Overcooking a wild turkey will result in a dry and tasteless bird. A farm-raised domestic turkey derives more than thirty percent of its calories from fat. The wild bird has only 1 percent total fat…quite a difference. The best way to avoid overcooking any turkey – wild or domestic – is to use a meat thermometer and roast it with the breast down. While most game cookbooks recommend removing wild turkey from the oven when the thermometer reaches 180 degrees or more, in my opinion this will ruin it. Take it out at 145 to 150 degrees, let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes and enjoy a tender and juicy treat.
Apple Roasted Wild Turkey
- 1 wild turkey wiped dry with paper towels and liberally seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 medium red onions roughly chopped
- 8 – 10 garlic cloves smashed
- 6 tart apples such as Granny Smith cored and cut into wedges
- 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons flour
- In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in half of the butter until onions are translucent. Pour contents of skillet into a large roasting pan. Mix in apples. Set turkey, breast side down in pan, using apples and onions to prop up bird so that it does not fall over. Add apple juice, wine and chicken broth. Cover well with foil and roast in a 325 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes per pound. When the meat thermometer reaches about 135 degrees, flip the bird over and remove the foil. Remove the bird from the oven when the meat thermometer reads 145 to 150 degrees. Set the bird on a carving platter. Strain the liquid from the roasting pan through a strainer into a large bowl. Heat remaining butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in flour to make a roux. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes while stirring. Gradually whisk in about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of the strained liquid (you may need to add additional chicken broth) until gravy is of desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Slice turkey and serve with gravy on the side.