Wild Turkey Cooking Experiment
Part of the hesitation with turkey hunting was that they are notorious for being tough and inedible. But I kept reading and hearing folks here and there saying how delicious wild turkey was, that you must cook it “right”. Have we forgotten how to cook wild game with the proliferation of industrial poultry and meat?
I did a lot of internet research and formed a plan for cleaning and freezing the first turkey I tagged this spring. I breasted the 17.8 lb tom & also kept the legs. Most folks just breast their turkeys. I was determined to find a way to use the legs, even if just for stock. I double ground one breast, saved the “fingers”, pieced part of the other breast, then made cutlets of the rest. I packed them by type and using the food saver vacuum packed them, then froze each package.
The legs were going to be wild turkey carnitas using this recipe. I was also thinking about how I make pulled pork in the slow cooker so I added the spices per the carnitas recipe but didn’t have the chiles or the juniper berries and I knew I had to cook these legs a long time to get them tender so I just went into pulled pork cooking mode and poured some hard cider (I brewed but didn’t like) over them. I added a little water and turned them on low. For a long time…15 hours. They were then tender & I pulled them, dumped liquid from slow cooker, put pulled turkey back in slow cooker, added some chopped onion and BBQ sauce and cooked on low for a few hours. It was really good! So don’t throw the legs out!
I then made a white bean chili using ground wild turkey using a combination of a few recipes I googled online. So good! Also with the ground turkey I made turkey and black bean burrito/taco filling using this recipe. Again excellent. I have found that the ground wild turkey is really very similar to ground turkey & can be substituted in recipes that call for ground turkey.
Cooking the cutlets and fingers will be tricky. Brining, marinating, and perhaps pounding will be key. I made grilled marinated wild turkey cutlets using this recipe. It was good, though salty, and I would adjust it in the future. I marinated the cutlets for over 24 hours which just may have been too long.
These turkeys are definitely tasty if attention is paid to prepping and cooking. Can’t wait until the fall turkey season!