Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Turkey Tails...Braised and Roasted


TURKEY TAILS...

it might be the last thing over the fence, but...

it's the best bite on the bird.

they're so delicious and so easy to prepare, but extremely hard to find more than one at a time...
and that ONE is usually attached to your Thanksgiving bird.


 back in Sept. '09 i posted about BBQ Turkey Tails...  well, i'm still eatin' tails and i thought i'd share this easy way to prepare them without going out in the cold and lighting the grill.  they're boiled, (or "braised" if ya want to get fancy) for a few hours while you're hanging around the house and roasted 'til they get plump, golden, sticky with glaze and absolutely unctuous !...i find this way they are even more succulent and delicious.  they are addicting...really.  i get all my friends and family to join the Turkey Tail Club.  some just can't wrap their head around the idea.  too bad, they aren't in the club!  some people are amazed and some are on the fence...no pun intended.  mostly it's just fun for me to watch the person, their reaction and see if they ask for another.

come on..you're a bit curious aren't you?...
i'm not kidding...if you can get a hold of some of these babies please try them.  the conversation alone is worth the small effort...besides you'll end up with some delicious broth if all else fails.
and they're CHEAP!!!


TURKEY TAILS...Braised (boiled) and Roasted

WHERE TO FIND THESE LITTLE NUGGETS???
 i'm lucky to have a store here in So. Cal called Gelson's that serves fresh roasted turkey everyday at the deli.  they, for some odd reason, keep the tails and package them up and put them up for grabs in the poultry section, about 6 per package runs about $1.50...i'm always curious...who the heck knows about these tails?  is there someone else out there that loves these things as much as i do?...if your market sells fresh roasted turkey, go ahead and ask what they do with the tails.  maybe some lucky guy in the back gets the best bite everyday...maybe he'll share.  otherwise, just ask your butcher where you might find some...if anything, both of you will get a good laugh out of it.

PREPARATION
short version...boil them in good flavorful stock for 3 hours, marinade for a few hours, then glaze and roast 'til sticky and golden brown.
more explicit directions...start these like you would any good stock or broth.  i'm always making stock with a roasted chicken carcass from Costco so i throw it all into the pot with a quartered large onion, a few celery stalks, a couple of carrots, 4-5 smashed garlic cloves, bay leaf, Mexican oregano, fresh rosemary sprig, a dash of cayenne, a tsp of cumin and some fresh ground pepper.  water to cover by an inch or 2...or better...throw in some homemade stock from the freezer or a can or 2 of store bought stock and water to cover.
NOTE...remember...your end product is not only the turkey tails but a delicious broth as well.
bring to a boil, then down to a slow simmer for about 3 hours.  check your liquid level a few time to make sure they are covered.
after about 3 hours, remove the tails from the pot.  strain your lovely broth and save for a rainy day.
NOTE...here's an odd thing.  sometimes there is a little feather membrane piece that is protruding from the top of the tail.  pull these out while they are warm...don't freak out.  there not always there and if they are it's 1 or 2 at most.
let the tails cool.  while cooling,  smother them in your favorite marinade/glaze.  the one i like best is by Soy-vay.  the Hoisin Garlic Sauce, but any tasty marinade/glaze will do.  you want them to rest and soak up the flavor.  anywhere from 1-3 hours is fine...i leave my in the fridge sometimes over night.
preheat oven to 370 F
place tails on aluminum covered (easy clean up) cookie sheet or roasting pan.  put in the oven and keep an eye on them.  you'll need to turn them and glaze them to get good and sticky.  time varies, but i have found about 30-40 minutes in total works well.

EATING A TURKEY TAIL
they not only look odd, but they ARE odd.  
this is one of those "GO FOR IT" instances where you just have to take in a huge bite to get the whole unctuous effect.  there's no nibbling here.  you need to bite the whole side off one side of the tail bone.  i wish i could demonstrate...it's kinda hard to explain.
another way to go is to remove each side off the bone with a knife, but still you must stick a whole side in your mouth...i promise you.

i'll stop now...geez, this is one of my longer posts.  i just get so excited about the strangest things.

so...ask yourself...

are you willing to join "THE TURKEY TAIL CLUB" ??? !!!


21 comments:

Meredith said...

I am feeling you! In my family we'd all fight over the chicken or turkey tails. Tail lovers, unite!

souperior said...

Oh my, I thought I was the only person who loved these! Whenever we roast a turkey I snaffle this bit. I wonder if I can persuade a butcher over here in the UK to sell them to me on their own!

Dutchie said...

OMG!!! I thought I was the only one who LOVED these. They are like heroin, I eat them alone...and am in yummy turkey tail bliss!!! TURKEY TAIL CLUB!

Jules and Ruby said...

Dutchie...you made my day !!! I'm going to my secret turkey tail butcher tomorrow and buy all he's got. Sometimes I can get a dozen. YUM !!!

Junz said...

I was thrilled to discover that some one else loves these delicious little pieces of heaven! we are so lucky here in NZ, we can buy them in kilo bags.I have only ever roasted them, but now Im going to try your sticky recipie this weekend!!..many thanks!

Jules and Ruby said...

hi JUNZ...guess who walked away with the Thanksgiving turkey tail ?...ME !!!..it wasn't nearly as good as mine is. it was roasted with the turkey, of course, and it didn't get cooked long enough (didn't stop me from gnawing on it though). do you cook them a long time?...falling off the bone? i hope you try this method i use and get some good sticky BBQ sauce or some Hoisin Glaze...yum!!!

macaraca said...

Here in Hawaii turkey tails are nearly a staple. They are often sold in the supermarkets in packs of 4 or 6 just waiting to be turned into golden deliciousness. They are also usually available in the Chinatown butcher shops with roast pork, duck, and chicken, and other Chinese butcher shops around town, both roasted plain or done with a red "char siu" flavoring. I find those to be a bit dry, but there is no such thing as a bad turkey tail. Don't know why they are so common here and nowhere else I've been, but I'm happy the way it is. I just wish I could get chicken tails the same way!

Anonymous said...

I buy my turkey tails at a meat market or you can try a cold storage. Here in el paso,tx they sell a 30#
Case for $22.00.

Jules and Ruby said...

Macaraca and Anonymous...boy, you guys are lucky. i can only get 9 -12 on a good day...or i save them up in the freezer 'til i get enough to cook in a big bunch. thanks for stopping by.

love to all you turkey tail fans out there !!!!

Bill said...

Ask any Samoan about turkey tails and their eyes will cross and they will begin drooling...they are an island delicacy!!!

Jules and Ruby said...

hey Bill. i just scored 4 more for the next batch. i have to collect them, sometimes one at a time, but i think i've got a major hook up with a new butcher. turkey tails for everyone !

Anonymous said...

I am so disappointed. When I saw this article, I thought I hit the jackpot! Finally, someone who knows where to find turkey tails! LOL Then you have the nerve to flaunt that juicy, succulent piece over the internet! This past Thanksgiving, I decided to do the right thing and let my mother and Aunt enjoy the tail seeing how they are older. I'm going through withdrawal symptoms now as a result! There was a grocery store here that sold them in a package, but as soon as I found out about they had stopped :-(. Sign me up for the TT Club. I'll be President LOL

Jules and Ruby said...

Anonymous...or should i say...Your Honor...Mr President...how nice of you to give up the best bite of the year...and it only comes around once a year...in most house holds. not to make you jealous or anything...i just cooked up about 13 tails and they are ready for the BBQ today to get a good smoky char on the fatty bits...YUMMMM!!! have you tried asking your local butcher? i bet you could order them. they freeze well and you could just take out a few when you need a TT fix. thanks for the comment...J

wendy said...

Hi jules and Ruby; please include me in the tails lovers club of all animals (including man, the man, the great unknown )ha ha ha ...
In my city, Guadalajara, 57Kms.from Madrid, impossible to find them but I go much madrid and there is a tiny market where I found all wanted, sell the turkey by parts so that I've done with 36, certainly dirt cheap, that's what I'll tell you. Thank you for your generosity and greetings.
Sorry if it is written in Indian "haw" ,is the translation of google

Jules and Ruby said...

hi Wendy...yay...another turkey tail member. you'll have to stock up when you go to Madrid. FYI...they freeze well...lol ...thanks for the comment

cath said...

I'm making my second batch today kinda/sorta using this recipe:

http://www.the-perfect-turkey.com/turkey-tails.html

I found they weren't really tender so today, after this initial simmer on the cooktop, I've popped into a 225 oven for a couple of hours. I'll refrigerate to remove as much of the HUGE amount of fat as possible and then throw on the grill to crisp them up.

FYI, I find them all the time in my Latino market.

B-mc said...

I'm all in!! People think in crazy and yes there correct about that. Crazy for turkey tails. My grandfather turned me on to this little secret. Get mine from my local Kroger store. Just talk to your butcher. Thanks for the recipe!

Jules and Ruby said...

OMG...i can't believe i missed these last 2 comments...
HI CATH...i hope i get to find how they were...my bad for not seeing your comment. i will check out the recipe you mentioned
HI B-MC...
your Grandfather was a SMART man!...yes, they sure are delicious. let's keep it a secret or they will blow up in price like everything else...thanks for the comment

Frederick Jackson said...

We are a unigue bunch,lover of TT's my wife thinks im crazy..may i suggest alt to braising..slow cooker.after a crisping up in the broiler..or you can reverse it..thanks for the recipe frederick

Jules and Ruby said...

HI Frederick...
So happy to meet another TT lover. Yes, there are so many ways to cook these fine delicacies and i will try as many as i can. Many happy tails to you my friend.

Rebecca said...

YES! we have a Turkey Tail Group!! Funny I've always loved turkey tails. Since I hate those pesky pieces that don't always get plucked right, i've taken to cutting them like a butterfly to extract easier. Then I roast them on a slant rack for chicken after I flour them. I also can't always find them here in Northern CA. But one store has them on occasion.
Amazingly they were banned in the Republic of Samoa. From: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/14/182568333/samoans-await-the-return-of-the-tasty-turkey-tail
And now to eradicate the ban"Here's the deal the Samoans struck: For the next two years they can add a 300 percent tariff to turkey tails, and then for one year, a 100 percent tariff. By 2016, Samoa is expected to have suppressed its people's appetite for turkey tails through public health education. After that, affordable turkey tails could, presumably, return."

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