The Best Part of the Hunt: Savoring Your Prize
The best part of bringing home a nice spring gobbler is by far the table fare. Wild turkey, when cooked properly, is as tender and flavorful as wild meat gets. To ensure the best flavor and texture of your gobbler’s breast meat, follow these simple preparation tips and explore three different ways to enjoy your harvest.
Here are 3 of our favorite recipes for cooking your harvested wild turkey properly: #1, Buffalo Style Deep Frield Wild Turkey, #2, BBQ Glazed Wild Turkey Strips, and #3 Herb-Crusted Turkey Strips, which we bake.
Pro Tip: Preparing Your Wild Turkey
The first step to making sure your wild turkey is tender and delicious is to remove all of the silver skin and fat from the breast. This thin membrane of connective tissue can become tough when cooked, and removing it can greatly enhance the tenderness of your turkey meat.
Once you’ve cleaned your turkey breast, cut it into 4-inch-long by a half-inch-wide strips. Gently season each cutlet with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then place them in a bowl of buttermilk. Make sure to coat each cutlet completely, then place the bowl in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
The Importance of Buttermilk in Your Wild Turkey Recipe
This marinating step is more important than it might seem. Soaking wild turkey in buttermilk overnight works wonders for its texture and flavor. The buttermilk’s acidity helps break down tough proteins in the lean, sometimes tough wild turkey meat, tenderizing it and enhancing its flavor. Don’t have buttermilk? No problem, see below to make your own.
Getting Ready to Cook Your Wild Turkey
When you’re ready to cook, gently add enough oil into a 2-quart saucepan to reach 2 inches deep if you’re using a stovetop. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees. Alternatively, you can use a traditional fryer, filling it with a minimum of 4 inches of oil. Using metal tongs, lift the turkey strips from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off, then immediately add them to the hot oil.
Deep fry your turkey strips until the batter turns golden brown and the meat is cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Use a metal slotted spoon to remove the strips from the oil, then drain them on a rack or paper towels. Now they’re ready to be tossed in the sauce of your choice.
If you still have some bird left, try these: Turkey Jalapeno Poppers
Recipe #1: Buffalo-Style Turkey Strips
Cooking the Strips
To cook the turkey strips, pour enough oil into a 2-quart saucepan—about 2 inches deep if you’re cooking on a stovetop. Heat it to 350 degrees over medium heat. Once the oil is ready, use metal tongs to transfer the turkey strips from the buttermilk into the hot oil. Deep fry until the batter turns golden brown and the turkey strips are cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove with a metal slotted spoon and drain on a rack or paper towel.
Preparing the Buffalo Sauce
- 3 cups Franks Red Hot
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- A quarter stick of melted butter
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Garlic powder to taste
Whisk all these elements together and toss the cooked cutlets in the buffalo sauce until evenly coated.
Recipe #2: BBQ Glazed Turkey Strips
Preparing the BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (whatever’s your fav in a bottle, or make your own, we put some instructions & ingredients for that below)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all these ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly.
Coating and Cooking
Using the same cooking method as in the Buffalo Style recipe, deep fry your buttermilk-marinated turkey strips. Once drained, toss the strips in the homemade BBQ sauce until evenly coated. Serve these BBQ glazed turkey strips with a side of coleslaw or potato salad for a satisfyingly sweet and smoky meal.
Recipe #3: Herb-Crusted Turkey Strips
Creating the Herb Crust
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Coating and Baking
Instead of deep-frying, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Dip each buttermilk-marinated turkey strip into the herb and breadcrumb mixture, making sure each piece is fully coated. Place the coated strips onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the coating is golden brown and the turkey is cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
These herb-crusted turkey strips offer a less greasy but just as delicious alternative to the previous two recipes. Serve them with a tangy marinara sauce or a creamy ranch dip for a satisfying crunch with every bite.
Remember, fellow hunters, the best part of bringing home a nice spring gobbler is the table fare. And these three recipes offer a delightful spin on your traditional turkey cooking methods. Enjoy the fruits of your hunt with these mouth-watering wild turkey strip recipes – Buffalo Style, BBQ Glazed, and Herb-Crusted!
No Buttermilk? No Problem!
Don’t have any buttermilk in your fridge? Not to worry, we have a slick trick to help you whip up some homemade buttermilk that’ll do the job just fine.
For each cup of buttermilk you need, take a cup of milk (whole milk will give you the best results, but other kinds will work in a pinch). Stir in a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll notice the milk start to curdle a bit – that’s a good thing. That’s your buttermilk right there, ready to give your wild turkey that extra tender touch.
Using this easy substitute, there’s no excuse not to give your gobbler that overnight buttermilk bath. You’ll taste the difference, trust us!
Don’t have bottled BBQ sauce? No worries! Here’s a quick homemade version:
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.
- Stir to mix well.
- Simmer over medium heat.
- Reduce to low heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken slightly. If it’s too thin, let it simmer a bit longer. If it’s too thick, add a splash of water.
This homemade BBQ sauce can be a great substitute if you don’t have any bottled sauce on hand. It’s flavorful, easy to make, and you can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste!