Improv: How to jerky a turkey

24 11 2009

This is what happens when you overcook a 12-lb. turkey

This was not the post I intended for today.

However, the picture of my poor 12-lb. turkey, left to roast in its 325 deg. F. oven for two hours too long was too priceless to ignore.

I put my properly thawed turkey into its roaster, filled with sage and lemon halves.

I woke to Alton Brown in my head, opining on The Next Iron Chef that “Good chefs sometimes have bad days in the kitchen.” Yep — and some days they have bad nights, too.

I will at the very least be able to make some dog treats – Madison and Casey, true to their English cocker stomachs, love my homemade liver cookies. Maybe I can enrich them by substituting pulverized completely dried out roasted turkey for some of the flour. They have far less discriminating palates than my own.

And the moral of the story?

Do NOT put your turkey in the oven to roast after working a 12-hour day.

Kitchen Disaster Dog Treats

You’ll need a crispity over-roasted turkey, or parts from one that has met this unfortunate fate. The bird should be seriously over-roasted, with all of the moisture (or most of it) roasted out – but it shouldn’t be charred; I have standards. You will know that your turkey qualifies if you can remove the entire breastbone without disturbing any of what used to be meat, and if the parts that you would normally have sliced would dull a normal blade and will break off the carcass. The stuff that used to be meat should resemble the heavy bark on a well-smoked brisket.

You’ll also need a food processor with heavy-duty chopping blade, or an industrial food grinder. I prefer a food processor (yes, this has happened to me more than once.)

  • Remove all visible skin, fat and anything that looks like it might be edible meat (you might be able to salvage that by re-hydrating it in a brothy soup or with a long soak in some turkey gravy.)
  • Break apart the sections which were over-roasted if they are too large to fit into your food processor. You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I’m not. I love my dogs, but I love my Cuisinart, too. If the sections you try to process are too large they will burn out the motor. I’m not gonna break my Cuisinart trying to salvage dog treats out of a badly roasted turkey. A Chinese meat cleaver may be helpful if the ‘bark’ (read: overdone parts) are really far gone.
  • Pulse the sections briefly until they are either bite-size (no larger than 1/2 inch square) or pulverized if you intend to use the overdone bird as ‘flour’ to make dog cookies.
  • Refrigerate the bite-size treats; use within two weeks.
  • If using the pulverized bark in dog cookies, you can substitute the turkey ‘meal’ for flour 1:1 (dog cookies don’t need gluten to rise.) Dry the baked treats in the oven until they are crispity hard, and use within a month. You may want to keep treats made from a pulverized overdone bird under refrigeration – just in case.

Happy poultry roasting adventures, everyone!

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6 responses

25 11 2009
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25 11 2009
Leah

Oh no! At least you have a sense of humor about it. And some happy pups, I bet!

26 11 2009
azahar

Heh, looks like it exploded.

Well, at least you are catching up on your sleep! (always look on the bright side…) :)

26 11 2009
gaelenscafe

It didn’t quite explode – but I caught the bird at the point where the meat was visibly pulling away from the bones. I was able to see the breastbone and pull it out of the bird without moving any of the other parts. Ah well. At that point, I cooled it down, spread it out on a baking sheet, and put it back in the oven to finish dehydrating. Then I pulsed it in the food processor until the bark … er, meat … was pulverized, and used the finely ground turkey dust to make some liver – turkey brownies for Casey’s birthday.
At least I’ve now got a freezer full of training treats that only cost $4.50.
Maybe I should stick to vegetarian main dishes. ;)

27 11 2009
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Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gaelen2: Improv: How to jerky a turkey: http://wp.me/pBI3y-5c

7 12 2009
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