Smoked Turkey Tails: A Deliciously Indulgent Treat

What are Smoked Turkey Tails?

Smoked turkey tails are a unique and flavorful cut of meat that’s often overlooked. They are the muscle above the rear of the turkey that holds the bird’s tail feathers. While they may not be as familiar as other cuts like the breast or thighs they offer a rich and juicy eating experience making them a true hidden gem.

Why Choose Smoked Turkey Tails?

  • Rich Flavor: Smoked turkey tails boast a deep, smoky flavor that’s enhanced by the natural fat content of the meat. This makes them a perfect choice for those who enjoy bold and savory flavors.
  • Juicy and Tender: The slow smoking process ensures that the turkey tails are cooked to perfection, resulting in a juicy and tender texture that melts in your mouth.
  • Versatility: Smoked turkey tails can be enjoyed in various ways. You can serve them whole as a main dish, shred them for tacos or sandwiches, or even add them to salads or soups for an extra burst of flavor.

How to Prepare Smoked Turkey Tails:

The process of preparing smoked turkey tails is relatively simple and straightforward. Here’s a basic guide:

  1. Remove Feather Shafts: Inspect the turkey tails for any remaining feather shafts. If you find any, simply pull them out using a paper towel for better grip.
  2. Marinate (Optional): While not mandatory, marinating the turkey tails in a mixture of vinegar, water, garlic, and your favorite turkey rub can add extra flavor and tenderness. Marinate for about an hour, but avoid exceeding four hours to prevent the meat from becoming chewy.
  3. Seasoning: After marinating, pat the turkey tails dry and season them generously with your preferred rub or a simple combination of salt, pepper, and garlic.
  4. Smoking: Set up your grill for indirect heat at a temperature between 250-275°F. Place the turkey tails on the grill and smoke them for approximately 2 1/2 hours, or until they reach an internal temperature of 205-210°F.
  5. Glazing (Optional): For an extra layer of flavor and crispy skin, you can brush the turkey tails with a glaze made of honey, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Allow the glaze to set for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Whole: Serve the smoked turkey tails whole as a main dish, accompanied by your favorite sides like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or coleslaw.
  • Shredded: Shred the smoked turkey tails and use them to create delicious tacos, sandwiches, or wraps. You can also add them to salads, soups, or stews for an extra protein boost.
  • Chopped: Finely chop the smoked turkey tails and mix them into your favorite stuffing recipe for a Thanksgiving twist.

Additional Tips:

  • Rendering Fat: For maximum flavor and tenderness, it’s crucial to render the fat in the turkey tails by cooking them to a higher temperature (205-210°F). This allows the fat to melt, creating a succulent and juicy eating experience.
  • Bone Removal: While the Y-shaped bone in the center of the turkey tail is edible, you can remove it before serving for easier consumption.
  • Health Considerations: Smoked turkey tails are high in fat, so they should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Smoked turkey tails are a unique and flavorful cut of meat that offers a delicious and versatile culinary experience. Whether you enjoy them whole, shredded, or chopped, these smoky treats are sure to become a favorite among meat lovers. So, next time you’re looking for something different and exciting to try, give smoked turkey tails a chance. You won’t be disappointed!

Smoked Turkey Tails


What part of the turkey is turkey tail?

Total production this year is projected at 245 million birds. That includes a quarter-billion turkey tails, also known as the parson’s nose, pope’s nose or sultan’s nose. The tail is actually a gland that attaches the turkey’s feathers to its body.

Are smoked turkey tails good to eat?

Are smoked turkey tails healthy? Not really. Turkey tails are high in fat, with 36 grams of fat per 4-ounce serving. They do have 13 grams of protein and meet 4% of your recommended daily allowance for iron and calcium.

What does turkey tail taste like?

They have a very mild mushroom flavor and don’t really taste much like anything. People consume turkey tail mushrooms for their medicinal benefit, not their taste. Most people treat them more like a fiber supplement that they add to smoothies or other foods as opposed to something that’s enjoyed on their own.

Are smoked turkey tails fully cooked?

2Are the smoked turkey products fully cooked? Yes, however we recommend you heat them to an internal temperature of 165 degrees before consuming. 3Are the smoked pork products (shanks, hocks, neck bones) fully cooked? No, the smoked pork products are NOT fully cooked.

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