Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Easy-Peasy Turkey Bone Broth

When we butchered our two tom turkeys last month, I couldn't wait until Thanksgiving so I cooked one up that same week.

A Bourbon Red heritage turkey

I brined the bird with this recipe and then used these instructions to cook it. It was heavenly. All of the work that went into raising and butchering those birds was so worth it! We butchered or sold all of our (admittedly pesky and sometimes violent) turkeys, but I think they will reappear on our homestead at some point in the future. The turkey tasted that good.

As a sign of respect for the turkey and the sustenance it gave us, I was determined that nothing would go to waste. We ate roast turkey, turkey tetrazzini, the best turkey soup ever, and even grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches. After five days of nothing but turkey, we were pretty much over it, but I knew the turkey still had more to give.

I made a broth from the picked over bones of the bird. It's easy! You should definitely try this with your Thanksgiving fowl if you've never done it before.

I put all the bones from the turkey into a 6 qt. crock pot. I added a couple of splashes of apple cider vinegar, some black peppercorns, and some bits of carrots, onion, and celery that I had hanging around in the produce bin. The vinegar is to help leech out all the wonderful minerals that are in the bones, which is one of the things that makes bone broth so incredibly nutritious. I covered the bones about 3/4 of the way with water and set the crock pot on low.

It cooked for 48 hours straight and my house smelled like luscious roast turkey the entire time. Of course we were pretty sick of turkey at that point so it wasn't a particularly enticing odor. I added a bit more water a couple of times, but otherwise the broth attended to itself.

After 48 hours, the bones were partially dissolved and my broth was a rich brown color. I strained the broth and measured it into pint freezer containers.  

And that was it! I now have some high-quality turkey broth that will add richness to any dish I add it to. I also have the satisfaction that we honored the turkey by truly using every last bit of it.


  1. To use every bit of it, what did you do with the feathers and intestines?

    1. Many of the feathers went to a friend of ours with cats. Apparently cats love turkey feathers. Other feathers ended up in the compost pile. The turkey guts were the subject of an anatomy lesson for our homeschooled children. If I butchered more animals, I would look into composting the guts like Joel Salatin does on Polyface Farm or using them to feed black soldier flies to feed my chickens.