Since wild turkeys are leaner than conventional turkeys, it helps to know how to cook them properly so that you still end up with a moist and tasty bird. Click here to see D'Artagnan founder Ariane Daguin's tips on How to Cook a Wild Turkey.
- ½ tablespoon olive oil, plus more oil to brush on aluminum foil
- 1 cup sweet Italian sausage meat, removed from casing and crumbled
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leave
- ¾ cup bourbon
- ¼ cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 6 slices stale Italian bread, crumbled (about 6 cups)
- 4½ to 5½ cups turkey or chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 wild turkey, about 8-11 pounds
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush a piece of aluminum foil with oil and place it on a rack in a roasting pan.
Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned and no pink remains, 5– 6 minutes, stirring and breaking it up as it cooks. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Add onion, celery, rosemary, and thyme, and cook until onion is soft. Add ¼ cup of the bourbon and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.
Combine sausage mixture with pecans and egg. Add bread, ½ cup of the stock, salt and pepper, and gently toss to blend. Stuffing should be a little dry. Set aside to cool.
Stuff turkey loosely with stuffing, truss, and set it, breast-side down, on rack in roasting pan. Add 2–3 cups of the stock, ¼ cup bourbon, and cook for 10 minutes. Adjust heat down to 325 degrees, and roast for 20 minutes more, basting every 10 minutes.
Turn turkey on one side and roast 30 minutes. Turn to other side, and roast 30 minutes more. Turn turkey breast side up and roast 15 minutes longer. Continue to baste every 10 minutes. Turkey is done when meat is soft to the touch and leg moves easily in the joint, and an instant-read thermometer measures 180–185 degrees, when inserted into deepest part of thigh Remove turkey from pan and set aside, breast side down.
Pour pan juices into a bowl or fat separator, and skim off as much fat as possible. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of fat. On top of stove, add enough of the remaining stock to pan juices to make 1½ cups liquid. Add fat to roasting pan, and sprinkle on flour. Stir over medium heat until flour begins to brown. Whisk in pan juices and remaining ¼ cup bourbon, and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.