Three men sit in straight-back chairs. The wood is white, bleached by the sun. Mud-caked hunting boots line the top porch step. Another fellow sticks his unshaven face through the screen door and asks his buddy, “What’s your poison?” The cook, long and lean, chews on a cigar and squats in the corner adjusting his burner. He wears loose-fitting camo pants and a long john shirt that’s too tight. You can see matted hair sticking out from his sweat-stained cap.
The cooking oil is getting hot and the wild turkey, strutting through the woods 12 hours earlier, is sitting in the kitchen sink. This is hunt camp. These are men. No cubicles, no offices, no foremen or clipboards, no telephones or lunch bags with crummy whole-wheat sandwiches and low-fat yogurt. Here, hunters walk around with toothpicks hanging out of their mouths and cowlicks standing up on their heads. They get up with the sun, hunt the woods and come back to camp at midmorning for breakfast — eggs, bacon, biscuits, grease, butter, black coffee.
Walking the woods is like Drano for the arteries, cholesterol is not a problem. The hunt, the birds, hot grease on an open porch — it’s a scene of self-sufficiency. It’s about men following their instinctive natures. They are free. Free to hunt, free to scratch, free to fry.
Fried Wild Turkey Breast — Recipe
Wild turkey quick-facts: Know what you eat. And know whatever you’re eating eats.
1 wild turkey breast
2 cups milk
3 cups baking mix
12 ounces beer
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups peanut oil
Skin the turkey and remove the bones. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Combine with milk in large bowl and let stand 30 to 45 minutes. Combine the baking mix, beer and sugar in large bowl and mix to form a thin batter. Heat oil in skillet to 375 degrees. Remove the meat from milk. Dip in batter and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with wooden picks.
Makes six servings.
Recipe was taken from Cooking Wild Game & Fish Southern Style, by Billy Joe Cross.
8 Deep-Frying Turkey Tips
- Always make sure the turkey is thawed completely.
- Clean the turkey in the same manner you would for roasting.
- Do not stuff the turkey when deep-frying.
- Either inject the turkey with liquid seasoning or rub dry seasonings inside and out. Some examples include hot pepper sauce, black pepper, Italian dressing, Cajun seasonings and paprika.
- To determine how much oil to use in the deep fryer, fill the pot with water and lower the turkey into it. (Water should cover the turkey without spilling over.) Remove the turkey and measure the amount of water left in the pot. Discard the water and fill the pot with oil.
- Heat the oil to at least 310 degrees before adding the turkey.
- Skinless turkey should be cooked three minutes per pound, while turkey with skin should be cooked at 31⁄2 minutes per pound.
- Let the turkey cool for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
Courtesy of NWTF’s Wild About Turkey cookbook. Post was first printed in the NWTF’s Turkey Call magazine.
Featured image: John Hafner