Pecan Turkey with Maple Sauce
With maple season in full swing, now is a great time to enjoy some of that fresh, boiled sap.
Of course, it’s common to throw some maple syrup on a piece of salmon and grill or broil it to perfection, but this recipe marries wild turkey and the wild sweetness of this year’s maple syrup crop.
If you’ve still got some of last fall’s bird in the freezer, it’s also a good way to use it up and make room for the spring birds you’ll be harvesting in the next couple of months.
More than its domestic cousin, the wild turkey benefits from brining before cooking because it has less fat.
Start with a large, nonaluminum container and dissolve 2 cups of canning/pickling or kosher salt in 2 gallons of water. Add the turkey and weight it down so it’s completely covered in the brine. For best results, brine the turkey overnight. Rinse and pat dry before cooking.
Depending on the recipe you are using, you can use the simple salt brine or you can add about a cup of brown sugar, molasses or maple syrup to the brine water. For a lighter flavor, try adding 2 tablespoons of mixed pickling spices or fresh herbs.
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. dark corn syrup
- 3 tbsp. applejack brandy
- 1 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 whole bone-in wild turkey breast (3-4 lbs.), skin on
- ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F
In small bowl, combine syrups, brandy and butter. Reserve ¼ cup and set remaining mixture aside.
Place turkey breast, skin side up in roasting pan. Brush evenly with 2 tablespoons reserved syrup mixture. Press pecans evenly over breast to coat. Cover with foil.
Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons reserved mixture over breast. Bake uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes, or until internal temperature registers 180°F in thickest part of breast. Serve with remaining syrup mixture.