So, you’ve got a turkey… now what?

Butchering a turkey can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and instructions, it’s actually a pretty straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:


  • Gather your supplies: You’ll need a killing cone, buckets for blood and innards, a hose or sprayer, sharp knives, poultry shears, a turkey fryer and thermometer, stainless steel tables, and heat shrink bags or freezer wrap.
  • Fast the turkey: Withhold food the night before butchering to ensure an empty crop.
  • Set up your workspace: Two tables are ideal – one for plucking and one for eviscerating.
  • Heat the water: Fill the turkey fryer with water and heat it to 150 degrees F for scalding.

Dispatching the turkey:

  • Use a killing cone: This helps to sedate the turkey and makes the process more humane.
  • Make a quick cut to the jugular: Use a sharp knife and wait for the reflexes to stop before proceeding.

Scalding the turkey:

  • Submerge the turkey in hot water: 145-155 degrees F for 3-4 minutes.
  • Swirl the turkey around: This helps the water permeate all the surfaces and feathers.
  • Check for readiness: Pull on the tail feathers – if they come off easily, the turkey is ready to pluck.

Plucking the turkey:

  • Start pulling feathers: There’s no real science to it, just keep pulling until there are none left.
  • Wear rubber gloves: This helps to grab the tiny feathers more easily.

Cleaning and eviscerating:

  • Rinse the turkey with cool water.
  • Cut off the head and legs: Use poultry shears or a knife.
  • Remove the oil gland: This is located on the back end and will cause the meat to have an unpleasant taste if it bursts.
  • Make an incision above the breastbone: Use your knife to find the crop, windpipe, and esophagus.
  • Pull out the esophagus and windpipe: Leave them attached to the crop.
  • Cut right above the vent: Tear open the carcass and remove the fat from the gizzard.
  • Hook your finger around the esophagus: Pull it out along with the connected internal organs.
  • Cut down either side of the vent: Remove all the guts in one pull.
  • Go back in to remove the lungs and windpipe: Anything that didn’t come out the first time.

Chilling the turkey:

  • Place the cleaned turkey in a cooler filled with ice water.
  • Leave it for at least 6 hours: Or until the ice melts.
  • Wrap the turkey in heat shrink bags or freezer wrap: Use heat shrink bags according to the instructions.

Tips and tricks:

  • Use a mechanical chicken plucker: This will speed up the plucking process.
  • Don’t overscald the turkey: This will cause the skin to tear.
  • Be careful when removing the oil gland: Don’t let it burst.
  • Get the turkey cold as quickly as possible: This will help to preserve the meat.

And that’s it! You’ve successfully butchered a turkey. Now you can enjoy the delicious rewards of your hard work.


  • Check out the video on The Prairie Homestead for a visual guide to the process.
  • Read the blog post for more detailed instructions and troubleshooting tips.

Happy butchering!

Nutrition Info (Per 100 grams)

  • Calories: 141
  • Protein: 22g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Vitamin B6: 30%

This recipe makes 1 serving. Get this recipe on

What Do You Need Before Attempting to Butcher a Turkey?

I don’t cook whole turkeys because, well, the bird barely fits in my tiny oven. Most Indian folk don’t own an oven, let alone use it. If you notice there are hardly any bakes or casseroles or any oven dishes in Indian cooking. If there are it’s mostly giant clay ovens like the tandoor. So for starters it’s not a common appliance to own. When someone does own one, like me, it’s usually a small one at most—in my case, a 52-liter one that’s still not enough. That’s because most of us living in cities live in apartments which aren’t built with massive kitchens.

Now technical and cooking apparatus aside, the cooking time. White meat and dark meat, the two sides of any poultry. When you roast a whole bird, it’s inevitable to not have perfect cooking. How is it possible? Dark meat, legs and thighs cook differently than the breast (the white meat). Breaking down the bird allows us to cook them separately resulting in a better final cooked product. And that is why I’m butchering this turkey before cooking it.

Before we start on how to butcher a turkey at home, you need to grab the following:

  • A sharp butchering knife
  • Sharp kitchen scissors
  • Roasting tray with a wire rack

I sourced my turkey online from Sweet Stuff, weighing 5 kg.

You can also try the local supermarket to grab yours.

Butchering Turkeys For the First Time ||How to Process a Turkey & Supplies Needed||


How long should turkey rest after butchering?

Either way, at least a day to come out of rigor, and a day to brine. An extra day probably helps get a little more enzymatic breakdown of the muscles. Slaughtered turkeys on Sunday.

How do you humanely dispatch a turkey?

Humane isn’t always easy One way is to hang the turkey upside down, which pacifies the bird and makes it easier to drain its blood; the other method is to straddle the bird, slit its throat (sometimes clean off), and then hold it down as it flaps around.

How do you slaughter a turkey bird?

You put the bird in upside down, pull its head through a hole cut in the bottom, and then cut through the arteries in its neck. After a few (admittedly, long) seconds, the turkey stops struggling, bleeds out, and is ready to be processed.

How do you restrain a turkey for butchering?

Turkeys may be restrained on the ground by taking hold of the legs and gently lowering the bird onto its breast. Remember: Always handle birds with care and consideration.

How do you butcher a Turkey?

Butchering a turkey is much like the chicken butchering process, just on a much larger scale. First we caught several and tied them up by their legs. They are pretty big and heavy but very docile. I’d suggest making some kind of kill cone or using a feed sack with a corner cut out for the head to go through.

Can one have turkey and carrots?

Eating turkey and carrots is part of healthy habits. The turkey has meat like chicken and is another healthy poultry option. Carrots are rich in carotenoids, it is a source of vitamin A, fiber, potassium and vitamin B3.

How do you get a turkey into a bag?

Getting the turkey into the bag is easiest if they have been socialized and are used to being handled somewhat. But it still isn’t particularly easy. If they are a bit wild, that may be the hardest part of the job. You could use a killing cone and nick the arteries to bleed them out if it is easier.

How do you dispatch a Turkey?

The second and subsequent years of raising turkeys, we used the feed sack method of dispatching. You’ll need two people for this task, unless you’re some kind of super human. Cut off a bottom corner of a sturdy feed sack, effectively making a hole at the corner of the sack. You only need to cut an inch or two up.

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