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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Countdown:Turkey

November 17, 2011; 11:21 AM ET

As Thanksgiving approaches, we've geared up to prepare you in the best way we can - with tons of recipes and cooking tips. Check back each week as we'll be updating constantly and with different themes!

WEEK 1: Turkey Takedown - Whether you want to brine, roast, or deep-fry your turkey, we've got all that and more.

You probably want to order your turkey soon, so here are a few things to consider beforehand...

Types of Turkeys

You basically only have a few choices when it comes to turkey purchases. You can go for conventional turkeys sold at most supermarkets, costlier organic turkeys (also usually found at most supermarkets), and wild turkeys. Here's a simplified breakdown of the difference between the three:

1) Conventional Turkeys: These birds are factory-farmed and usually given a fair amount of antibiotics so that they don't get sick in their poor living conditions. (They generally don't live very happy lives.)

2) Organic Turkeys: These have been raised according to strict rules and regulations created by the USDA and have received its stamp of approval. This means no hormones to speed up their growth or antibiotics to keep unhealthy birds alive. (They generally have much better lives than conventional turkeys, but it isn't guaranteed that they live completely free-range.)

3) Heritage and Wild Turkeys: Though they are different breeds of turkeys, both are raised without antibiotics and hormones and are fed natural and healthy diets. (These birds live a very happy life.) However, wild turkeys tend to be on the leaner and gamier side than other types of turkeys, so cooking them requires slightly different cooking methods.

We asked Ariane Daguin, founder of D'Artagnan (where you can purchase organic, heritage, and wild turkeys online), what her tips were for successfully cooking a wild turkey.

See also:

Click here for The Ultimate Guide to Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving, Week 2

Click here for The Ultimate Guide to Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving, Week 3

Click here for The Ultimate Guide to Hosting the Perfect Thanksgiving, Week 4

How to Be the Perfect Thanksgiving Day Guest

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