He said it couldn’t be done.
My friend and editor of Outdoor Life, Alex Robinson, admired my Wisconsin gobbler that we had tag-teamed an hour earlier. “Do you ever keep the wings to eat?” he asked. Ashamedly, I responded, “Nah, man. To be honest, I’ve never even thought about it.” Alex explained that he had previously tried to cook wild turkey wings, but it was a failure. “If you can figure that out, let me know!” he challenged. Challenge accepted.
I removed the wings from my gobbler and started getting to work on plucking feathers. It’s a formidable task at first, but really it’s not too bad. Like any plucking job, when plucking wing feathers just pull small clumps of the feathers against the grain and be sure to grab them close enough to the skin. Then you’ll crack the joints on each side so you’re left with the “wing,” which is actually composed of two pieces: the drumette and wingette. For common purposes, we just call both pieces wings. Of course, a wild turkey’s wings are much larger than a chicken’s, so I find it best to separate the drumette from the wingette for cooking and serving. Paired with sides, two pieces are reasonable for one adult.
Effectively preparing wild turkey wings is a process, so I recommend collecting wings from two or more birds and cook them all at once to make the endeavor worthwhile. But no matter what, with this recipe it’s definitely worthwhile. It’s a bold assertion, but I’d put these up against the tastiest buffalo chicken wings you could find.
- Wild turkey wings
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Peanut oil
- Organic chicken broth (or wild turkey stock)
- Buffalo sauce (Homemade recommendation: Blend Louisiana Hot Sauce, Tabasco, and Sriracha to desired taste. Add 1 tbsp. butter.)
- With paper towels, pat dry thawed turkey wings and coat with an even mixture of smoked paprika and garlic powder. Let wings reach room temperature.
- Brown pieces on all sides in a well-oiled skillet, being careful not to crowd the pieces (to avoid steaming). Remove skillet from heat source.
- Submerge pieces 1/3 in skillet with broth. Cover and cook in 300-degree oven for 3 hours. Remove from oven and cool in covered container overnight.
- Dip pieces in beaten eggs. Coat in mixture of smoked paprika, garlic and flour.
- Deep fry wings until crispy. (Remember, the wings are already cooked so frying time will be short.)
- Toss fried wings in buffalo sauce and serve with celery, carrots and ranch or bleu cheese.