From Beard to Bones: Ideas for Whole Turkey Utilization

by Caroline Hatchett
November 2011

Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa of Ideas in Food break down the best uses for each part of your Thanksgiving turkey.

Legs: Remove the tendons (and reserve), and grind the meat for turkey sausage to use in stuffed turkey neck.

Neck: Bone and braise or confit the neck. Stuff the neck with turkey sausage, poach at 60°C, and fry it to crisp the skin. Coat the stuffed neck with a spicy glaze, and slice for canapé.

Thighs: Incorporate the meat into a turduckin terrine, cooked at 62°C for one and half hours. Or grind for Thanksgiving meatballs.

Breasts: Brine and roast one bone-in breast (for a couple of hours at 60°C in a CVap), and cut crosswise through the bone to make turkey t-bones. Remove one breast from the bone and cook it (in brine, turkey fat, or olive oil) to use for leftovers, like turkey salad.

Tenderloins: Bond them with transglutaminase and cook gently.

Wings: Smoke the wings with a smoking gun or in a Bradley smoker. Then cook sous vide until tender. Remove the bone from the wing, fry the meat, and lacquer with Asian spices and carrot ketchup.

Carcass: Roast the bones and scrap meat, and make a stock in a pressure cooker. Talbot re-emulsifies the turkey fat using a Soniprep homogenizer, adding xanthan gum and gum Arabic to thicken. 

Leg tendons: Add the tendons to the turkey stock to increase collagen levels.

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