When your relatives are coming over for Thanksgiving, you’ll probably want a whole bird, which typically weighs from 14 to 16 pounds for a hen, 16 pounds and up for a tom. (There’s no taste difference—it’s just a matter of size.) With this you get white and dark meat, the legs, and the giblets for gravy.
When you want just enough turkey for a weeknight dinner, breasts are the perfect size. Typically weighing in at 4 to 9 pounds, they consist of only white meat and skin. They’re available boneless or bone-in, fresh or frozen, self-basting, smoked, or barbecued.