When I started turkey hunting it seemed to be common consensus that wild turkey legs and thighs were tough and inedible. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Upon hearing that some people do eat them I tried to grill and smoke some, and they were as tough as shoe leather. The legs and thighs are loaded with tendons and ligaments, and once you figure out how to cook them and separate out the meat, the possibilities are endless. A great way to start any wild turkey leg and thigh dish is to cook the legs and thighs for 18-24 hours in a crock pot, covered in water and seasoned to taste. After that, simply separate the meat from the hardened tendons and bones and you have clean, dark, shredded meat that can be used for ramen, tacos, turkey salad, and so many more dishes.
While struggling to find good ramen locally, I decided to make my own and I thought there was no better way to do it than with wild turkey dark meat and natural bone broth.
(Recipe submission photo by Greg Maher)
- 2 wild turkey legs
- 2 wild turkey thighs
- Water to cover legs and thighs
- 1⁄4 lb Pork fat or pork belly
- 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
- 1⁄4 cup mirin
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 4 broth packages from instant ramen (if you want to get fancy, the Nongshim Shin Noodle
- available on Amazon is recommended but not required, any instant ramen works)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 10 ounce bag of julienned carrots
- 4 Boiled Eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 4 packs of instant ramen, noodles only as broth packets were used in the broth
- 1⁄2 cup salted butter
- Green onions - sliced
- Marinated eggs from above - sliced in half
- Fresh Basil
- Canned Corn
- Bamboo Shoots
- Bean Sprouts
- Into a crock pot (or Instant Pot), place all of the broth ingredients into a crock pot of Instant Pot. Cook for 18 hours (2 hours in Instant Pot set on high).
- Boil 4 eggs to your desired doneness.
- Peel the boiled eggs and place into the marinade. Refrigerate for 3-6 hours. Remove from the marinade and slice then refrigerate.
- Remove the turkey legs and thighs from the crock pot and place onto a large dish. Separate out the ligaments, tendons, and bones from the meat. Reserve the broth still in the crock pot, and reserve the leg and thigh bones. Discard the ligaments and tendons.
- Crack the leg and thigh bones apart to expose the marrow and use a small utensil to remove some of the marrow from the bones to put into the broth. Return the bones and marrow to the crock pot with the rest of the broth, set the meat aside and refrigerate for later. Cook the pork, bones, marrow, and broth for 8 hours in the crock pot (2 hours in Instant Pot).
- After the broth and bones have cooked for 8 hours, prepare 4 packs of instant ramen per the package directions.
- Add 1⁄2 cup of salted butter to the noodles after they are done and strained, toss to melt the butter.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the broth into a sauce pan.
- Add half of the reserved turkey meat from earlier into the broth and heat in the sauce pan.
- In a bowl, place one serving of ramen noodles, and as much broth and meat as desired.
- Add desired garnishes on top of ramen - sliced green onion, marinated eggs, fresh basil, corn, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts.
(NWTF recreation of Greg's recipe)