Whenever you think of turkey, the first thing that comes to your mind is Thanksgiving. But what about wild turkey? Have you ever eaten that before? Unlike domestic and commercially raised turkeys, this particular turkey is not cooked during Thanksgiving. But you can give it a try any time you want. Are you concerned about what wild turkey tastes like? As someone who has eaten various kinds of turkeys, I can easily differentiate wild turkey for its distinctive flavor. So let’s make a flavor profile out of wild turkey, shall we?
What does Wild Turkey taste like?
Can you recall eating the dark meat of a domestic turkey? Wild turkey tastes pretty similar to that. Many experts suggest that it has a richer and a bit more intense flavor. Best known for its slight gaminess, people sure do love wild turkey when it comes to bird meat. Overall, the wild turkey is extremely tasty with a hint of sweetness to it.
As for texture, it has a firmer texture compared to your typical turkey. The toughness or tenderness of the meat depends on the age, type of food they eat, and their activities. Generally, wild turkey roams in the wilderness and their activities include using their muscles a lot. Hence, the meat is lean and a little on the tough and dry side.
Unlike the Thanksgiving turkeys, wild turkeys have small-sized breasts and so, when cooking, they lose the moisture pretty fast and end up getting dry. You can season the breasts with your favorite spices, cut them into pieces, and fry them for healthy, delicious snacks or sides.
You can also make main dishes out of that. For that, you need to brine the meat to retain the moisture and make it soft, juicy, and tender. With proper recipes and certain techniques, the breast piece can be turned into an excellent steak. It will taste like a good old chicken steak in your mouth with the richness of turkey.
Because the muscles of wild turkeys are more developed (due to their higher physical activities), the meat of their legs, thighs, and wings are a bit chewier. Let’s not forget the darker color of meat. So what if you deep fry them? They will taste just amazing! I personally love to eat wild turkey leg fries. If you don’t mind your meat being a bit chewy then you will definitely love eating the flavorsome pieces of wild turkey. So what is the hack? The low and slow cooking method is the way to go to tenderize the wings, thighs, and legs.
There is no doubt that wild turkeys are as delectable as regular turkeys. Some may even find it more appetizing. If you try it for the first time and find it less delicious than you have expected, it’s probably because of the gaminess of the meat. The meat tends to dry up pretty easily which can be another red flag for you. I am not saying this is the best tasting meat in the world, but if you go hunting and can successfully shoot a wild turkey, consider it your lucky day!
Are wild turkeys all dark meat?
Indeed, wild turkeys are well-recognized for having darker-colored meat. But the question remains— is it entirely dark meat? The answer is, No. Because the legs, thighs, and wings are used more frequently for movements, they are more developed and while developing, they get darker. To me the dark parts of the wild turkey taste like Cornish duck or hen. It also tastes pretty bruised. Do you get the idea of what I’m talking about?
The breast pieces, on the other hand, are white and not as firm as other parts. Wild turkeys hardly ever fly. The only breast muscle is used when they flap their wings. And so, the white-colored meat consists of fast-twitch muscle fibers. If you are going for a stronger flavor, you should eat the leg or thigh pieces instead of the breasts.
Does wild turkey taste better than domestic turkey?
Yes and No. Yeah, I know, confusing! But do they taste different? Yes, they clearly do. We all have different taste buds. Some might find domestic turkeys tastier than wild turkeys while others won’t. Majority of people who have consumed wild turkey at least once claim that domestic turkeys are better tasting because they are more tender and juicy. But that is just a study. It is entirely up to you which one you would prefer and for that, you gotta try both of them first. Only after that, you can say which one you like better, don’t you think?
Is it safe to eat wild turkey?
It is completely safe to eat wild turkey. The breasts, legs, thighs, and wings are absolutely luscious. You can also safely eat the cooked giblets. So when you’re cleaning the bird for a feast, you should save the neck, heart, liver, and gizzard. You can also serve the giblets and any other meat parts to your pet dog and they will love it. Wild turkey may not be as tender as a slow-cooked brisket, but it surely is scrumptious.
I can understand how puzzling it can be when you’re trying something you’ve never tried before. As for the wild turkey, remember this small hack— if you’re opting for tenderness instead of flavor, go for the breast piece of a wild turkey. If you’re in for the richness of its flavor, the thighs or legs should get the job done. As simple as that. Don’t forget to let me know whether you enjoyed it or not. Until then, good luck and Bon Appetit!