I wish a wild turkey cooked like a butterball at Thanksgiving. But, alas, the two birds are not even close to the same thing. The problem with wild turkey is that they actually tend to use there muscles. Since they are walking birds the legs on wild turkey can be nearly inedible.
To alleviate the problem of tough legs, especially drumsticks, I section the bird out. I remove the breasts, then the whole leg. Then I break down the leg at the joint into two sections – the thigh and the drumstick. The thigh meat can be a little tough too but it is nothing compared to the drumsticks.
Like butterball drumsticks wild gobblers tend to have large boney sections of tendon that pass through the leg meat. To remove these I first run my knife blade around the top of the drumstick cutting the tendons loose. Then I will run my blade right next to the bone about 1/3 of the way down the drumstick. This will allow most of the tendons to be exposed. Next get a multi tool or a set of clean needle nose pliers and start yanking out the tendons. Most should come right out, if not simply cut them out, but remember the more cuts the less meat.
When the tendons are gone most of the bone will be exposed and it will look like a big bulb of meat is attached to the end. The drumstick is now ready to cook, free of inedible nastiness. I tend to cook drumsticks like a lamb shank or veal osso bucco. Long and slow to dissolve the connective tissue and make the meat tender.
Turkeyand curry are a classic combination. The full flavor of wild game and the richness of the coconut sauce make this a great paring for other tough cuts of game meat like deer shanks and goose legs.
Curried Wild Turkey Drumsticks
2 cleaned wild turkey or domestic turkey drumsticks
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 12oz can coconut milk, sweet is fine
1 cup chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 ea lime, cut in half
Salt and Pepper
In a medium sized sauté pan, something that will hold the drumsticks and allow a lid, melt butter over medium heat. Brown the drumsticks in the butter on each side for 3-4 minutes.
Next add the onion and pepper and sauté for 2 more minutes. Then add the curry paste, coconut milk, curry powder, garlic, chicken stock and lime. Bring the pan to a simmer and cover. Let simmer on low, or in 300 degree oven, for 2 hours. Check after one hour and add water if needed. The slow cooking will make the meat moist and tender.
When done remove the drumsticks from the pan and place on a bed of white rice. Then reduce the remaining juices until slightly thickened. Serve over wild turkey drumsticks.