Honey Sriracha Turkey Jerky | Great Days Outdoors

Photo by: Joe Baya

How many of you toss the legs, thighs, and wings of the wild turkeys you take? Not you, you say? Well, maybe you know a guy. If you aren’t using the dark meat of your hard earned birds, you’re letting a delicious, lean protein source go to the varmints. My wife recently killed an eastern wild turkey, and the boneless, skinless yield was as follows:

Live weight – 14.7 lbs

Breast – 3.86 lbs (26%)

Thighs – 1.47 lbs (10%)

Drumsticks – 1.22 lbs (8%)

Wings and trimmings – 0.9 lbs (6%)

If we had only breasted out this turkey, we would have tossed 3.59 pounds (24%) of her prize. Don’t do that! Your depression era elders would not approve! Sure it takes more time, but did you really need to check Facebook for the 37th time today? If you use the recipe below, you will never let those “tough old legs” go to the scavengers again.

Honey Sriracha Turkey Jerky

Ingredients:

3# Ground Wild Turkey (Dark meat)

4.5 Tbsp Honey

4.5 Tbsp Sriracha Chili Sauce (I used Ninja Squirrel, because the name is AWESOME, but I also like Lee Kum Kee)

1.5 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Directions:

  1. Kill a wild turkey. At times turkeys do not want to cooperate with step 1, so you may substitute store bought turkey. (I don’t recommend using store bought ground turkey for jerky. If you must buy your turkey, buy whole cuts and grind them yourself)

    The author’s wife, Stephanie, with her first turkey. Taken with a Remington 870 20 gauge, Federal Heavyweight #7’s, and a Truglo SSX Strut Stopper Xtreme.

  2. Skin the turkey and debone the drumsticks, thighs, and wings. Pay special attention to the drumsticks as they are full of tendons. A filet knife works best for this job.
  3. Run the meat through a meat grinder twice. Coarse grind first, then fine grind. I use the kitchenaid grinder attachment for my wife’s standalone mixer. Notice I said the mixer belongs to my wife, no self respecting outdoorsman would admit he has a standalone mixer.




    Don’t worry about removing every little piece of silver skin. There isn’t much and you won’t notice the difference in the final product.

  4. Mix all of the ingredients together using a potato masher and let it sit in the fridge for an hour (or overnight) to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

    For even more flavor, use a honey local to the region where the bird was taken. Since this bird was taken in Northwest Florida, I used orange blossom honey. (I would like to insert a story here about the farmer’s market that I went to where I spoke to my local apiarist but I confess, I bought it at Publix.)

  5. Take a break! You’ve earned it. 
  6. Stuff into a jerky gun and squeeze into even strips on dehydrator racks. I use “The Judge” Artisan Jerky Gun

    Allow enough space between your strips so that air can circulate.

  7. Place in your dehydrator or into your oven until the jerky breaks upon bending, but does not snap. I used my oven, set on 170 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wooden spoon wedged in the door to allow air to circulate. It took about 8 hours with this very scientific method. You could also use your smoker if you wish to impart a smoky flavor to the jerky. Times will vary depending on a multitude of factors, so you’ll want to do this on a day when you can check the jerky periodically for “doneness.”
  8. Once the jerky is complete, I store it in plastic bags in individual portions in the freezer. Freezing prevents any worry of bacteria forming. It will thaw very quickly and is great for a quick breakfast or snack.

Not quite done, but we’re getting closer. I thought turkey was white meat?

This is my favorite way to use the dark meat of the wild turkey. Let me know how this turns out for you in the comments.

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