HOUSTON — While brisket and sausage are often the stars of any Texas barbecue plate, smoked turkey is a well-loved supporting player. Restaurants are warning the leaner treat could be hard to find in the next couple of months.
Avian flu pandemic to blame for shortage
According to the Houston Chronicle, the avian flu epidemic is to blame. To stop the spread poultry flocks have been culled, meaning six million turkeys were killed between January and July.
The other problem is America’s love of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Most barbecue restaurants use processed turkey breasts, not the whole bird. Processors are reportedly holding back whole turkeys to make sure they have enough supply for consumer demand in November.
Why have wholesale prices for turkey increased?
That means wholesale prices for turkey breast have gone from around $3 a pound last year to $7 now.
Of course, it is not just barbecue restaurants affected. Experts also warn prices for whole turkeys are up thanks to the bird flu. Meaning you will probably be paying more for your Thanksgiving bird.
Some culinary influencers suggest this could be the time for “tofurkey” to take center stage but Thanksgiving traditionalists may not be ready for a plant-based main course.