How to Remove Turkey Leg Tendons: A Comprehensive Guide

Removing turkey leg tendons can be a tedious task, but it’s definitely worth it for the improved texture and flavor of the meat This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, using both text and visual aids for clarity.

Why Remove Turkey Leg Tendons?

Turkey leg tendons are tough and chewy, making them unpleasant to eat. Removing them before cooking makes the meat more tender and enjoyable. Additionally it allows for easier carving and presentation.

Tools and Materials

  • Sharp knife
  • Paper towels
  • Cutting board
  • Optional: Kitchen shears or poultry shears

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Locate the tendons: The tendons are located on the underside of the drumstick, running from the knee joint to the ankle. They are white and stringy, and can be easily identified by feel.
  2. Make an incision: Using a sharp knife, make a small incision across the tendons, close to the knee joint.
  3. Grab and pull: Take a firm hold of the tendons with a paper towel or kitchen shears. Pull them slowly and firmly towards the ankle. The tendons should separate from the bone and come out in one long piece.
  4. Repeat on the other side: Repeat the process on the other side of the drumstick.
  5. Optional: Remove the nub: Some people prefer to remove the small nub of bone at the end of the drumstick. This can be done by cutting it off with a knife or kitchen shears.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use a sharp knife: A dull knife will make the process more difficult and could damage the meat.
  • Work carefully: Be careful not to cut into the meat itself.
  • Use a paper towel for grip: The tendons can be slippery, so using a paper towel will help you get a better grip.
  • Don’t worry if they break: If the tendons break while you’re pulling them, simply grab the remaining piece and continue pulling.
  • Remove the skin after cooking: The skin will be easier to remove after the turkey is cooked.

Visual Aids

  • Image 1: This image shows the location of the tendons on the underside of the drumstick.
  • Image 2: This image shows how to make an incision across the tendons.
  • Image 3: This image shows how to grab and pull the tendons.
  • Video: This video provides a visual demonstration of the entire process.

Removing turkey leg tendons is a simple process that can make a big difference in the quality of your meal. By following these instructions, you can easily remove the tendons and enjoy delicious, tender turkey legs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to remove the tendons before cooking?

A: No, you can remove the tendons after cooking, but it will be more difficult.

Q: Can I use kitchen shears to remove the tendons?

A: Yes, kitchen shears can be used to remove the tendons.

Q: What do I do with the tendons after I remove them?

A: You can discard the tendons or use them to make stock.

Q: How do I remove the skin after cooking?

A: The skin will be easier to remove after the turkey is cooked. Simply use your fingers to peel it off.

Q: Can I remove the tendons from other poultry, such as chicken or duck?

A: Yes, you can remove the tendons from other poultry using the same method.

Additional Resources

  • Video: How to Remove the Tendons from a Turkey Leg
  • Article: How to Remove the Tendons from a Turkey Leg
  • Website:

Picking out tendons while butchering

how to remove turkey leg tendons

When you slaughter your birds and remove the tarsometatarsus—the bottom, third-segment, non-meat portion of the leg—you’ll be using your second line of defense.

Until my finger fits through, I roll the joint and slide the tip of my knife under any loose tendons. After that, I carefully remove the tendon from the meat and throw it and the tarsometatarsus away.

If bird meat isn’t prepared properly, tendons can become hard to navigate in a meal

One of the main reasons so many legs wind up in the gut pile after cleaning, if I had to guess, is tendons.

Mutters “Coyotes got to eat too,” as hunters depart with only their breasts.

Then there is the claim that the quantity of meat is not worth the effort. Indeed, when tendons are cooked, they become more rigid and resemble a string of sharp teeth. They’re almost as hard as bones, which is why I can understand why they’ve even been called that.

Although there are steps you can take to extract some tendons from your upland bird legs, I haven’t found a way to extract them all before cooking. However, there are recipes that can ensure that your dinner guests won’t ever have to deal with tendons. I cover all these topics below.

how to remove turkey leg tendons

Before plucking or cleaning, hunters can utilize a crucial method in the field.

Easy enough: break the leg slightly below the spur, place the bird on the ground, place your boot (and your entire weight) on the foot of the bird, and then pull up, holding onto the leg above the spur. A few tendons will be retained by the foot beneath your boot as you pull up the bird, separating them from the leg.

I did a terrible iPhone video on this several years ago. Feel welcome to watch and make fun of me: Removing Tendons from Upland Birds.

How to Debone a Turkey Leg and Thigh For a Roulade

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