Wild Turkey Cleaning

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Cleaning a Turkey

First time turkey hunters are often intimidated when it comes time to clean the the first turkey they shoot. Wild Turkey just like a chicken, pheasant or duck are most often cleaned using one of two basic approaches:

Plucking A Wild Turkey- If you want to help keep the moisture in the turkey while cooking it whole, then you should pluck the bird. Remove feathers from the turkey just as you would pluck a chicken. This method does take more time than skinning and it is messy.

How to Clean and Cook a Wild Turkey

People have been hunting wild turkeys (Meleagris galapavo) for thousands of years. Early settlers in the southeast learned from Native Americans how to build calls and use them to mimic a female turkey. This assistance helped them become more proficient at killing turkeys. In Alabama, turkey numbers were depleted in the early 1900s. Protection and restocking efforts of the Eastern wild turkey in the 1950s resulted in an explosion of interest in turkey hunting.

Plucking Your Wild Turkey

The traditional way to clean a wild turkey is to pluck the feathers off and then gut the bird. This will keep the skin on the turkey which will give it more moisture and flavor after you cook it. You can also save the "giblets" (heart, liver, gizzard) from the bird and make a traditional turkey gravy later when you cook it.

It is preferable to pluck the turkey before removing the entrails. This keeps feathers from getting inside the bird cavity and in general keeps things cleaner.

How to Clean Your Wild Turkey

Your hunt is over and this time you, instead of that ole gobbler, came out on top. You admired the turkey, taken some pictures... now the fun is over and the work begins. What you do next will determine if you have as good an experience on the plate as you just had in the woods.

Cleaning your turkey is fairly simple and there is more than one way to skin a ca.. I mean pluck a turkey! Follow these steps and the cleaning should be relatively quick and easy.