Video: 6 Steps to Properly Clean a Wild Turkey
OutdoorHub Reporters 04.20.17
Don’t look now, but turkey season is right around the corner. Before you know it, we’ll be sitting in the woods, shotgun in hand, observing the sights and sounds as the forest slowly wakes up around us.
So, as you run through your pre-turkey season checklist, make sure to plan ahead for when it’s your time to clean a bird – Even if you’re a “seasoned vet” in cleaning wild birds, a little refresher never hurt.
You can either skin or pluck a wild turkey, with a few variations in between. As the video below from our friends at Mossy Oak shows, one of the most common and easiest ways is to skin the turkey and then remove the meat in a way that it can easily be cooked to perfection.
Of course, before you get started, you’ll need a good sharp knife and a clean flat surface. It’s also helpful to have gallon-size freezer bags on hand, as well as a garbage bag to discard the carcass when finished.
Below are six steps to can get that juicy turkey on the table in no time. And yes, you’ll also learn the easiest ways to remove the tail fan, beard and spurs so you can have a memory of your bird for years to come.
Step 1, Remove the Beard:
The beard can be pulled away from the breast and carefully cut away. After removing it, you’ll need to remove any excess tissue.
Steps 2, Remove the Spurs:
Apply pressure to the turkey knee joint until the joint pops loose. Then, you should be able to easily separate the skin with a sharp knife.
Step 3, Remove the Fan:
Hold on to the base of the tail and cut just below the lump of meat that holds the fan feathers together.
Step 4, Skin the Bird:
Start by laying down the turkey breast side up. Make a small cut through the skin along the top of the breast bone. Slowly pull the skin away from the breast and legs.
Step 5, Remove the Breast Meat:
Locate the breast bone and make a cut down one side of the bone to loosen the breast meat. Pull breast meat away from bone while cutting along the breast bone to remove in one piece. Repeat this process on the other side of the breast bone to remove the other breast.
Step 6, Remove the Leg and Thigh Meat:
With the turkey placed on its back, apply pressure down on the thigh until you feel the joint pop loose. Run your knife between thigh and turkey body until the leg quarter releases from the body.