Using Wild Turkey Legs & Thighs
By: Nick Charney
As the 2021 season comes to a close, with the last two weeks across the farthest northern parts of the country, that feeling of “turkey depression” starts to set in. If you’re like us, you cant help but reminisce about the good, the bad, and ultimately if you could just have one more day.
Luckily, there’s no better way to honor and remember each bird by making a meal from them and sharing with others. While almost everyone has their favorite way to fry, bake, or smoke the breast meat, all too often the legs, thighs and wings get over looked. Like any table fare, especially wild game, its all about how its prepared.
In this article, we’ll detail how to use the legs and thighs (add the wings as well if you like) to make “Turkey Ramen.” Our dear friend Greg Maher from Meadow Creek Mounts tipped us on to this, and if you love it as much as we do, we’re sure it will become a staple in your rotation and making sure you grab every next leg, thigh and wing possible. This recipe can use either an InstaPot (Pressure Cooker) or a standard Crock Pot.
Like all recipes online, we’ll spare you the life story behind it and dive right in so you can get to eating.
***This recipe will comfortably feed 2-3 people. Feel free to scale it as you sit fit for you and your family or season how you wish.
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 2-3 hours with InstaPot (18-24 with standard Crock Pot)
OPTIONAL FOR GARNISH:
OPTIONAL: If you have the time prior, brining the meat tends to soften it a bit and make the meat a bit more mild. If you choose to, we like to brine the legs 12-24 hours prior in a mixture of salt and sugar.
For the brine: Add some luke warm water to a bowl and stir in 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of salt. Afterwards, add the legs with thighs attached into the bowl, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Once done, remove water, rinse the meat and do one final inspection for any lingering feathers or sinu. Pat dry the meat and set aside.
Once ready, add the legs into the InstaPot or Crock Pot and cover with the chicken broth. You can also substitute water instead if desired. Add just enough liquid to cover the meat. Add the 10 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ of the sweet yellow onion sliced thin, julienned carrots, mushrooms, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, salt, pepper, paprika, ½ cup of basil leaves, parsley and oregano.
Cook for 2 hours in the InstaPot (18 hours in standard Crock Pot)
When done, put the meat and bones out. All those tendons will slide out of the meat like toothpicks. Keep the liquid in the pot at this point. Separate all the meat from the bones and tendons and set aside to shred with a fork. Be sure to do a good inspection as there is a lot of tendons in the meat, however they are usually easy to find and come right out.
OPTIONAL: Should you want to add a little more flavor, take the bones and crack them open to expose the bone marrow. CAUTION: Be careful as these bones are a bit tough to break and may fragment on breaking creating a hazard. Place the cracked bone segments with bone marrow exposed back into the InsaPot for 1 hour (6 Hours in standard Crock Pot)
When the meat is separated, and whether or not you choose to use the bone marrow step above, use a fine strainer to strain off all the liquid and save for the noodle broth. You will need approximately 5 cups of liquid, if its short, add some water or chicken broth to get the required 5 cups of broth.
Slice ¼ of the yellow sweet onion thin, add it to the broth and bring to a boil. Add the Ramen noodles and the 2 packs of flavor seasoning. Feel free to use the chicken or beef flavor, we like to add one of each. This is also optional as the broth already has a ton of flavor but is personal preference. After the noodles have boiled for about 3-5 minutes, or until tender, pull the noodles and toss with the butter.
After all the noodles are pulled, add some of your shredded meat back into the broth to get it heated back up.
Pour your desired amount of broth (1-2 cups) into a bowl, add your desired amount of noodles, meat and garnish how you please. We included the list of optional garnishes above for your consideration. Personally, we like to use all of them.
Now your ready to eat! Enjoy!!!!