How to Cook Turkey Tails Recipe: An Instructional Guide

Author: Natalie P. Williams
December 21, 2023

Turkey tails, often overlooked in traditional cooking, are a hidden gem of flavor and texture. This part of the bird is rich in fat and collagen, making it incredibly tender and succulent when cooked properly.

Here, we will explore a simple yet delicious recipe to cook turkey tails that will surely impress your guests. Whether you’re an experienced chef or a novice in the kitchen, this guide will provide step-by-step instructions to help you master the art of cooking turkey tails. So get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that promises an explosion of flavors!

What is a Turkey tail?

What is a Turkey tail?
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Turkey tails are meat from the tailbone of turkeys. They are also known as wingbacks or wingtips. Turkey tails are usually cooked whole and served roasted, salted, or smoked. Turkey tail is a type of meat found in the body cavity of turkeys.

The name comes from the long, cylindrical piece of meat that protrudes from the bird’s backside. This meat has a unique flavor and texture, and it’s often served as part of Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey tails are usually prepared by boiling or roasting them until tender. After cooking, they should be cooled before serving.

Tools/Equipment You’ll Need

To make turkey tails, you need a food processor, a grinder, a meat thermometer, and some kitchen tools such as spatulas, mixing bowls, measuring cups, whisks, knives, etc. If you do not already have these things at home, you should purchase them.

Recipe 1 (Grilled turkey tail)

Recipe 1 (Grilled turkey tail)
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Prep time: 1 hour 15 min

Cook Time: 2 hours 30 min

Serving: 5 people

Cooking Difficulty: Easy

Cuisine: American

Course: Appetizer

Calories: 820 calories

Nutrition Information

Nutrition (per serving): 188 calories, 23 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, .4 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 425 mg sodium


  • 5 turkey tails
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of plain vinegar
  • Water, about 1 1/2 cups.’
  • Five minced garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons of rub
  • 1/4 mug honey
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons
  • 2 minced garlic cloves.


  1. Before you start cooking, you should check the turkey tails. Remove any individual feathers you find by grasping them with a paper towel.
  2. To marinate, put the tails in a plastic bag and seal it. Put vinegar, 5 minced garlic cloves in the water, and 1 teaspoon of turkey rub. Take out all the air and put a lid on it. Put it in a big bowl, cover it with the fridge, and let it chill for an hour.
  3. Grill: Prepare an indirect heat zone between 250 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Take the tails out of the marinade and pat them dry with a paper towel after an hour. Apply around 1 tablespoon of turkey rub on the entire body.
  5. Smoke the turkey tails, skin side up, for about 2 1/2 hours over indirect heat. To get the desired mahogany color and internal temperature of 205-210°F, the skins should be cooked at a high temperature.
  6. Put a small pot on top of the coals to use as a glaze. Put in the soy sauce, honey, dijon mustard, and 2 minced garlic cloves. Add some spice by mixing in some spicy sauce.
  7. Do not boil, but simmer. And then brush it onto the tails.
  8. Taking the pot off the griddle. Put the top back on and continue smoking the tails for another 10 minutes.

Recipe 2 (Baked Turkey tail)

Recipe 2 (Baked Turkey tail)
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Prep time: 5 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Serving: 4 people

Cooking Difficulty: Easy

Cuisine: American

Course: Appetizer

Calories: 680 calories

Nutrition Information

Nutrition (per serving): 680 calories, 23 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, .4 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 425 mg sodium


  • One large turkey tail
  • One teaspoon of Olive oil
  • One teaspoon of Salt
  • One teaspoon of Chilli powder


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut one large turkey tail into thin slices, about ¼ inch thick.
  3. Give oil on each piece lightly and sprinkle with salt or seasoning of your choice (I used chili powder).
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until crispy and golden brown on both sides—keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

Recipe 3 (Air fried)

Recipe 3 (Air fried)
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Prep time: 5 min

Cook Time:8 min

Serving: 4 people

Cooking Difficulty: Easy

Cuisine: American

Course: Appetizer

Calories: 600 calories

Nutrition Information

Nutrition (per serving): 600 calories, 23 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, .4 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 9 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 425 mg sodium


  • One lb. (454 g) turkey tail, cleaned
  • 1 cup (240 ml) Oil spray to coat the turkey tails
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Cube the turkey tails to a thickness of about half an inch. They’ll cook more uniformly if they’re all about the same thickness.
  2. Arrange the seasoned coating in a low dish with a lip. Spray the turkey tail wedges with oil and press them gently but firmly into the seasoned layer.
  3. Spread the turkey tails out in a single layer in the air fryer’s basket or tray (cook in batches if needed). Then, apply another thin layer of oil by spraying.
  4. For 10 minutes, air fry the turkey tails at 380 degrees Fahrenheit (195 degrees Celsius). The turkey tails need a gentle rotation. If there are any dry areas, treat them with an oil spray.
  5. Keep Air Frying at 380 degrees Fahrenheit (195 degrees Celsius) for 8-12 minutes or until crispy. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Relish while hot and garnish with your selections (ketchup, mustard, ranch, BBQ sauce, etc.)

Why did you choose the recipe?

If you’re a fan of crispy fried turkey tails, but hate the mess that comes with using oil in your deep fryer, then this is the recipe for you. Air frying is an excellent alternative to traditional deep frying because it uses hot air instead of oil. The result is delicious Turkey tail fries with fewer calories and more nutrition. Plus, they’re much easier to clean up after.

What Makes This Recipe So Great?

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to regular fried turkey tails, try making them with sweet turkey tails. Sweet turkey tails are a delicious side dish or snack full of vitamins and nutrients.

They don’t just taste great, but they’re also better for you than their white counterparts because they have fewer calories, more fiber, and more vitamin A.

Can cooked turkey tails be frozen?

Can cooked turkey tails be frozen?
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You can put them in the freezer. Turkey tail turkey tails don’t require thawing before being reheated. Straight from the freezer, arrange them in a single layer. Then air fries them for three to five minutes at 380 degrees Fahrenheit or until they reach your desired crispiness.

What should I serve with the recipe?

If you think turkey tail recipes are good, try them with a homemade dipping sauce. You can make your mayo or salsa and create a custom dipping sauce that matches the flavor of your turkey tails. Otherwise, you can use store-bought sauces such as ketchup or BBQ sauce to enhance the flavors of the turkey tail recipe.

You can try tomatoes and mozzarella cheese or sour cream and bacon crumbles. Or go simple with salt and pepper (or your favorite seasonings). Ketchup and chipotle mayo dip is a great way to serve turkey tail. You can also use ranch dressing, salsa, or sour cream as dips. Guacamole and cheese are good toppings for turkey tails.

Variations you can make.

The final honey soy glaze is fully interchangeable. You can serve them unglazed, with your preferred glaze, or even barbeque sauce.

Expert Tips

  • If you’re using sliced turkey tails, ensure they’re all the same thickness. Uneven cooking is to be expected from thick and thin cuts. Unfortunately, some will get burned before the others are done.
  • If your air fryer is on the smaller side, you’ll need to work in increments.
  • You may avoid the tasteless Turkey tails by seasoning them appropriately with salt and pepper.
  • To ensure the breading sticks to the turkey tails, oil the wedges and press them into the breading mixture.
  • Breading of any brand will do. It’s fantastic for turkey tails, even if it’s labeled for chicken or other meats.
  • Choose barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, buttermilk ranch dressing, or hot sauce to dip. The options are limitless.
  • Use a paper towel to pick up and discard any stray feathers.
  • Soak in vinegar or a turkey brine.
  • The tails should turn a deep mahogany color as this stage approaches.
  • Render the fat by cooking them to 205–210 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Incorporate a glaze for extra crunch on the skin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs:)

1. How long do waffle fries take to cook in an air fryer?

Waffles are ready when they’re golden brown with crispy edges. Then, it takes only 10 minutes.

2. How do you cut turkey tails?

You can use a turkey tail peeler to slice the turkey tails into strips. Then, it would be best to put them in cold water with some salt, so they don’t turn brown.

3. Do you have to pierce a turkey tail before baking it in the air fryer?

No, you do not need to pierce turkey tails before cooking them in an air fryer.

4. Should I wrap my turkey tail in foil before air frying?

Wrapping your turkey tails in aluminum foil will help them retain moisture. However, wrapping them too tightly can cause them to stick together when fried.

5. What’s the best oil for an air fryer?

The best oil for an air fryer is canola oil. Canola oil has a high smoke point, making it suitable for deep frying. However, if you use olive oil, you will need to reduce the amount used.


Turkey Tail is a new brand from Japan that offers home appliances explicitly designed for cooking fried turkey tails. Fried turkey tail dishes are very common in Japanese cuisine. They are usually served alongside rice or noodles and accompanied by dipping sauces such as Dashi (a clear broth) or Sake. This dish has become a staple at every family meal, especially during the winter holidays. We hope this post has given you ideas for new ways to make turkey tail recipes at home. Also, check out our online resources if you’re looking for more great recipes and tips on cooking with your air fryer.

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