How to Cook Turkey Tail

MoNika asked us how to cook turkey tail. Here is the exact comment she sent to us... "My husband brought home packages of turkey tails. Now I'm a southern girl and will cook just about anything (as long as I've heard about it). I have never heard of turkey tail being separated from the actual turkey itself and sold. How do you cook it and what are some suggested sides?"

MoNika, here is a turkey tails recipe for you to try out.

Turkey Tail Stir Fry

By: Anonymous 


  • 4-5 turkey tails
  • 2 medium sized carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3/4 c. of sliced mushrooms (button or abalone)
  • 3/4 cup of thinly sliced wood ears
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced ginger
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of tapioca or corn starch
  • 1-1/2 cups of broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • sesame seed oil

Cooking procedure:

  1. Simmer the turkey tails for about an hour. Drain and cool. Cut the meat into 1/2 inch slices. Place on an oven rack about an inch apart and season with salt and paper. Place a container underneath to catch the fat. Grill in the oven until well-browned. If necessary, turn over to brown the other side.
  2. While the turkey tails brown, prepare the stir fry.
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a wok. Saute the garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the sliced onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms. Stir fry for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and a little sugar. Disperse the starch in the broth. Stir in the oyster sauce and about half a teaspoon of sesame seed oil.
  4. Drain the turkey tail slices on several layers of absorbent kitchen paper. Add to the cooked vegetables. Toss a few times. Serve at once. 

What our other visitors said about How to cook turkey tail

Raw Turkey TailsRaw Turkey Tails - Ready to Cook

Turkey Tails and Shells (By: Anonymous) 

  • Turkey tails
  • Macaroni
  • Chopped collard greens

Bake turkey tails with onion. Season to taste. Add macaroni shells. When macaroni is almost done, add chopped collard greens or any other greens. Add hot water as needed. Bake at 350 degrees in covered roaster pan or pan covered with foil until done.

Roasted Turkey Tails (By: Texcangal) - You know I found a package of turkey tails - what we used to call the "pope's nose" back home. It was always my favorite part of the turkey so I picked it up.

Simply I seasoned them with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and a little thyme and roasted them on a rack in the oven at 350 for about an hour. They turned out golden brown and crispy and tasted like they were attached to the whole bird. 

Turkey Sashimi (By: Anonymous) - Dip tails in boiling water for 5-6 seconds and immediately transfer to ice water bath. Separate meat from tail bone. Thin slice Julianne style and transfer to soy sauce laced with ginger, minced garlic, a splash of rice vinegar, and toasted sesame. 

How to Cook Turkey Tail (By: SASSY) - I am a southern lady, i love turkey tails. I bake them. When I cook collard greens I use the smoke turkey tails for my seasoning.

Why I love cooking with turkey tails (By: Anonymous) - I learned how to cook turkey tail at a young age. I use Turkey tails in my greens. I love the flavor. Turkey tails are more tasty than pork meat and they are better for you, even with the fat. During the holidays the stories run out of turkey tails very fast.

Marinate it (By: Anonymous) - Start by making deep cuts into the thickest part of the tail (on either side of the tip). Next boil, then simmer the tails in a pot of salted water until the tails are tender. Drain and cool. Marinate overnight in your favorite sauce or dressing (italian, char siu, teriyaki, etc.) then grill or bake to reheat. 

Greens and smoked turkey tails (By: Anonymous) - The only way for me to make greens is with smoked turkey tails. Boil pot of water with chopped onions and garlic salt (or season of choice). Clean tails and place in pot, boil for an hour or so, then add clean and chopped greens of choice. Cook for another hour. Enjoy! 

Can't do everything with turkey tails (By: Anonymous) - I absolutely really really like these things! Turkey tails have become one of my favorite seasoning meats or just to eat alone. I also like them in red beans and rice and gumbo! Delicious! I like my turkey tails real tender so I put them in the pressure cooker after I season with garlic cloves, little salt, pepper and chicken bouillon cube. I cook for about 40 minutes on medium high heat with 1/4 pot or little more water. I also like turkey tails with my greens. But I wouldn't want to gourmet these things in no way, that would take away the flavor of them. These are not meant to be gourmet in my opinion but to each it's reminds me of people who like to dress a hotdog up like a hamburger to eat! Tomatoes, lettuce and pickles on a hotdog?! No way! But again, to each it's own.

Smoked Turkey Tails (By: SLUGGO) -  We bought 5 pounds of fresh turkey tails and are curious how to smoke them. Do you brine them and smoke in a water smoker? 

Baked turkey tail (By: Linda) - Baked turkey tails has been my favorite meat. If cooked the right way, they are so tender and tasty. It's import that you learn how to cook turkey tail. I cook them this way: Cut turkey tails in half and lay them in a foiled baking pan. In a bowl, mix brown sugar, (or white sugar), oyster sauce, regular soy sauce and pepper. Pour them on the turkey tails and marinate for 30 minutes. Bake them at 350 degrees for an hour and half. Turn them over half way. Once tender, increase the temperature to 400 degrees for a few more minutes until each side turns brown. They have a percentage of water in them so oil and water will accumulate in the pan. Just Remove them from the oil. Enjoy!

Wonderful turkey tails recipe (By: Jay Didit) - I love them a lot. All I do is boil them with seasoning salt, black pepper, a little crush red peppers, and onions for about an hour and forty five minutes. Best to me with some good buttered rice. 

Roasted Turkey Tail (By: Anonymous) - Just about my favorite part of the bird! I rinse them off, dry, put on baking pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast at 350 for about an hour. Talk about crispy ski and tender meat. You can save the pan dripping and make gravy--to use or to save for Thanksgiving. 

Turkey tails where are you? (By: Tolie) - Does anyone know where I can find turkey tails in Texas? I'm from the west coast, and so far I have not been able to find them in the markets that I frequent. As some have already said, turkey tails are good just eaten alone (smoked are the best for this) or in beans and greens. Anything that you would normally season with pork meat, you can substitute and use the turkey tails. They are good boiled or baked. I generally buy the smoked turkey tails to cook with, but regular turkey tails are good after salting them down for about 5 days (drain off the water each day). Thanks to all the information here, I now know how to cook turkey tail.

Turkey tail is so good (By: Anonymous) - I cook greens and green beans with them, cook about an hour with onions and seasonings of choice, put enough water to cover the tails while boiling, then add greens, r green beans..sooooo delicious...enjoy 

Smoked Turkey Tails (By: Anonymous) - I like Smoked Turkey Tails. Because it's the last part that went over the fence! Other then that. They are great cooked with Collar Greens in a Pressure Cooker.

Roasted Tails (By: Anonymous) - Sprinkle tails with favorite poultry seasoning. Roast for 1 hour at 350F on screen -- tails will release a lot of fat. Serve with seasoned wild rice mixture and asparagus. 

Slow cooker turkey tails are delicious (By: Condo Cook) - I love these turkey tails... they are absolutely yummy. Since they had lots of fat and water in them
I seasoned the turkey tails with salt, pepper, liquid smoke, and a dash of hot sauce. The broiled them until they were crispy turning once. Then I put them into the slow cooker on low til they fall  apart. How long? At least 2 hrs til tender. You can add a layer of hot sauce goodness to the mix. Enjoy!

How to Cook Turkey tails (By: Anonymous) - with collard greens and 1/2 head of cabbage is just great.... I also like them with beans... In both cases I just can't get enough.

I'm the pressure cooker (By: Kisha Davis) - Hi there I'm from dirty Jersey and just a figure of speech you dig anyway just saying my turkey tails taste so dam good it makes you want to slap yo Mama and I l be dam if I let anyone slap mines just saying a Lil pepper and a small peace of butter a dab of Basil or oregano leaves me I cook it on high for one hour and then after that water Boil's down I put more two times cause we don't need all the grease feel mea then I turn it on low put the lid on it half hour I throw in the baby Lima beans let all them juice's merreñate down boil the Rice no salt in my water nothing in it but Rice clear water drain after ten minutes and then you can taste it and see why I am name the pressure cooker queen God bless you all and Happy new year. Coming straight from Jersey yaheard mea.. Peace love and respect to all.

I keep it simple (By: Anonymous) - I keep it simple.
Turkey tails simmered in onions, favorite BBQ sauce and fresh garlic with a toss of curry powered. 425 degrees 45 minutes and broil 5-10 for crispness.

Delicious ! Turkey tails are GREAT!! (By: Anonymous) - I am 70, been eating turkey tails for 50 years. I slice them next to the bone on both sides to open them up. Pressure cook for 15 minutes. Lay out on a cookie sheet and brown them until crisp. Last 10 minutes add BBQ, Sweet and sour, what ever sauce you like. Dipping sauce is good also. The tails are LOADED with fat, boiling removes a lot of fat but keeps the flavor. I buy smoked tails when I can find them, they are the best. I can remember driving 50 miles back in 1970 to buy them, they were not too popular. The best place to buy them is in a store that has a lot of southern style meats etc. The southern folks know what tastes good that's for sure. 

Where to Buy Turkey Tails

Where to buy turkey tails (By: Patty B.) - I just called one butcher shop and 2 meat rooms and cannot get turkey tails....could you tell me where you found them....thanks..

Turkey Tails my favorite of the bird too! (By: vivid) - Kroger sells turkey tails..just bought some TONIGHT 2.41 lbs for $3.61. I was thinking of cooking them as an ingredient for a homemade soup. But I liked the baked recipe better than mine. 

Turkey tail for sale (By: TTB) - They have turkey tails at my local store called Lowes. They have them on sale .98 cents a lbs. I never even knew how to cook this type of meat. 

Question (By: Anonymous) - Sassy which Kroger did you find Turkey Tails. When I come home (Memphis) I try to buy several packages to take back with me as we can not purchase them. I usually find them at Schnucks or Easy Way. They also are good in cooking fresh and dried beans.

Lee lee (By: Anonymous) - If you live in north Texas go to fiesta grocery store they carry a variety of different cuts of meat from wild game to regular meats also seafood!! Hope it helps 

Where to buy in Dallas area (By: Anonymous) - You can also find them at Krogers. If they are not out, look in the freezer section. They do not generally keep them out with the thawed meat. I have purchased them in Dallas (mockingbird and 75) as well as in Carrollton/Dallas area on Frankford and Midway (purchased yesterday to cook today). YUM!!!

Love those tails (By: Tammy) - Look for a distributor. Have a local company here in Nebraska and they let me order a case of 20lbs. Only cost me $21.80 and I got it in 4 days.