Turkeys fed beer for flavor, size

HENNIKER, N.H. — When it comes to pairing beer with poultry, Joe Morette isn’t too fussy. His turkeys will drink just about anything.

Morette, who is raising about 50 Thanksgiving turkeys this year, has been giving his birds beer since 1993, when he and his workers popped open a few cans after work on a hot July day. A turkey knocked one over and started drinking, he said, and they’ve been sipping the suds ever since.

Morette, who prefers serving the turkeys lager, insists the beer makes birds fatter, more flavorful and juicier.

“Oh, yeah, it’s noticeable,” he said. “It’s not a strong, gamey flavor, it’s a nice turkey flavor.”

Longtime customer Dan Bourque, a Manchester attorney, said he hasn’t had a bad bird yet from Morette. He said the turkeys are far superior to the supermarket varieties.

“We find the gravy is much darker, and much tastier,” he said. “The bird overall has a slightly different taste that is very appealing.”

The animal rights group PETA said turkeys shouldn’t be fed beer and that “farmers across the country use questionable practices to keep costs down or to alter the taste of animals’ flesh because their priority is profit, not the animals’ welfare.”

But a poultry expert with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension said it is unlikely the birds are suffering.

“I don’t know exactly how much beer each turkey is consuming, but it would have to be a lot in order for it to kind of have the same effect as too much beer on people,” said Carl Majewski, field specialist in food and agriculture. “I imagine it’s not enough to really make ‘em tipsy or anything like that. It’s just enjoying a beer with their meal. Why not?”

During one recent feeding, Morette’s birds dipped their beaks repeatedly into the foamy liquid in a watering trough. A few minutes later, at least one appeared rather dazed, with eyes narrowed to slits and beer dribbling out of its beak. But the rest seemed alert and no worse for the wear.

“Turkeys don’t seem to be the brightest, so they could stumble and you wouldn’t know if they drank too much or not,” Morette said.

More in Local News

Everett pastor’s life was inspired by Rev. Billy Graham

The first crusade Brian Harpell ever attended was when the Christian evangelist came to his hometown.

Water to be shut off for some homes, districts next week

The pipe closing will affect mainly the Snohomish and Monroe areas.

Spikes put end to ride from Seattle to Everett in stolen car

Two men were taken into custody at the bottom of Marine View Drive off I-5.

Section of W. Marine View Drive will be closed Saturday

A footbridge is being torn down between Everett Ave. and the Naval Station entrance.

Fugitive Watch

The state Department of Corrections’ Everett office has felony warrants for the… Continue reading

House passes ban on bump-fire stocks

If the Senate approves, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign it into law.

Two more suspects identified in shooting death of casino winner

The two, who have ties to Everett, Mount Vernon and Bellingham, remain at large.

Everett council defers decision on methadone clinic zoning

Councilmembers asked to see more information on potential options in the weeks ahead.

Election results are finalized for school tax measures

More than 135,000 ballots were cast, a turnout of about 31 percent.

Most Read