Yamaha Outdoors Tip of the Week - Cooking Your Wild Turkey
You’ve done the hard part, and gotten a wild turkey gobbler by the feet. Now it’s time to enjoy the rest of the hunt, from woods to supper table. Steve Hickoff photo
By Steve Hickoff
You’ve had a good spring turkey season, maybe taken a gobbler or two, or even a few more. Congratulations. You can now extend your hunt in the kitchen.
Assuming you made a clean shot, dressed that bird in due time, and kept it cool for the transport home on the back of your Yamaha ATV, you should be in good shape for starters. I like to utilize as much of the meat as possible, including the breasts and the drumsticks; even the remaining carcass once the legs and thick chest meat are drawn.
You can basically use breast meat in any recipe that includes store-bought domestic chicken fillets or farm turkey. It’s that simple. Many guys simply opt to finger the meat, roll it in egg batter then flour, and fry it in cooking oil. That’s cool—it’s good, and seasonings offer flavor options.
Just yesterday as I write this, I baked thin fillets from one thick Florida turkey breast taken back in late March. In one mixing bowl I had a few tablespoons of fancy mustard and roughly a half cup of milk. On a plate, I sifted out some flour, and grated some jalapeno cheese. Next I rolled the thinly cut fillets in the mustard-milk mix, then in the flour-cheese deal. With the oven preheated to 400 degrees, I slipped the meat into a glass baking dish, gently poured the remaining mustard-milk liquid on top, and slipped it in the oven. Forty minutes did the trick. Delicious.
Still with me or on your way to the fridge? While many hunters only keep the thick pink breast meat for grilling or frying (and obviously baking) that’s only part of it. Go the game-cooking distance.
I like to parboil the drumsticks in a tall lobster pot ¾ full of boiling water. After 90 minutes or so, you can remove the legs, cool them, and pick the meat for use in soups. Breast meat and legs now removed, you can do the same thing with the upper and lower de-feathered and skinned body of the turkey (snap it into two pieces). Try it. You might be amazed at how much rich dark meat is available.
A gamebird so great deserves such attention, and the eating is unrivaled.