As popular and delicious as wild turkey is, it has some downfalls. They are often tougher and have less breast meat than farm-raised birds because they have not been exposed to hormones or a consistently fattening diet. While wild turkey does have that gamier taste, by simply adjusting the cooking and eating process can make it real treat.

PREPARATION

When most people eat wild turkey, they are also responsible for hunting it. This means that they must know how to prepare the carcass first. Begin by boiling an oversized pot of water. There should be enough room that the entire turkey can be placed inside without overflowing the pot. Dip the turkey in the boiling water. The feathers can then easily be plucked. Cut off the head, cut the feet at the joints, and clean out the intestinal cavity.

This preparation process is similar to that of any other wild animal that is going to be consumed. Most skilled hunters will already be familiar with this, and simply pass the finished product on to be cooked to perfection.

BAKED TURKEY

Cooking wild turkey is similar to cooking a store bought turkey. One aspect that is different is that it needs to be basted much more frequently so that it does not dry out. Some people choose to put the turkey into a specialized ovenproof plastic bag, but some report that this method cooks the turkey to fast. Here is one recipe for the average sized wild turkey that has received virtually no complaints.

Ingredients

• 10-12 lb wild turkey
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoon pepper
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 lb pork sausage
• 1 ½ quart soft bread crumbs
• 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Bacon or melted bacon fat

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Determine how long the turkey will need to cook. It will cook 20 to 25 minutes for each pound.
3. After the wild turkey has been prepared for cooking, season it with salt and pepper both on the inside and outside.
4. Set the turkey aside and begin making the stuffing. Begin by cooking the onion with the sausage in a hot skillet for about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the skillet from the heat, and add all the remaining ingredients except for the bacon. If the stuffing seems to dry, moisten it with a little bit of hot water.
6. Stuff the mixture into the wild turkey.
7. Place the turkey with its breast facing down in a pan. Leave it uncovered.
8. Roast the wild turkey for half of the total time that was determined in step 2.
9. After it has cooked for half the time breast down, turn the turkey so that its breast is facing up.
10. Lay the strips of bacon across the turkey breast, or dip a cloth in bacon fat and drape it over the turkey.
11. Finish roasting the wild turkey for the second half of the cooking time.
12. Wild turkey should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be able to pierce the thickest part of the breast with ease, and no red tint or juices should appear.
13. Allow the turkey to sit for 10 to 15 minutes for the juices to settle.

This is a very popular method of baking wild turkeys. Although it is generally the same as a commercial turkey recipe, the addition of bacon or fat prevents it from drying out. Some people choose an alternative route for their wild turkey. They may chop it up right away to create a casserole. Others choose to deep-fry their turkey. However, this baked wild turkey recipe is ideal for beginners.

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