I love wild turkey, and for me it is so much better than the store bought one most people eat now. A wild turkey will have some game taste, be a bit leaner and have smaller breast meat, and the dark meat is bit tougher; but the flavor is so good.
Cleaning a wild turkey
(Warning Do Not Read if you are at all sensitive to the well being of dead animals. It is gory stuff, and may upset some people.)
You will want to clean your turkey outside as it will get messy. If you have any guest in your home make sure you warn them on what you are doing as not to upset anyone. If you have a fresh wild turkey that means you have a hunter in your home. The rule in my house is if you kill it you clean it, but if that does not work for you this is the easiest and cleanest way I know of the clean your bird, while leaving the skin on.
1. Boil a large Pot of water, and dunk your bird in about 10 times, hold at feet so not to burn yourself. This step will help loosen the fathers and keep then from flying around as you are plucking.
2. Pluck your turkey from the upper leg down. ( do not try to pluck big fathers off the as the fathers are in hard to pull out)
3. Cut off wings at the elbow, remove the head, and feet
4. Open the turkey and remove everything on the inside, the wash inside and outside of the bird.
5. Check for any fathers you might have missed and you are ready to cook.
Now if you do not need the skin of the turkey for cooking you can skin the bird like any other game meat.
Tips for cooking
Unlike the store bought brother of your wild turkey, your bird has not been pumped full of juice or water to make it look fatter. So the wild turkey can end up getting dry in cooking faster than the store bought turkey. To keep this from happening I recommend brining before you cook and basting every 30 minutes at least. The rule I fallow If you walk by your oven open and baste the bird.
Why and How to brine
Brining to me is a must when it comes to a wild turkey. It can sound a bit scary but is so easy and worth it. Brining is basically soaking your bird in a salt water bath. This help keeps your turkey form becoming dry as well adding flavor to your bird.
How brining works the salt water helps to remove all the juice from your turkey then allows your bird to soak up some of the brain by doing this the juice of the bird dose not all come out at one time while cooking but over time. Now you can just use water with salt to do this but you would be missing out on a great way to add some flavor to your turkey. There are tons of wonderful recipe online for brining a turkey that will work well and taste wonderful, but I will share mine with you.
2 c. Kosher Salt
1 c. Brown Sugar
10 c. Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary
10 Whole Cloves
1 Tbsp. Dried Sage
1 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
1 gallon Ice Water
In a pot mix stock, salt, sugar, and herbs over a medium heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add the ice cold water.
Place turkey in a large plastic container. Pour brine over top, cover and refrigerate. Brine for one- three days. Rinse all the brine from the turkey before cooking. Otherwise there will be a salty flavor to the turkey
OK now for cooking.
Recipe For Baked Wild Turkey
A wild turkey can be cooked like any other turkey, but this is how I do mine. Once again you can find tons of very good recipes online, but I love mine.
You will need
2 Lemon cut in half
1 onion cut in half
1 head garlic cut in half
Few stalks of rosemary 1-3 to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 stick of butter
8 c Chicken Stock
Squeeze the 1 of the lemons over the turkey and place both lemons inside the bird along with everything else but butter and stock. Cut ½ the butter in to small cubes and place under the skin of the bird, rub the other ½ over the skin.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes per Lbs. Use chicken broth to baste your bird every 30 minutes until there is enough juice in pan to baste with that instead.
That is it that is how I make my wild Turkey. If you have any questions on tips of your own please leave in comments below.
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