Greenberg Smoked Turkeys

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 12:51pm

TYLER - For the past 71 years, the holidays in East Texas get started with a phone call, to Greenberg Smoked Turkeys in Tyler.

And, the longer the lines get.

Sam Greenberg says, "They're stuffing envelopes to all our customers right now."

Greenberg Smoked Turkeys is a family tradition that's been around since the 1940s.

Greenberg says, "It started out as a hobby for friends and family. You'd smoke a turkey, chicken, whatever, it would slowly grow into a business. This was it."

Now, four generations later.

Greenberg says, "We still do it the same way he did it. And his father before him."

Sam Greenberg is now running the show.

Greenberg says, "This is my mom and dad. This is something they built. All I'm doing is just passing it down."

Greenberg says, "These are the turkeys they'll process tomorrow."

This East Texas company smokes 2,500 turkeys a day, 200,000 a season.

And every year--- the numbers continue to go up.

Greenberg says, "All turkeys are all done by hand. Then they put the spices on them, at the far end of the table."

Greenberg says, "These turkeys you saw will go to the smokehouse."

Where it's done the old fashioned way.

Greenberg says, "When we say ours is smoked. It's a smoked turkey. There's no "ifs, ands or buts about it."

He says, it's nothing fancy. It's pure quality.

Greenberg says, "They literally put them on a meat hook, just like my grandfather used to do it."

These smoked turkeys ship out to thousands of people across the U.S.

But, it takes a good amount of people to make that happen.

200 here to be exact.

Greenberg says, "The folks I have working here or work with us, treat every turkey like it's going on their table."

And most of the time it does.

Elva Coale Junior and Louise Portier have worked at Greenberg--- a combined 90 years.

Elva started working here in high school, 30 years ago.

Elva says, "I guess it's just in my blood. My father worked there a lifetime I suppose."

Not only his father, but his brothers and some of them are still on the clock.

Working at Greenberg just as long.

Louise has worked here for 60 years.

She answer phones, takes orders and does a little bit of everything.

And while she loves her job, and the turkey, she loves the people she works for.

Louise says, "People who work here come back, every year they want to come back, over and over. We'll get the same ones."

To continue a tradition, the Greenberg's hope will last forever, generations to come.

Greenberg says, "People can rely that the turkey they had 15 years ago, when they were eating at their parent's house, it's the same they're putting on their table now."

Tell us "What you love about East Texas."

And, we may just have to check it out.

Just send us an e-mail to loveeasttexas@nbc56.com

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