There’s a sign with a red turkey silhouette high above the street on the east side of Tyler. The place is so iconic that there’s no need for the name of Greenberg Smoked Turkeys to be printed alongside it. That famous logo is displayed on the side of all 200,000 plus turkeys they’ll smoke, package, and ship all over the country this year.
It’s a tradition that began in 1939 with a single mail-order request for a turkey in Dallas. Polish immigrant Sam Greenberg, the grandfather of current owner Sam Greenberg, had become locally famous for his kosher turkeys, which he slow-smoked over wood in the smokehouses behind the family’s dairy barn. As the business grew, his son Zelick continued the wood-smoked tradition, and now the younger Sam makes sure the hickory piles surrounding the facility don’t get too low.
Greenberg turkeys are seasoned heavily with black pepper, and come out of the 24-hour smoke bath with a beautiful mahogany skin. Pitmaster Ray Wallace has overseen the operations of the massive smokehouse for well over thirty years, and not much has changed in that time besides the price of the turkeys. Nicknamed the “Holiday Aristocrat,” a Greenberg smoked turkey can be found at a few grocery stores in the Tyler and Dallas area, but most folks either purchase them directly from the Tyler facility or order them online. Just log on to GobbleGobble.com for a taste of Tyler history nearly eighty years in the making.