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Keep Dallas Observer Free
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East Texas Turkey Fronts New York Times Dining Section

John T. Edge's profile of Greenberg Smoked Turkey in this morning's New York Times no doubt whetted appetites nationwide for the Tyler smokehouse's "spice-rubbed and hickory-burnished bird," but the product's long been a local favorite.

As a newcomer to Dallas, I couldn't fathom what John T was doing when he told me in an e-mail last week he was Tyler-bound, a puzzlement that proves I've never before celebrated Thanksgiving in Texas. As John T. points out in his terrific story, an entry in his United States series, Dallas diners have been feasting on Greenberg turkeys since 1938, when Zelick Greenberg packed half a dozen turkeys in straw and loaded them on a westbound train.

The company now traffics in considerably higher numbers - 20,000 turkeys will be sold to walk-in customers alone this holiday season - but its focus on Dallas hasn't wavered.

"Dallas has always been our strongest market," owner Sam Greenberg told me this morning.

And here's a secret John T. didn't share: Dallas eaters don't have to make the trek to Tyler or stand in a line that "will snake down the street and into the working-class neighborhood that surrounds the plant." They can buy their Greenberg turkeys at Central Market.

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"Central Market in Dallas is the only place that handles our turkeys other than right here," Greenberg says.

John T.'s story may well result in an onslaught of orders from Maine to California, but Greenberg says there's no danger of a smoked turkey shortage.

"We've got plenty of turkeys," he says.

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