Here Are 3 of My Favorite Wild Turkey Recipes
If you turkey hunt or are thinking of taking on the sport, here are 3 of my favorite wild turkey recipes.
Hunting Wild Turkey in Michigan
If you have never hunted wild turkey in Michigan, you are missing out on a good time in the woods and at the dinner table.
I don't hunt or fish for anything I'm not going to eat and who doesn't love turkey? There is the misconception of wild turkeys tasting gamey and that is just not the case. Wild turkeys taste just like store-bought turkeys with one exception, the legs are a bit tougher because they are not in a box where they can't move around but if you soak them in water they loosen up pretty well.
My Three Favorite Wild Turkey Recipes
Deep Fried Turkey
Deep-fried turkey is probably my favorite and probably the easiest way to cook a turkey whether you shoot one in the wild or buy it from the grocery store.
The most important thing I can tell you about deer-frying your turkey is to make sure the bird is properly thawed before putting it in the deep-fryer. A partially frozen turkey can cause the grease to run over the sides and start a fire. Also, make sure you get your grease hot at 325 degrees and never cross 400 degrees. I usually heat my grease up to 350 degrees because when you put the bird in the temperature will go down and as soon as the gauge gets back to 325 I back off the heat a little to maintain the temperature.
The next most important thing to do is to properly weigh your bird. Don't guess or you might get a bird that is not completely cooked or overcooked and dry. In every deep fryer I have seen the number of minutes to cook the bird is 3 1/2 minutes per pound. If you follow that rule your bird will be moist and ready to go in no time.
You can use infectors to put flavor into the bird before you fry it but I have found that the fryer burns the bird up and drys the areas where the holes are unless you use a very tiny cooking syringe. What I do instead is find the seasoning I want and melt some butter, mix the two, and dip my pieces in that.
It is important to stay near the fryer at all times, especially if you have little kids or pets. If you have the help, while you man the deep fryer, if someone is inside preparing the sides you can make a whole Thanksgiving-type meal in 45 minutes with the bird being moist.
I almost forgot to tell you, I skin my bird rather than pluck the bird. The nice thing about the turkey fryer is when you fry the skinned turkey the fryer makes a new fine skin that is better for you than leaving the skin on the turkey. The recipe above will work just as well on a turkey with the skin on it.
I call this my "Sweheat" recipe because it packs a little sweetness with a little heat and it's delicious. I don't smoke mine down to a dry tough piece of jerky. I basically smoke mine down to turkey chunks. They don't last as long as jerky does, they are meant to be eaten in the days after you make it but the flavor is so good it won't last long if you have a big family.
I like to mix up my ingredients and use half of it to marinate my turkey overnight before actually smoking the bird. This recipe below is for two pounds of meat and you can adjust for however many pounds you smoke.
- 2/3rd cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons of cracked black pepper or to your taste
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 1/2 a cup of liquid smoke or to your taste
- 1 cup of pineapple juice (the secret ingredient)
- 2 tablespoons of onion powder
- 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes or to your taste
- 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce
- 2 pounds of turkey sliced into thick strips or chunks
- 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce
Mix the black pepper, garlic, and onion powder into a small bowl or container. Lay your turkey out and season lightly on both sides then store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Mix the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, liquid smoke flavoring, pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Heat in a skillet at a low temperature lightly stirring until the brown sugar has dissolved. I pour this over the meat in an airtight container overnight.
I set up the racks for my smoker and take out the strips of meat and lay them out. I take the spice mix I have left over and sprinkle that over the strips. I will hit them again when I turn them over in the smoker.
You will have to look at your smoker or dehydrator manual for how long to cook the bird. I have a smoker with racks and I pre-heat my smoker and rotate the racks periodically so each rack gets the same amount of smoke and heat.
There is nothing like getting into your deer stand, turkey blind, or your fishing boat with a bag of smoke turkey chunks to get you through a day in the wild.
I would like to take credit for this one but a long time ago my band used to rehearse in Lapeer, Michigan, and a guy used to let us practice at his house. One day he's out on the deck deep-frying turkey and he fed the band and it was like we had a record deal and a chef was cooking for us a rehearsal. So good!
Brine the turkey to get the ball rolling. Use a 1/4 cup of kosher salt to 1 quart of water. Brine for 2 to 6 hours. I like to cut my turkey up before I brine but you don't have to.
I use the same batter that I use for bluegills and that is a ziplock bag with some flour, a bowl with 4-6 eggs beaten, and a ziplock bag with crushed-up saltine crackers but you can use any batter from the grocery store. It works well with Drake's batter mix.
I make sure the meat chunks are wet and put a few at a time in the bag with flour and shake them up until they are coated. Then dip them into the eggs that have been mixed up in a bowl, then drop them into the bag with the saltines or batter and shake them until they are covered. Once I do this to all the meat chunks then I take them to the deer fryer where the oil is already heated to 325 degrees. Since the nuggets are small they cook much faster in a deep fryer. When the outside is golden brown they are ready for your choice of dipping sauce but I have found just plain with the batter is great too.
Look out McDonald's, wild turkey nuggets may just give your chicken nuggets a run for the money. Although, I did use Mcdonald's sweet and sour sauce packs one time to eat my turkey nuggets, and man where they are good.