How to dress a turkey?

hancockhunter

Active Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
30
Location
Hancock Co.
Planning on harvesting my first eastern wild turkey this week and need to know the best process of dressing your bird. I have eaten wild turkey before and enjoyed the breasts, but wasn't crazy about the texture/tenderness of the rest of the bird. I enjoy the sport of the hunt more than the meat itself. Saying that, is it morally ok to kill the bird and not do anything with it? What do you do with your bird? Thanks
 

chrmayo

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
1,777
Location
Mckenzie, Tn
I would say no. Someone will eat it. I have given mine to an old man I know that needs it more than we do. He is always tickled to death to get em.
 

timberjack86

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
11,546
Location
Polk County
I slice the breast out and use the legs and thighs to make turkey sandwiches from the crock pot. Sometimes I roast the bird whole but its a lot of work.
 

hancockhunter

Active Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
30
Location
Hancock Co.
I will either eat the breast meat or give it away. So what is the best way to cut the breast meat out? Do you have to remove feathers around the breasts before you cut or can you just cut through the skin and straight to the breast meat?
 

stik

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 1999
Messages
22,151
Location
lenoir city,tn
hancockhunter said:
I will either eat the breast meat or give it away. So what is the best way to cut the breast meat out? Do you have to remove feathers around the breasts before you cut or can you just cut through the skin and straight to the breast meat?

just peel the skin away from the breast and cut it out.
 

mathews338

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
6,323
Location
jackson co.
stik said:
hancockhunter said:
I will either eat the breast meat or give it away. So what is the best way to cut the breast meat out? Do you have to remove feathers around the breasts before you cut or can you just cut through the skin and straight to the breast meat?

just peel the skin away from the breast and cut it out.
X2
 

timberjack86

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
11,546
Location
Polk County
Poser said:
Best thing to do is to pluck the entire bird. Takes about 40 minutes to pluck a turkey. The skin is very important to retaining moisture in the meat. The legs and thighs can be braised into some excellent dishes and the main carcass can be cooked down for stock and also give you another couple of pounds of dark meat which is great for sandwiches, Gumbo etc. You can also roast the wings.

IMO, only taking the breasts is a shameful waste of meat. You can easily get something like a 70% yield from turkeys: http://gocarnivore.com/2013/02/28/wild- ... hole-bird/
I always take the breast and the legs and thighs and chuck the rest. Nothing much left after that right?
 

timberjack86

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
11,546
Location
Polk County
Poser said:
timberjack86 said:
Poser said:
Best thing to do is to pluck the entire bird. Takes about 40 minutes to pluck a turkey. The skin is very important to retaining moisture in the meat. The legs and thighs can be braised into some excellent dishes and the main carcass can be cooked down for stock and also give you another couple of pounds of dark meat which is great for sandwiches, Gumbo etc. You can also roast the wings.

IMO, only taking the breasts is a shameful waste of meat. You can easily get something like a 70% yield from turkeys: http://gocarnivore.com/2013/02/28/wild- ... hole-bird/
I always take the breast and the legs and thighs and chuck the rest. Nothing much left after that right?

When you cook them down for stock, you'll have several pounds of dark meat that you never noticed before.
I never have cooked one for stock. I might have to try that on my next one.
 

Mudbone

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Messages
7,569
Location
Old hickory Tn
Poser said:
hancockhunter said:
So when taking the breast, legs, and thighs are you just cutting them out or plucking the bird?

I highly recommend plucking the entire bird out, however, the majority of hunters just skin them because its faster -same thing with pheasants, dove and waterfowl. If you do pluck them out, you'll immediately recognize (upon cooking) that your extra efforts were well worth it.
is there meat I have been missin on dove legs and backs?
 

hancockhunter

Active Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
30
Location
Hancock Co.
If I am lucky enough to kill any I believe I will pluck my first bird, at least around the breasts, and cut skin out with breast. I will do some research on some good recipes. Hunting here in Hancock Co TN. If anyone else is close lets share some hunting info. Thanks for the responses
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
bird #1 is mostly plucked out and gutted, head and feet removed, and in the fridge. bird #2 is gutted but not plucked yet, in the fridge as well (barely fits). I will process em completely tomorrow. I used to just take the breast and legs but why not make the best of your kill. It's more work but it's also more meat (and stock).
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
hancockhunter said:
So when taking the breast, legs, and thighs are you just cutting them out or plucking the bird?
if all you want is breast, legs and thighs (hmm sounds like something else) then you can just cut the skin and peel it back and remove your cuts of meat. Plucking some of the feathers around the cut will help make it cleaner if you like. Plucking a whole bird is a bit more tedious, but not really that bad at all. Basically you can just get yourself used to the work, and it's not as bad as it seems when you first think about it.
 

WMAn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2010
Messages
1,245
Location
Williamson County
It was a LOT! I hooked up with a breasts only hunter. In one week, during the fall season, he gave me one hen, two jakes, and two gobblers. I basically spent five days dressing birds and cooking turkey stock.

That was October, and it was all gone by January. If you cook a lot, you go through a lot of stock. Everything I fix with a liquid base usually has turkey or chicken stock in it.
 

catman529

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2010
Messages
29,472
Location
Franklin TN
My stock pot has kind of turned into a skull boiling, European mount pot. I can clean it out, but I'd rather search goodwill and local thrift stores for a bigger one. My 16 qt pot does not entirely fit a whole gobbler carcass, no matter how right I squeeze it in. I could cut it up, but I'd rather have a bigger pot. Better start looking for one...
 

hancockhunter

Active Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
30
Location
Hancock Co.
CAMARO12 said:
Also, if you pluck the bird, it helps to boil some water and "scald" the feathers on the turkey in a washtub before plucking. It makes the feather pulling a whole lot easier.

Can anyone else confirm this works?
 

Latest posts

Top