Easy Turkey Cleaning!

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

How do you clean your turkey? Do you boil water, dip and pluck, dip some more and pluck some more? I used to. Do you try to save the whole bird for cooking and can you eat the legs? I don't know about you, but I didn't think the wings have enough meat on them to even try to save even though I would love to have the whole bird to dip in the turkey fryer. To me it just takes too much time for what little you get out of it.

Just my preference on this but all I want to save now is just the breast, but before I get into that, have you seen the turkey cleaner that's out now yet? It's called the GUT WRENCH and it's supposed to clean out the insides of the turkey shortly after the taking of the bird to help the cavity cool down and in turn helps stop any bacteria from forming. I haven't used one yet but plan on trying one, to see how they work, if I ever do want to save the whole turkey.

Anyway, all I save is the breast now and it's quick and easy. Simply hold the bird by the legs and set the body on the ground, spread the wings so you can place a foot on each leg by the body and lift straight up. No need for making any cuts or anything. This will pop the breast right out, place the breast in a pan of water and dispose of the rest of the carcass keeping any feathers you want or saving the legs and tail for a mount if you like. Easy, fast and less messy.


ndemiter's picture

not a bad idea. on all the

not a bad idea. on all the birds i shoot, i pluck a good portion of the belly ( i do this right in the field) and i skin around the vent and one cut up the belly, then i peel everything upwards towards the spine. once i've done that i sever the head and wings. and i keep the rest. after all the feathers and skin is off, i remove the guts, which isn't hard to do.

i leave the legs with spurs in tact in case of emergency game official shake down.

this has worked well for me over the last few years. i live in an apartment in the city, so i really don't have a place to work on stuff like this on my home time.

i didn't know about this gut wrench, but i may look into that one. i wonder what it looks like?

arrowflipper's picture


Is there any way you could post a video of this, or at least some pictures?  I'm a slow learner and I need help.  BUT, I am going to go harvest a big tom next weekend.

Rem2arms's picture

Arrow, Pretty simple really,

Arrow, Pretty simple really, just stand on the wings and pull up real hard on the legs, Works the same way for cleaning grouse, partridge or any game bird if you only want to save the breast. Good luck with ole Tom, I've been scouting and cant wait for this weekend as I've been seeing at least 7 toms where I go, I really hope they co-operate.

arrowflipper's picture


Thanks... I'm sure going to give it a try.  I think our chances of bagging a tom are somewhere between 80 and 100%.  I know that sounds high but we have a pretty sweet setup.  I hope to post pictures in a week or so.  I will definitely try this new cleaning method.  Thanks again.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

That is a great tip.  With me

That is a great tip.  With me headed out this weekend to chase some turkeys around maybe I can get to use your tip...thanks!

Deer Slayer's picture

I have never heard of that

I have never heard of that being done before. I won't be going turkey hunting this year because of my foot surgery. But maybe I can try it next year. If my dad goes this year and gets one I will tell him to try this. Thanks for the tip, should be an interesting one.

Rem2arms's picture

Nope, Just hold the bird by

Nope, Just hold the bird by the legs, set the bird so he's touching the ground and place a foot on each wing close to the body and pull up hard. And yes, it's the same way I clean my grouse. Works very simple, I dont like the legs either but I'm sure they may make good soup as others say. No mess, no fuss, easy cleanup !!! 

Critter's picture

The same method works on

The same method works on grouse and pheasants also.  But I have to say that making soup out of the wings and legs is just about the best soup out there.  I'll also take the breast and marinade them and then cook them on the bbq and have never had a bad piece of meat off of any of the turkeys that we have taken. 

arrowflipper's picture

not clear

Thanks for the tip..... I'm just not clear on what to pull on.  Do you lay the bird down on it's back and then step on the legs?  What do you pull up with?

I have tried multiple times to use the whole bird like Groovy Mike does, but I've found that the legs are tougher than a twisted cougar turd.  I have boiled them and made soup but the meat is still tough.  There really isn't a lot of meat on the legs.  I hope it isn't wasteful, but all we now save is the breast.  And I might add that the breast is still somewhat tough.  I do have a great recipe for turkey breast that everyone seems to love.

Our youth hunt started this morning here in Washington.  The regular season starts on the 15th.  Unfortunately, all my grandkids (except for the three really little ones) are now all too old for the youth hunt.  I sure did enjoy taking them out on the youth hunt until they hit 16.  My granddaughter took a monster.

Thanks for a great tip... as soon as I can figure out how to do it.

hunter25's picture

I have never taken a turkey

I have never taken a turkey yet but may give it a try if and when I ever do. I know it works with smaller birds like grouse so it makes perfect sense that it would for turkeys as well. Probably just have to pull a little harder.

ManOfTheFall's picture

I have never heard of that

I have never heard of that one. It sounds to easy to be true. I will give it a try and hopefully it will work. Thanks for the great tip.

groovy mike's picture

I use the whole turkey.

I breast out my geese, but I use the whole turkey. 

What I do is skin the turkey like a rabbit.  Just cut off the head then feet and wing tips at the joints, cut around the vent (I gotta look into that gut wrench!) and then cut from vent to neck over the breast and peel back the skin like you are pulling a button up shirt off the turkey.

This skins the bird so there is no messing with plucking or scalding.  We roast them whole like a Thanksgiving butterball and then make turkey soup out of all the meat left on the bones so we end up multiple meals.  When the bones are soft from boiling you cann feed them to your dogs too (just don't let them dry and get brittle and splintery).  Nothing goes to waste but feed, head and feathers.  If I am not mounting the fan even the tail and wing feathers get saved for a fellow I know who fletches his arrows with them.

jaybe's picture

place a foot on each leg by

place a foot on each leg by the body and lift straight up.

So - just to be clear - you have your feet on the legs holding the bird down, are you then lifting by the wings to pop the breast loose?

This sounds like a pretty easy method, but it seems like there would be some good meat on those legs as well.

Never hunted turkey and don't plan on it, but you never know.

Thanks for the tip.