Having a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner or other occasion is a cause for celebration. Although we love venison roasts, steaks, and hamburger, with a wild turkey you get the whole bird smack dab in the middle of your hungry crowd and what better platform to retell the story, maybe with a bit of “stuffing” to spice the interest? Turkey is one of America’s best foods and remarkably inexpensive if you compare it to other protein sources. It’s low in fat, cholesterol, and an excellent health food, particularly if the birds was taken in the wild which assures it was not fed growth hormones, antibiotics, and other foreign substances that have crept into our food supply.

crealtree-thanksgiving-2Cooking a wild turkey for maximum deliciousness takes some forethought. Unlike the buttered up version, there will be no magic button that pops up when the bird is done and you’ll need to avoid the same temptation that faces venison chefs- overcooking. Because that bird was a wild and lean creature, it’s fat reserves are low and it’s easy to have the meat come out dry, particularly the breast. It’s also a good idea to cook a bird with additional options in mind. The legs and thighs of a wild turkey can be tough, yet have more taste than white meat to many palates. These cust are excellent for stews, soups, and “chicken” salad. Wild turkey is an amazingly healthy source of protein and you don’t want any to go to waste.

Wild turkey can be a teaching time as well. If you have non-hunters at your table, this is a perfect example of why we hunt. Thankfully, Walt Disney didn’t make a motion picture of a cute young turkey growing up and spared us that explanation. Wild turkeys are fun to hunt and equally satisfying to eat and Steve Hickoff offers his best suggestions to maximize your table enjoyment.

Cooking wild turkey you’ve hunted and tagged extends the experience by putting food on your family’s table. It adds meaning to Thanksgiving Day. Realtree’s Timber 2 Table blogger Michael Pendley is an avid wild turkey hunter, father of three hunters, and husband to another. He knows his way around a wild game kitchen and is easily one of the top food bloggers in the business. We happen to think he’s the best.

Please check out my top five favorite Timber 2 Table turkey recipes in this blog photo gallery.