A wild turkey on the kitchen table ready for processing. Plucking is easier when the bird is still warm with body heat. This process will take about 30-minutes.
A video, 3-Minute Cleaning and Cooking a Wild Turkey, is now up on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDap_ElSlRI . A series of still photos and narration will take you through the cleaning and cooking of a wild turkey.
Although is expedient to take only the breast meat and leg quarters, turkey plucking is only about a 30-minute job if the carcass is still warm with body heat. This yields a bird that it fit to serve as a holiday meal and, when cooked correctly, does credit to both the hunter and the bird. Like almost all wild meat, cooking with moisture is the best way to produce tasty products.
Keep in mind that this wild fowl is not pre-injected with butter, salt water and preservatives. It is a healthy, natural meat; but it will not taste quite like the “flavor enhanced” turkeys from the store.
I utilize almost all of the turkey. The breasts are used for cut meat, the other meat is taken off the carcass to be used in turkey-pot pies and the carcass and any remaining meat is used in turkey soup or turkey hash. My adult dogs enjoy the bones. However; DO NOT feed turkey bones to a puppy. He can have small portions of meat and gristle, but his teeth and body are not developed enough to process splintery bones.
The feathers from the fan are used to refurbish some of my turkey decoys and the wing ends are dried and used to make fly-down noises and scratching sounds in dry leaves. Others fletch their homemade arrows with turkey feathers and may even used other feathers in fishing flys or in craft projects. I also make a traditional turkey call from the wing bones of young turkeys.
More detailed instructions are in my books, Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound and Crossbow Hunting. Backyard Deer Hunting is now available in hardcover, soft cover and in all E-book formats. These may be ordered from on-line retailers, and from a link on my website, www.hoveysmith.com, where you will also be able to find out about my other books and projects, biographical information and much else.