Greenberg Turkeys

What would the holidays be without talk about food? And talk about “Great State of Texas” holiday food would be incomplete without the mention of Greenberg Turkeys.

So this morning, I am declaring Greenberg Turkeys to be one of the many things to like about Texas. However, I’m also well aware that most folks –even most folks in state– have never heard of them.

So, read. Learn. Salivate…

Delicious and delectable Greenberg Turkeys come from Tyler, Texas where the Greenberg family, led by current owner Sam Greenberg, has been smoking and selling them for sixty-seven years. The Greenberg family is serious about turkeys. Serious enough to get a web-address that fits them:

Texas is one of the great nexus-points for smoked meats on the face of the planet. You just have to try our barbeque once to know what I mean.(Sorry, Memphis and Carolina…) So, it’s no surprise that somebody in the state would perfect the art of the smoked turkey. Greenberg has.

It’s impossible, through the feeble words of a blog, to describe just how good a Greenberg Turkey is. Every bite of the bird oozes with spices and smoke. The smell surrounds you. The taste envelops you. It’s better than any turkey you’ve ever had in your life.

And those words right there? They just sound cheap and tawdry, compared to the culinary sensation it really is. I feel like I’ve just described a Maserati as a “decent car;” or the Hope Diamond as an “interesting rock.”

Through the years, lots of Texans began ordering Greenberg Turkeys in leu of cooking up their own Thanksgiving and Christmas birds. Cooking the turkey is the biggest hassle about a Thanksgiving/Christmas feast anyway. So –if somebody can do it far better than your own amaturish skills, and if they’ve been perfecting it for almost three quarters of a century– who are you to deny yourself the fruits of their labor?


Over the decades, Greenberg Turkeys became big stuff for those “in the know.” Then in 2003, Oprah Winfrey waved her magic wand of approval. She declared Greenberg Turkeys to be one of her “favorite things” for the holiday season. And, overnight, what had been an insider holiday tradition went nationwide.

Greenberg now ships turkeys (yep, through the mail, via UPS) to places all over the United States. In fact, a story from KLTV (Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville) sets the number at 200,000 birds shipped each year, and most of them to places far removed from East Texas.

Greenbergs have become a favorite holiday gift among coworkers and friends in offices across the nation. Not only has our family eaten a Greenberg for the last several holiday seasons, but Dennise and I have ordered them in the middle of the year, just to get another round of that incredible taste.

Since our family lake house is only a hop, skip, and jump from Tyler, Mom usually picks up the Thanksgiving and Christmas birds from Greenberg Turkey World Headquarters. It’s nice to be close and to be able to vouch for a company first hand.

But, trust me: you can be anywhere in the continental US, and enjoy a Greenberg. And you should. And although I realize that most of you have never had a Greenberg Turkey, I also know that if you tried it once you’d love it forever.

And I know that it would instantly become yet another thing to like about Texas.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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