How to Cook Wild Turkey
Wild turkey is a delicious game meat. It is known for its slight gaminess, slightly firm texture, and its dark meat. Wild turkeys have a lot less breast meat than regular turkeys because their breasts are designed to help them fly and they have no hormones or special feed. They are also much more muscular and leaner than their domestic cousins.
Cooking a wild turkey is different than cooking a regular store-bought turkey. When it is properly prepared, fresh wild turkey can be a delicious meal.
How to Clean and Prepare Wild Turkey
The first step to cooking your wild turkey is to clean it and prepare it. There are two main ways of doing this: by manually plucking the turkey or by skinning it. It is recommended to skin the turkey for fast preparation. Skinning the turkey is a lot faster and less messy. To skin the turkey, here are the steps you would take:
- Cut off the fan by cutting off the skin at the tail of the turkey.
- Cut off the wings of the turkey at the second joint.
- Pull the feathers and skin off by grabbing the skin near the turkey’s tail and then gently pulling the skin with the feathers off the turkey’s body up toward the neck.
- Next, you can optionally take the turkey’s breasts off (since they cook faster) by cutting then out along the breastbone.
- After this, open the body cavity and clean out the entails.
- Finally, cut the head and feet off at the second joint.
Cooking Wild Turkey
Cooking wild turkey is a little tricky and slightly different than cooking store bought turkey. Wild turkey has a slight gaminess that gets stronger over time, so wild turkey should be cooked as soon as possible. Also, wild turkey has very little fat, so most recipes for wild turkey call for generous use of butter or other types of oil.
There are a number of wild turkey recipes both online and in cooking books. Finding a good and well-reviewed recipe is important to cooking a quality wild turkey meal. However, there are a few basic preparation tips that you should always follow when you’re preparing a wild turkey regardless of what recipe you use.
If you are cooking the breast separate from the rest of the turkey, it is pretty simple to prepare and cook. It can be cooked by marinating it in your favorite marinade overnight and pan frying it in olive oil and butter or baking it. One trick to make the breast meat tender is to remove the outer layer of muscle, as this layer tends to become rough during cooking.
If you are looking to cook the turkey whole with the breast, the general idea is to cook it the same way that you would cook a regular turkey, but use butter or some other type of fat to cover the turkey, and baste the turkey several times while it is cooking. Wild turkey meat does not have much fat on it, and basting it will help to keep the meat moist and juicy. Cooking bags are often used for cooking wild turkey and help to decrease cooking time.
Another method of preparing wild turkey is by deep frying it. Although this method is potentially more dangerous, requires a lot more preparation and work, and should always be done outside with proper fire and safety protocol, many have reported incredibly moist and delicious turkey with this method.
Wild turkey can be a delicious meal when properly prepared and cooked while still very fresh. With no hormones, antibiotics, or cheap feed, wild turkey has a different taste from store bought turkey, but it is growing in popularity as a healthy and delicious alternative.