One of the best things about hunting is providing fresh wild game for yourself and your family. Knowing that the meat on your table was ethically sourced and harvested through your own hard work should give you a sense of pride. Fall turkey hunting season just ended in Minnesota, so we hope you had a successful season and bagged the bird you were looking for. We’ll give you some pointers on how to clean and cook that gobbler you just harvested for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Though the fall turkey season just closed here in Minnesota, it’s just beginning in other areas of the country. If you’re getting ready to go out on your fall turkey hunt, our Stump blinds will keep you comfortable in the crisp fall air that will quickly fall to colder winter temperatures. Our Stump blinds are tightly sealed to keep sound and scent inside the blind, which means it also keeps the weather elements out. You’ll need to make sure you’re dressed comfortably and warmly according to the weather for your trek to the blind, but once you’re in the blind you can begin to shed some layers and get comfortable, especially if you have a heater inside the blind.
Steps for cleaning a turkey will differ depending on whether you’re cooking the turkey whole, or only cooking parts of the meat.
If you’re going to cook the turkey whole, you’ll want to pluck the feathers off the turkey before you do anything else. You can remove the feathers by placing the bird in hot water and plucking once the feathers are easier to remove. Once you’ve plucked the turkey, you’ll want to field dress it by cutting from the breast to the anus, cutting a circle around the anus, and removing all the entrails and internal organs. Be careful not to puncture any of the organs or entrails. Then, wash out the inside of the turkey and drain it before cooking. You can keep the gizzard heart and liver to use in the gravy or the stuffing, if you’d like.
If you’re not cooking it whole, you can skin the turkey by placing a cut at the breastbone and pulling the skin away. Once you’ve removed the skin, you’ll pull out the breast meat by cutting along the breastbone to separate it into two pieces. Follow the line of one side of the bone, cutting the breast away as you go. Then, repeat the process on the other side of the breastbone. Finally, you’ll remove the leg and thigh meat by popping out the thigh joint.
According to Southern Living, you can use a low-and-slow method of roasting the turkey, or you can use a higher temperature for a faster roast. They recommend cooking a turkey at 325°F the whole time for the low-and-slow method or starting at 425°F for the first 45 minutes of cook time, then switching to 350°F to finish off the roast for the quicker method. The slower method is lower maintenance, but the faster method tends to produce a golden skin and more moist meat. Either way, they recommend cooking an unstuffed turkey at 13 minutes per pound and a stuffed turkey at 15 minutes per pound and brushing the turkey with olive oil or butter every 20 minutes. No matter how big the bird and how long you cook it, the internal temperature of the bird should be at least 165°F when it’s done.
After harvesting a bird from your Stump blind, hopefully these tips will help you present a delicious and meaningful holiday turkey for your Thanksgiving meal.
How do you clean and cook a turkey for Thanksgiving? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!