Roast turkey.
For Culinary Excellence, Stop Ignoring One Unconventional Turkey Cut
Most Americans see turkey as holiday fare, but there’s a lot more to them. The turkey tail, a gland that attaches the bird’s feathers to its body, is rarely consumed stateside.
With flavorful dark meat, turkey tails were once commonly enjoyed in the United States. Most prefer white meat now thanks to the influence of the poultry industry.
After World War II, poultry companies began exporting turkey tails to the South Pacific. In American Samoa, the tails were affordable and soon grew in popularity.
In 2007 the Samoan government banned the import of the tails because their fat content, which gives the turkey part its rich taste, also harms the meat’s nutritional value.
The ban was eventually eliminated when Samoa joined the World Trade Organization in 2013. However, Consumption in the U.S. remains far from its pre-war heyday.
With few recipes to consult, many may wonder how to even go about preparing the turkey tail. Luckily, there’s plenty of room to experiment.
In Samoa, the tails are simmered for an hour and grilled, boiled, or roasted until the skin is crispy. One key is to cook the meat over low heat to let the fat render.
Shoppers will have little luck finding turkey tails at the supermarket. A few brands, such as Foster Farms, carry the meat, but the best bet is to visit a local butcher.
Regardless of how it is prepared or sourced, the turkey tail deserves to be known as a delicious meat that adventure eaters can enjoy in moderation.