Alternative Thanksgiving Meats: Wild Turkey

Tired of turkey? Replace the bird with one of these four sustainable wild meats (plus one vegan alternative)

Turkey soup

Avoid tough turkey by cooking your bird in liquid.     Photo: Courtesy of Steve Hickoff

“Wild turkey is more turkey than a turkey can be,” says bird hunting expert and blogger for Realtree Outdoors Steve Hickoff. Darker and leaner than their farmed brethren, over seven million wild Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, Gould’s, and Merriam’s turkeys wander throughout the continental forests of the United States. Part of the fun of wild turkey meat is that it lacks the homogeneity of traditional turkey, so each part requires a different treatment. The birds are surprisingly un-gamey, so Hickoff's favorite recipe is more about keeping the almost fat-free meat moist. A farmed Bourbon red is a close second to the wild version if you don't have time to pick up your shotgun.

WILD TURKEY BARLEY SOUP
1. After cubing 1 cup of turkey breast meat, wrap it in plastic wrap and use a meat hammer to gently tenderize the cubes.
2. In a medium pot, brown turkey and 1 cup of chopped yellow onions in cooking oil.
3. Stir in 4 cups of chicken broth or reserved wild turkey broth, and bring to a medium boil.
4. Add 1 cup of barley, 1 cup of frozen corn (or other vegetables), salt and black and red pepper.
5. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring as needed.

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