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Wild Turkey Leg Carnitas

Enjoy this Mexican-inspired wild turkey carnitas recipe, adapted by DSG Outerwear team member Melissa Lindsay.

DSG Outerwear team member Melissa Lindsay called this Mexican-inspired wild turkey carnitas recipe her all-time favorite. Turn your wild turkey legs into an extra easy dinner with your slow cooker.

Wild turkey legs are tough; they are stringy and there is not much meat on them. A lot of people think that they are not worth the hassle, but I do not like to waste anything. I usually pluck my turkey and roast it, making soup with the leftovers, but last year I decided to breast my bird out and keep the legs so I could finally try some new recipes. This winter, I accidentally pulled two wild turkey legs out of the freezer thinking they were pheasant. I was stumped on what to do with them, but came across a recipe from Hank Shaw for Wild Turkey Leg Carnitas. I followed the recipe step-by-step and I was pleasantly surprised by how tender and flavorful the meat was. Since then, I have adapted the recipe to make it my own and it seems to get better every time we cook it. I have even tried it with goose and the traditional pork, and it is also delicious. Enjoy!


2 turkey legs
900 milliliters chicken broth
2 oranges, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
6 garlic gloves, smashed
1 jalapeno (including seeds), sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
3 bay leaves
¼ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil


1) Add everything but the olive oil to a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, until the meat is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork. Allow extra time if you are cooking an old tom, it may end up taking longer for the wild meat to get tender.

2) Once the meat is cooked and tender, remove from the pot and let it cool. Then shred the meat off the bones.

3) Add the olive oil and shredded turkey to a frying pan and brown the meat to your preference. Some like it soft, some like it crispy. At the end you can also add some of the juices from the slow cooker back to the meat.

4) Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, salads, or whatever sounds good to you. This turkey can also be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to a week, or frozen in a sealed container for up to three months.

Notes: When storing the leftover meat, you can add some of the leftover juices to keep it tender and flavorful.

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