The best part of a successful turkey season is cooking the bird. Once you know how to cook a wild turkey, you can make everything from smoked turkey breast to turkey soup. You can even find ways to use the giblets and wing bones so that no part of the bird goes to waste. Here are the wild turkey recipes I made after a particularly memorable turkey hunt.
Smoked Turkey Breast & Turkey Schnitzel
I have a tradition that I follow of smoking one turkey breast and making turkey schnitzel with the other.
I do all my smoking on a Weber Kettle over coals and hardwood. Doing it this way instead of using an electric smoker really isn’t as complicated as some may think. It is definitely more work, but it’s worth it in my opinion. The smoke ring is always a sign of a job done right.
Turkey schnitzel is an idea I got from the well-known MeatEater, Steven Rinella. He loves to make this with his wild turkeys. I always make a massive pile of this stuff and it is fantastic. Plus, it makes your house smell amazing while you’re frying the pieces. It’s a win-win.
The legs and thighs from my last turkey hunt are still currently in the freezer but I do know what I’ll be making with them. I have a soup recipe I commonly use with these and with waterfowl legs and thighs.
One thing that bothers me is how many hunters discard the legs and thighs on wild turkeys. Some just don’t know they’re usable. Some know but don’t want to do the extra work. Either way, it shouldn’t happen. That dark, red meat is delicious when handled right.
All you have to do is braise them in a stock pot for about four hours and that meat should shred up nicely. The longer you braise, the closer you get to the “fall off the bone” texture. It depends on how you want to use them and your preference.
Turkey Giblet Dirty Rice
Last, but certainly not least, are the giblets. The wobbly bits. Who uses those anyway? Well, I definitely do.
I’ve always made a habit of saving the hearts, livers, and gizzards from waterfowl and wild turkeys and I have a recipe for each organ. However, cooking one heart, one liver, and one gizzard, each differently, isn’t a way to encourage someone to keep these from their turkey. I was determined to come up with a way to use all three.
I love a good challenge, that’s why I’m an engineer. Some research led me to the possibility of making a Cajun dish, “dirty rice”, with the giblets. The recipes for this vary in terms of ingredients used so I just threw something together knowing I’d eat it even if it tasted bad.
I got lucky and a new recipe was added to my site the next week. Even our 18-month-old went to town on it. My version uses riced cauliflower instead of rice.
Wing Bone Call
This is not a recipe, but turning the wings into wing bone calls is great way to make sure you don’t waste any part of your bird. The 2019 turkey season was my first spring using one and I was thrilled to see it work.
The concept of a part of your bird being used to help you succeed on future hunts is really neat. At the end of my bone call is a breast feather from the gobbler I made this from.
Well, there you have it. Hopefully this encourages you to get more use out of that beautiful gobbler you shot this spring. If your season is already over, keep these ideas in mind for the fall season!