Many thanks to everyone who entered our wild turkey recipe contest. We received a bunch that surely make some fine dishes, and one in particular that made us grin:
One bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon
Branch water (optional)
Medium-size glass

Remove cap from bottle.
Take small sip to check for freshness.
Place ice in glass (Take another small sip to determine temperature. It should be room temperature or warmer. Or colder.).
Add three fingers of Wild Turkey to glass (It’s ok if you get too much in the glass. Just take a small sip to ensure correct proportions.).
Add branch water if desired.
Repeat above steps as necessary.

While we appreciate the submitter’s sense of humor, we were looking for the best recipe for making a meal of wild turkey meat. The final word in that matter was that of Chef Charlie Palmer, who selected John MacDonald’s Buttermilk Fried Turkey as the winner.

Buttermilk Fried Turkey
Makes 4 portions
1 wild turkey breast
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. granulated onion
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (more if you prefer it spicy)
1 tsp. white pepper
2 tbsp. rubbed sage
1 qt. buttermilk

Fillet breast to ½- to ¾-inch thick.
Soak in buttermilk over night.
Mix dry ingredients.
Remove turkey pieces from the buttermilk and place directly into the seasoned flour.
Dredge thoroughly.
Pan fry over medium heat in ¼ inch of vegetable oil, turning over once after 4 to 5 minutes, or deep fry for 6 minutes at 350.

As for why he selected MacDonald’s recipe above all others, Palmer said, “I chose John MacDonald’s Buttermilk Fried Turkey for a few reasons. For one, wild turkey meat tends to be a little on the dryer side compared to your regular Thanksgiving dinner turkey. By soaking it in buttermilk overnight, you are locking in the moisture and also enriching the flavor of the meat. Secondly, pan-frying it is a good way to go. John’s recipe has us filleting off the turkey breasts and pan-frying them, which will continue to keep the meat moist. Finally, the cayenne pepper and seasonings he’s used in his flour will give you some great flavor with just the right amount of kick. Nice work John!”

For winning the contest, John MacDonald will receive a prize pack that includes a [Bass Pro Shops 30-Quart Propane Turkey Fryer]( 30-Quart-Propane-Turkey-Fryer/product/10213296/); a signed copy of Charlie Palmer’s book [Great American Food]( cid=92); and a sampling of marinades, rubs, and seasonings from Hi Mountain.

Congrats, John, and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Photo Credit: National Wild Turkey Federation