Turn Wild Turkey Into Terrific Table Fare

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Published on: Apr. 2, 2005

Last revision: Nov. 17, 2010

Turkey Tortilla Soup Recipe

a smoker equipped with a pan that holds water above the coals. This will provide moist heat. Stick a meat thermometer into the middle of the thickest part of the breast. When the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees, the turkey breast is done. Cooking typically takes about three to four hours. Do not cook the turkey to the 180 degree temperature recommended for domestic fowl. That much heat will dry out wild turkey meat.

When the meat is done, remove the bacon from the breasts and wrap the breast halves in several layers of aluminum foil. Then wrap them in a bath towel and place them in a small cooler. This allows the meat to retain moisture while it cools. When you are ready to serve, cut the meat into 1/2-inch strips across the grain.

Making soup

Some hunters simply cut the breast from a wild turkey carcass and throw away the rest. What a waste! Although the remaining meat may be a little too tough for most tastes, it makes a great base for flavorful soup. Here's my favorite recipe:

INGREDIENTS

1 turkey carcass with thighs and legs

2 (14.5-ounce) cans of chicken broth, plus water to cover

2 (8-ounce) cans of tomato sauce

1 large onion (finely chopped)

5 stalks celery, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 large carrots, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 tbs. fresh ground pepper

1 tbs. parsley

1 tbs. thyme

1 1/2 cup frozen peas

8 ounces of fine egg noodles

In a large soup pot, add finely chopped onion, two celery stalks, chopped bay leaves and chopped garlic clove. Remove the legs and thighs from the carcass so they fit better in the pot, then add carcass, legs and thighs, along with chicken broth, tomato sauce, garlic salt, ground pepper, parsley and thyme.

Add water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until you can easily insert a fork into the drumstick meat. Strain broth into another pot, removing the vegetables and carcass. You may have to strain twice. Return strained broth to soup pot.

Remove meat from the legs, thighs and carcass. Chop meat into fine pieces in a food processor and add to broth. Add remaining chopped celery, return to a boil and simmer, covered, for 90 minutes. Put sliced carrots in 45 minutes before finishing and 8 ounces of fine egg noodles 10 minutes before finishing. Just before serving, add frozen peas. Flavor, to taste, with seasoned salt. This soup, served with a grilled cheese sandwich, makes a tasty meal any time of year. triangle

Showcasing Turkeys

There's more to a tagged tom than just good eating. For example, you can easily convert the spurs into an eye-catching display. With a hacksaw, cut through the leg, just above and below the spur. Use a pocket knife to pry off the scales and scrape off any connective tissue. Use a small drill bit to remove any marrow, then string the spurs on a piece of rawhide. Alternate with beads of your choice. The necklace looks great at a black-powder rendezvous, or your can hang your spur collection from the rear view mirror of your vehicle or on a wall as a reminder of memorable hunts.

Many hunters use turkey feathers for wing and tail displays. If you have enough of these, offer the feathers to local Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations. They often use turkey feathers in craft projects.

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