Recipe Video: Wild Turkey Leg Poutine

Do you toss the legs from your wild turkey harvest? If so, it’s time to up your culinary game with this Wild Turkey Leg Poutine recipe.

Recipe Video: Wild Turkey Leg Poutine

Confession: I used to carve out the plump breasts of a wild turkey and then toss the rest. I tried cooking the legs from my first couple gobblers, but because I didn’t have a clue on how to cook them properly, I was left with tendon-filled bites of yuck.

That was before I met my good buddy Josh Dahkle. While Josh is an avid hunter for everything from ducks and crows to deer and elk, his favorite species to pursue is wild turkey. He’s killed them in Mexico, south Florida, Texas, the Midwest and just about every other well-known turkey destination in North America. (I think Hawaii is still on his turkey hunting bucket list.) Josh excels as a turkey hunter, but he’s just as good when it comes to cooking his birds.

Josh Dahkle loves hunting — and eating — wild turkeys. (Photo by Luke Koch.)
Josh Dahkle loves hunting — and eating — wild turkeys. (Photo by Luke Koch.)

I remember when I told Josh that I didn’t keep the turkey legs from a recent bow-killed South Dakota gobbler. Shaking his head, he said, “Dude. Dude. You can’t do that. Turkey legs are easy to cook, and their delicious if you cook them correctly. Promise me you’ll keep them the next time, and I’ll give you tips on preparation. You won’t be sorry.”

In the video below, Josh Dahlke explains how to butcher a wild turkey to maximize the amount of meat.
In the video below, Josh Dahlke explains how to butcher a wild turkey to maximize the amount of meat.

In the NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation) video below, you’ll see several of the cooking tips Josh provided to me several years ago for preparing wild turkey legs. This specific recipe is for Wild Turkey Leg Poutine (pronounced poo-teen). This dish is native to Quebec, and if you’ve ever traveled to Canada, you probably learned that the locals love to pour gravy on French fries. Poutine is essentially French fries smothered with brown gravy and cheese, typically cheese curds. But there are no rules in the kitchen, and you can load up poutine with just about anything you desire, and that includes the juicy and flavorful meat from wild turkey legs.

Below the video is a list of ingredients, followed by the instructions, for Josh Dahlke’s Wild Turkey Leg Poutine. Don’t worry about taking notes during the 29-minute how-to video. Watch it to learn the main points, then refer back to the recipe when you’re ready to make it yourself.

Viewing note: If you want to skip Josh’s tips on butchering a turkey, then fast-forward to the 7-minute mark of the video.

Wild Turkey Leg Poutine Ingredients

  • 1 full wild turkey leg
  • peanut oil
  • Camp Chef Mango Chipotle rub
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 minced white or yellow onion
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 4-6 russet potatoes, sliced into matchsticks/fries
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • orange juice
  • ginger ale
  • shredded cheese
  • minced herb blend (sage, rosemary, thyme)
  • minced chives

Braising a Wild Turkey Leg

Braising is one of the best ways to prepare any type of wild game, especially the more “challenging” cuts. Nothing fancy here — just a simple process to break down the muscle fibers and keep the meat moist.

  1. Let the turkey leg rest until it’s close to room temperature. Dry it with paper towels.
  2. Coat entire leg with Camp Chef Mango Chipotle Rub.
  3. Heat a liberal amount of peanut oil (approx. 1 cup) in a cast-iron Dutch oven on medium-high.
  4. Brown turkey leg on both sides. Remove from Dutch oven.
  5. Add minced garlic and onions to the hot oil. Sauté until golden in color.
  6. Re-add browned turkey leg to Dutch oven. Submerge halfway with equal mixture of ginger ale and orange juice.
  7. Place sliced lemon across entire turkey leg.
  8. Cover the Dutch oven and slow cook at 250 degrees for 3 hours.
  9. When finished, the turkey leg will be fork tender. Remove from Dutch oven and allow to cool in separate bowl.
  10. Remove meat from bones and tendons, being careful to watch for shot/pellets and discard accordingly.

Making Gravy

  1. Strain juices from Dutch oven to remove solids, then re-add liquid to Dutch oven.
  2. Whisk in flour (approx. 1/4 cup) to thicken into gravy.

Making French Fries

  1. Soak sliced potatoes in water bath for 1-3 hours. This will help to remove starchiness.
  2. Remove from water bath, dry, and warm to room temperature.
  3. Submerge in hot peanut oil for 15-20 seconds. Remove.
  4. Fry again in hot peanut oil until golden brown. (Frying twice makes the fries crispier.) Remove and put in separate bowl.
  5. Coat fries in salt.

Putting It All Together

Dump your pile of fresh French fries on a big plate. Cover fries with shredded turkey meat, hot gravy and shredded cheese, followed by minced herbs and chives.

It’s time to get messy!
It’s time to get messy!
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