if pigs could fly this would be the
PORK BELLY BITE OF THE BIRD.
“the last thing over the fence is the best bite of the bird”
TRUST ME !!!
this is not anything like the semi tough roasted turkey tail from your Thanksgiving Turkey.
IT IS FAR BEYOND.
you must try a turkey tail…
BUT it must be properly cooked.
i have posted about these before, but i feel i have not done the “tail” justice. after quite a few years of cooking and sharing the turkey tail experience with any willing participant, i thought i better post again to get the message out there and add a few more de-tails…har har har
IN A NUT SHELL…
the goal is to simmer the tails in some good flavorful homemade stock for about 2 1/2 to 4 hours, until very fork tender. then marinade them over night and BBQ them the next day with a nice char on the fatty bits smothered in a savory finger licking glaze.
HOW TO COOK, BBQ and EAT TURKEY TAILS
FIRST YOU’LL NEED…
12-15 turkey tails, as many as you can find !
chicken stock (see-NOTE), enough to fill pot and simmer your chosen amount of tails
1 big Tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 onion quartered
4-6 smashed cloves of garlic
put every thing into a large stock pot. bring to a boil and then to a simmer for about 2 1/2 to 4 hours, depending on the size and amount of tails. sometimes i let mine go for the full 4 hours. they are hard to ruin, but must be cooked until tender.
remove from heat. remove tails from broth. strain broth and save for yummy viscous stock.
NOTE…i save my roasted chicken carcasses in the freezer for this event. i throw everything in even if it’s frozen, add a little water, aromatics and slowly heat it to a boil, then lower to a simmer. the stock you end up with will be rich, viscous and delicious.
AFTER THE FIRST COOKING YOU’LL NEED…
“Soy Vay” Hoisin Garlic Sauce (or marinade/sauce/glaze of choice)
a sprinkle of cumin, chili powder and salt
sesame seeds (after grill)
chili garlic sauce and pickled ginger to serve.
YES…those little holes are where the big turkey feathers sprout from. occasionally the tail has not been cleaned of every single feather and you might find a “nib” or two that you’ll need to manually pull out (after braising, before grilling). run your finger along the edges of the tails and check for any feather follicles that were left “behind” (PARDON THE PUN!) in the plucking. you will feel any imperfections. they should slip out. it’s kinda weird. place warm tails in a tupperware ( i guess a ziplock baggie would work) and sprinkle with cumin, chili powder and a little salt. put in fridge uncovered until chilled, then cover for over night marinade.(see photos below)
now…this goes against grilling rules, BUT it’s okay to put these on the grill straight out of the fridge. it will even help keep them together. they will warm through by the time you are done. make sure your grill is clean and lightly greased. fatty things with skin tend to stick. put some more sauce on and try to continue putting sauce on as you grill to get a good sticky glaze going. you want to sear both sides and occasionally stand the tails on end. with long tongs, hold on and try to sear the fatty sides. you can even lean them up against each other. if you’re a “griller”, i don’t need to tell you what your doing…right?
HOW TO EAT A TURKEY TAIL?…
above is an example of what you’ll find. there is quite a large tail bone that runs right through dividing the two unctuous nuggets. if thoroughly cooked the two nuggets should separate from the bone very easily.
NOTE…please please don’t be afraid of the fat….
think pork belly with wings.
eat one whole side in a single bite…like a big juicy meatball. don’t be timid. just go for it. for first timers, you can separate the nuggets from the bone. the odd vertebrae might be a little scary for some. for the less timid…hold the tail from tip to end and bite the whole side off…then, of course, suck the bone and ask for another!
BELOW IS A JUST LITTLE VISUAL AID
the tails should be done in about 2 1/2 to 4 hours depending on the size. give them the fork test. the end vertebrae should easily pull off. this batch was simmering for about 4 hours. i doubt you can hurt them, so longer is better on a slow simmer.
put the warm cooked tails into a tupperware. season with some dry ingredients and slather on some sauce (while they are warm). let come to room temp and refrigerate over night.
above is a quick photo of my tails ready to go into the fridge and all the delicious stock. this stock was so deep and rich. it was almost like a demi glace when done. the tails definitely add to the viscosity of the stock, much like when grandma used to add in the chicken feet.