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& Avid Outdoorsman

Certified Chef Albert Wutsch

Bringing the Field to Your Table

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Backcountry & Lodge Hunting
& Fishing Camp Chef

Cache Creek Enterprises
38 Canyon View Drive
Missoula, MT 59802

chef@venisoncache.com

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A Versatile Bird

by Albert Wutsch, CEC

Because the breast of a wild turkey is mild and delicate in flavor it can be substituted for all white meats such as pork, chicken, and veal, as well as all red meats including beef, lamb and venison. Venison, in turn, can usually only be substituted for red meats like beef, lamb, and other game meat. 

Originally Printed North American Hunter June 2004

Originally printed in North American Hunter, June/July 2004

The key to making good substitutions for the tender breast of a wild turkey is to substitute it for tender cuts of other meats. For example, you can substitute turkey breast for the breast of pheasant, chicken, goose, duck or other domestic poultry. You can also substitute turkey breast for the loin of beef, veal, port, lamb and venison. And turkey breast can be substituted for top round, the most tender cut of the hind leg of other meats. The concept behind substituting tender cuts for tender cuts is they're best suited for dry cooking methods, including sauteing, pan frying, deep frying, stir frying, broiling, grilling, pan searing and roasting. So any recipe that uses these cooking methods is suitable for all tender cuts  and, most of all, wild turkey breast.

When substituting tough cuts of meat for the legs and thigh of wild turkeys, remember these cuts are best suited for moist cooking, fricassee, roasting with moisture, Crock-Pot cookery and pressure cooking. Tough cuts of wild turkey can be ground and used to make turkey burgers, turkey sausage, stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage, lasagna, chili, taco meat or meat loaf. Cook the legs and thighs in chicken broth, and reserve the broth for soup or thicken it for sauces. Chill the meat, remove it from the bones, and use it for pot pies, turkey ala king, turkey Tetrazzini or make cold turkey salad for sandwiches.

The entire turkey can be cooked as a traditional roast turkey. I like to  use a roasting bag, which allows the whole bird to be cooked evenly and kept moist. You can also deep-fry a wild turkey just like you do a domestic one. You can inject brines into the bird and smoke it as well.


 

The breast of the turkey can be fabricated and cooked on the grill, roasted or pan seared. Before fabricating the turkey breast, you must remove the tacky membrane on the surface of the meat. This membrane is what makes the meat contort out of shape during cooking. I like to cut the breast into boneless chops, wrap it in bacon, sear it on the grill and then finish it in the oven. These chops can then be served with either heavy brown sauce as for beef, or with a butter sauce, such as hollandaise, as for veal. It can also be served with a cream sauce or fruit sauce such as fruit chutney, for chicken.

Turkey breast can be cut into medallions by cutting the silver dollar pieces 1/4 inch thick and across the grain. These cuts are similar to medallions of beef or veal. Saute them, pan sear on the grill or broil, and serve as you would for veal Marsala, veal saltimbocca or beef medallions Rossini. To prepare cutlets, cut the breast into medallions, place them between two pieces of plastic wrap and then pound them into thin cutlets. Cook the cutlets by sauteing, deep frying or pan frying. To prepare scaloppini, slice the breast across the grain into very thin pieces, pound them between plastic wrap and cook them like veal scaloppini or chicken Piccata.  To cut the meat into strips for stroganoff or stir frying, slice it thinly across the grain and then cut it into strips 1-2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick.

Wild turkeys, like any other game animal, must receive proper field care to reduce body temperature to 40 degrees as fast as possible. Wild turkeys will age and develop flavor and tenderness by hanging in 40-degree temperatures for 1-3 days. You can also age the meat by skinning or plucking the bird and putting it in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.


 

Pan - Fried Turkey Cutlets
(Wiener Schnitzel)

2 lbs. turkey breast 1 c. flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
Three eggs
1 c. milk
2 c. sifted bread crumbs
Lemon

Cooking Method: Skin the turkey breast and slice across the grain approximately 1/4 inch thick. Place cutlets between plastic wrap, pound thin with a meat mallet or the bottom of a saute pan, shingle on a plate. Break the eggs and blend with milk. Dredge the cutlets in the seasoned flour, shake off excess flour, dip in the egg wash, let drip, dredge and press into bread crumbs.

Place a small amount of oil in a saute pan. Heat the oil and place the cutlets into the hot oil. The oil should rise no more than halfway up the sides of the cutlets. Brown the meat on one side, turn over and brown on other side. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Place on hot plates, top the cutlet with chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon. Serve immediately with potato pancakes and your choice of vegetables. Serves four.

 Originally printed in North American Hunter, June/July 2004. Visit venisoncache.com for more recipes and to order my books, "The Art Of Cooking Venison", "The Art of Barbecuing and Grilling Game"  and the dvd, "The Art of Backyard Butchering".

2018 Sport Show Schedule 

Mark your calendars!

I'll be at each of these shows conducting demonstrations and hope to see you there.

We added a new section to our website, As Seen At Sport Shows The section contains recipes demonstrated at sports shows around the country, relevant articles and an image gallery.

NRA News Cam & Co Interview Chef Wutsch

Chef Wutsch is interviewed by Cam Edwards of Cam & Co. at the 2014 Great American Outdoor Show. Chef Wutsch was also interviewed by Cam & Co. Interview by phone.

“Chef Wutsch's delicious recipes and handy preparation tips underscore his mastery of the true art of cooking venison."

Jackie Bushman, CEO & Publisher
Buckmasters

“Chef Al’s Grilled Turkey Breast with Peach Chutney is out of this world!”

Mark Drury, Owner, President
Drury Outdoors, Bloomsdale, MO

 “When it comes to barbecuing and grilling game, it doesn’t get any better than this!”

Steve Stoltz, World & Grand National Champion Turkey Caller, Hunter's Specialties, MO.

 

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