Minnesota turkey farmers raise between 40 million and 42 million birds.

What states in the U.S. produce the most turkey?

The state in the U.S. that produced the highest number of turkeys in 2021 was Minnesota, with approximately 40.5 million birds (or 1.04 billion pounds) raised last year. These turkeys from Minnesota accounted for about 18.7% of the total American turkey supply and had a combined value of $857.9 million.

Which U.S. state raise the most turkeys?

The U.S. state that raises the most turkeys is Minnesota, producing approximately 49 million turkeys annually. Following Minnesota are North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri, and Indiana. These six states collectively raise over two-thirds of the Thanksgiving turkeys in America.

How many turkeys do U.S. turkey growers produce in the U.S. today?

U.S. turkey growers produce more than 216 million turkeys each year, with the help of dedicated individuals from family farms, various industries, and throughout the production, processing, and delivery process.

What state has the largest wild turkey population?

The state with the largest wild turkey population is Texas, where you can find three species of turkey, primarily Rio Grandes (500,000), but also some Merriams (500) and Easterns (8000) in certain areas. The bag limit in Texas varies depending on the hunting location.

Who is the largest exporter of turkey meat?

The largest exporter of turkey meat is the United States, which is also the world’s leading producer of turkey meat.

Why does Minnesota produce so many turkeys?

Minnesota produces so many turkeys because the state’s turkey industry started with small backyard flocks on family farms. With the assistance of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, the National Turkey Improvement Plan, and advancements in disease prevention, Minnesota has become the leading state in turkey production in the country.

What country eats more turkey than the US?

Israel consumes more turkey per capita than the United States. In fact, while approximately seven out of eight families in the United States consume turkey on Thanksgiving Day, Israel has an even greater percentage of its population consuming turkey every year.

What is the main product of turkey?

The main product of Turkey is wheat, sugar beets, milk, poultry, cotton, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. Turkey is also the leading global producer of apricots and hazelnuts.

Can you buy a 32 lb turkey?

A 32 lb turkey can be purchased. The Vons store offers Butterball Whole Turkey Fresh, which has a weight range of 24-32 lb.

Can you buy a 10 lb turkey?

You can purchase a turkey weighing 10 pounds or less. However, it’s important to note that even a small turkey is still quite substantial and not comparable to cooking a Cornish game hen. Generally, most “small” turkeys available range from 10 to 12 pounds, although it is possible to find ones that are even smaller.

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