Gutting a turkey can be a very painstaking thing to do for some especially to those who are not used to handling innards. However, hunters are expected to know this process and provide assurance that doing so is a very easy and straightforward process as long one has the tools to perform such. Thus, we have decided to provide you with the essential ways on how to properly gut a turkey to make your life a lot easier. So, read on and learn from the experts!
How To Gut A Turkey- Steps to Gut a Turkey
Note: Gutting a turkey is a time-consuming process. Thus, it is always better to give yourself enough time to gut the turkey and start the process of cooking it for you to be able to serve it as scheduled.
1. Observe cleanliness and hygiene of the place where you plan to prepare the turkey. Also, let’s go back to the basics; wash your hands.
Cleaning your workspace is crucial to ensure that your turkey will be free from contamination. This can be done by thoroughly washing your hands including your fingernails. Also, use your antibacterial cleaning agent and warm water to clean the surface of your working space, your cutting boards and even knives.
2. Prepare all the necessary materials and make sure that they are within your reach.
You will need a:
- Cutting board
- Bowls and apron
- Latex-free glove is also recommended since it will come handy for those with latex allergies
3. After laying the turkey stomach-side down, prepare to free the trachea and esophagus (if the turkey still has the neck).
This can be done by cutting along the back of the neck to free the esophagus and trachea to be able to pull them out through the pelvis.
4. Flip the turkey gently onto its back.
Since you have already cut the turkey once, you need to flip it over carefully. This will prepare you to make the cut and pull the innards safely.
5. Between the breastbone and the anus, cut a horizontal slit.
Be mindful of the fact that the slit should be large enough to fit your hand so you can pull the innards without having any issues and to make sure that you do not punctuate the innards. Puncturing it, especially the gallbladder will result for a messy result since the digestive juices will begin to break down the meat that it will touch.
6. Remove the organs using your hands
Yes, there is no other way to do this but through using your strong hands. Insert your hand and pull out all the organs including the heart and lungs. You might need to set aside some of these organs such as the heart, liver and gizzard since these can be cooked. Other organs need to be properly disposed of.
7. Loosen the intestine and other digestive organs
You can do this by slicing down to the anus and cutting a circle carefully which will enable you to pull these organs out. Also, remember that these organs are not to be kept to cook. Thus, one should ensure their proper disposal.
8. Remove the trachea and the windpipe
You can do these using two methods whichever is easier and more comfortable for you to do. First, pull these parts through the pelvis or the neck after making a slit.
9. Remove the crop from the neck of the turkey
The crop is the sac in the breast of the turkey where it stores its eaten food. You can eliminate this part by cutting a slit between the neck and the chest, look for the sac and pull it apart. Most likely, this part no longer exists in store-bought turkey, but it is still recommended to check.
10. Rinse the turkey before cooking
Always make sure to use strong water pressure to properly clean all the parts of the turkey. It is also recommended to use cold water in cleaning the turkey to prevent bacteria growth. Also, make sure that all the blood and lung tissues are already removed before cooking since it might cause some problems and health issues.
11. Dry the turkey
To be able to prepare the turkey before cooking, it is always better to pat it dry with paper towels after rinsing it since this will preserve all the needed ingredients to cook it and it will also add beauty to its presentation later on.
12. Keep the turkey in a cold and refrigerated place
For those who are planning to cook the turkey after a day or two, make sure that it will be stored in a refrigerator or a freezer. Use a turkey roasting bag or a shrink wrap bag to properly preserve its quality and taste. Strictly store it in a freezer if you plan to cook it after few weeks or months.
13. Clean up your mess
Always make sure to observe hygiene before and after gutting a turkey since this will ensure health and safety protection. Always use antibacterial cleaning agents and warm water to be able to remove the bacteria existing in your working space, tools and hands.
14. Dispose the innards
Since you have already separated those parts that can still be cooked, you can now quickly determine which one should be thrown away. As established earlier, those parts and organs that cannot be cooked should be properly disposed of. It is important to use double bags in disposing these organs since stray animals such as dogs and raccoons can easily smell these innards and may create a messy result after.
The abovementioned steps are aimed to guide those who are seeking guidance and help in gutting a turkey. We have made sure that the steps indicated are simplified and doable for everyone especially those who doing such task for the first time. We only hope that this been helpful to you and your gutting needs.
You can also watch this video for easier steps in gutting a turkey:
Below are the three sources I used to come up with this article: