Monday, November 26, 2012

Baked Eastern Wild Turkey

The wild turkey is native to North America. 
However, its name comes from the country Turkey because  in the 1500s, turkeys shipped from the Americas to Britain went through Constantinople and the British associated the bird with that country.  The eastern wild turkey is a subspecies of turkey that is found in the eastern United States, from Maine to northern Florida and extending west to Michigan, Illinois and Missouri. This is the kind of turkey found by the Puritans who founded Jamestown. Our domesticated turkeys actually come from the South Mexican wild turkey, a different subspecies, which were taken by the Spaniards back to Europe in the 1500s. They spread from Spain, to France and then to Britain as farm animals and eventually to the U.S. Wild turkeys can fly and run very fast and their feathers are dark colored. Domesticated turkeys can't fly or run fast. Their neck skin or wattles are heavier, and their breasts are much larger, so large that they can't mate and must be artificially inseminated. They commonly have white feathers. 
These wild turkeys were found near Mount Nebo, in central Utah, outside of Nephi.
For Thanksgiving this year we ordered an eastern wild turkey, raised in California. It came fresh with the neck and head still attached 
Eastern Wild Turkey
and weighed about 13 pounds. 
We decided to cook it the way we would a domestic turkey, with stuffing, in a bag, in the oven. Judy used a pound of wild boar sausage we had in the freezer as an ingredient for the stuffing, 
Beginnings of stuffing with a pound of wild boar sausage.
and also put slices of butter under the skin of the turkey to give it added flavor and moisture, something she read about. 
Butter slices under the skin and paprika on the outside.
I noticed that the skin was thinner than a domestic turkey and it had much less fat. The wings were also larger and I ate and enjoyed them (they are often just tossed from a domestic turkey). 
The cavity of the bird seemed smaller and the whole structure seemed different, although I could not tell you why - perhaps because of the smaller breasts. I really enjoy the tail and I found that the tail of the wild turkey, although quite large, was much less fatty. 
Plate of carved turkey.


  1. Hey! Those Nebo turkeys look very familiar!

  2. Hello Friends, we also raise Eastern Wild Turkey at our ranch for food.

  3. It was a lot of fun to eat a "more natural" Thanksgiving feast. However, you didn't include our fantastic pumpkin pie with a layer of chocolate ganache.