To get the most out of your wild turkey, you should find a suitable recipe for small birds. It’s best to go for a lean heritage breed than the average turkey, as these birds don’t have as much fat. Cooking a wild turkey in the oven requires you to pre-heat it to 200 degrees F, and you can brush the skin with olive oil before cooking it. When preparing your wild turkey meal, you need to remember that wild turkey thighs are often more challenging than breasts. You’ll need to cut them against the grain to prevent them from falling apart while cooking them. Generally, wild turkey thighs and breasts are darker in colour than domesticated turkeys, and the meat from the legs can be used in tacos, stews, and soups.
A wild turkey is a bit tougher than a domestic turkey, and its meat is more difficult to prepare. While domesticated turkeys are often brined with salt water to make them tender and juicy, wild turkeys are leaner and require less salt. However, bringing a wild turkey overnight will make the meat moister and tastier. While bringing your wild turkey, you’ll also want to use some herbs or spices to cover up the gaminess.
Wild Turkey Nutrition Facts
What is Wild Turkey?
The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a North American upland ground bird that is the heaviest member of the order Galliformes. It is one of two extant species of turkey. It is the ancestor of the domestic turkey, which evolved from a wild turkey subspecies found in southern Mexico (not the related ocellated turkey). Although the turkey is native to North America, it is most likely named after the domesticated type carried to Britain via Spain in ships from the Levant.
As a result, the British linked the wild turkey with the country of Turkey at the time, and the name stuck. Another story claims that the title was first used for a guinea fowl endemic to Madagascar brought to England by Turkish traders. It was subsequently transferred to the New World bird by English immigrants familiar with the previous species.
How to Cook Wild Turkey?
Because they don’t know how to cook it, most hunters harvest the white meat (breasts) and leave pounds of otherwise excellent meat in the field. Many hunters avoid trying to roast a wild turkey whole since there are so many things that can harm it throughout the cooking process.
Wild turkeys are more authoritarian, have less fat, and are drier due to their active lifestyle. On the other hand, most store-bought turkeys are only moist because they are pumped full of saltwater. A thoroughly roasted wild bird may be kept moist by bringing it overnight before cooking and basting it with plenty of fat while cooking. The brine helps to hydrate and flavour the meat while also keeping the moisture, and the fat helps to crisp up any rubbery skin. Remember to use aromatics and meat flavouring herbs like onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme while bringing and cooking your meat. The herbs will assist in masking any gaminess that may have remained.
- 1-gallon vegetable broth
- 1 cup sea salt
- One tablespoon of crushed dried rosemary
- One tablespoon of dried sage
- One tablespoon of dried thyme
- One tablespoon of dried savoury
- 1-gallon ice water
- In a large stockpot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savoury. Bring to a boil, frequently stirring to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
- When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5-gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
- Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey breast down into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove the turkey carefully, drain off the excess brine, and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
- Cook the turkey as desired to reserve the drippings for gravy. Remember that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster, so watch the temperature gauge.
Is Wild Turkey Meat Healthy?
Foods high in protein, such as wild turkey, assist in improving satiety or the sense of being satisfied for a more extended period.
Protein aids in the maintenance of lean muscle mass and the control of insulin levels after meals. However, protein is the nutrient that most meat-eaters currently get in adequate amounts.
Keep in mind that the amount of protein you consume at each meal is significant. You can only take in so much information at once. Include a lean protein source at each meal and stagger your intake throughout the day. Nuts, fish, eggs, dairy, soy, and legumes are also rich protein sources.
Because the skin of turkey contains so much fat, it’s simple to remove it and eat a leaner, less fattening dish.
Turkey’s tryptophan concentration may aid in maintaining appropriate serotonin levels in the body, which encourage alertness and a positive mood. While the amounts are small, this could be advantageous, and Turkey is from a reliable source.
The turkey breast is lower in fat and calories than most other portions of meat. However, just because a product is made from turkey does not mean it is healthier. Depending on how much dark meat is included in the ground turkey, a burger cooked with ground turkey can contain just as much saturated fat as a beef burger.
Why does it Taste Dry?
Wild game meat is always drier than domesticated game meat. This is why wild game preparation and care are so necessary. If you’re going hunting for dinner, field dresses the animal as soon as possible to ensure a good meal. Even if you plan to cook the entire bird in the oven, like the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll need to remove the entrails. The problem is that many people believe wild turkeys cannot be eaten.
How do you Make Wild Turkey Taste Good?
More field dressing advice:
First and foremost, you must decide how you will cook the turkey. If you’re deep-frying, smoking, or roasting a whole turkey, you should pull the feathers off and leave the skin intact. The skin will provide a delicious flavour and assist in keeping the moisture in.
If you find plucking tedious and time-consuming, keep in mind that it is well worth the effort. When plucking the bird, follow these guidelines:
Pull a couple of feathers upwards towards the head in your hand. If you have too many feathers in your palm, you may shred the skin.
You’ll want to peel and debone the bird if you’re not going to cook it whole. These procedures are significantly more straightforward to follow than plucking the feathers. Save the meaty components, including the wings, legs, breasts, and thighs, for cooking. If you don’t have much room in your freezer, a deboned turkey will be easier to store. Whether frying or smoking your turkey, soak it in saltwater first to keep it moist.
When cooking wild turkey, make sure to remove its feathers first. They are the essential parts of the bird! Remember, it is not as tender as store-bought turkey. And remember, a wild turkey will taste much better than the equivalent meat from a store-bought turkey. Make sure to remove the feathers before cooking to avoid any unpleasant surprises. You will find that your guests will be amazed.
When cooking wild turkey, it is essential to moisten it as much as possible. You can use the beer can turkey method. You have to place the turkey on a wire stand with a full or partially filled beer can. As the beer evaporates, steam will escape and enter the bird. This method has its advantages, so it’s worth trying! Once you’ve mastered the art of field dressing, you’ll be ready to start cooking.