Buy whole animals and use all parts

Last weekend grade A turkeys were $1 a pound so I bought three fourteen pound birds.  I know a deal when I see it and normally only purchase meat when it’s on sale and then I try to get a good amount.  We have an upright freezer in the garage that’s pretty much full at all times.

I broke down the turkeys into breasts, wings, thighs and legs.  Breasts were seasoned and cooked on the barbeque, then the meat was taken off the bone: we’ll use that for sandwiches.  Wings were roasted in the oven and then put in a pot with water for soup: I removed the wings and took the meat off the bones and then added the meat back in.  I deboned the thighs, brined and smoked the meat.  It’s very much like ham or corned beef and we ate it grilled and in hash.  I “confit”ed (past tense of confit, no idea) the legs in lard but wasn’t happy with the results: turkey legs have lots of cartilage that’s difficult to remove raw and still not easily removed when cooked.  I took the meat off the bones and put it away for something.  All the bones were roasted and then into water to make stock.; later on I removed the bones and pulled all the meat off for some future use.


It was too much work for one weekend: one turkey would have been enough but it was a deal and I wanted to get everything done.  Breaking them down was very easy once I figured it out on the first bird.  Very happy with the breasts and thighs: easy to manage and cooked nicely.  The wings worked out well for soup and next time we could eat them as a main meal or as giant Buffalo wings.   Stock is always welcome and having loose meat (bones leftovers) will be nice for chili, tacos, soup,  shepherds pie, etc.  The legs I’ll have to work on: getting the meat off raw would let me make sausage or whatever else ground turkey could apply to.  Nothing went to waste.

Thighs after two hours of smoke

I did the same thing last year with a whole pig:  received it in ten pieces from the abbetoir, took all the meat and made stock with the bones after roasting them.