After a long winter, spring gobbler season is the hunting equivalent of spring break for college students. It is a great cure for cabin fever and offers hunters a nice change of pace from eating venison for several months. A single wild turkey can provide several meals and can be prepared using a wide variety of cooking styles. This is especially true if you’re willing to use every part of your turkey. Don’t be the lazy hunter who only pulls the breast meat. In some states, wanton waste laws make it illegal to do so, but more importantly, you’ll be missing out on some great meals.
Here are some of our favorite MeatEater recipes to try out after you bag your bird:
Whole and Half Birds
Plucking a turkey is well worth the effort if you plan on cooking a whole bird. We also like to halve plucked turkeys by splitting them down the backbone and through the middle of the breast. This allows for different preparations and makes transporting and storing your bird easier. Wild turkeys aren’t as fat or moist as domestic birds so it’s important to keep the skin on whole and half birds to prevent them from drying out during cooking.
The edible organs from a turkey are definitely worth keeping. They make a nice camp appetizer after a long day in the turkey woods.
Carcass and Neck
Don’t toss your bony turkey carcass after you’ve butchered your bird. You can also save the neck if it’s not too shot up. Using the carcass and neck allows you to get even more meals out of your gobbler.
Wild turkeys are fun and challenging to hunt and they’re also delicious critters that offer wild game chefs a wide array of cooking opportunities. When a gobbler sounds off just over the hill, those early morning rise times and long spring days in the woods will be well worth the effort when it’s time for a trophy meal.