How to Clean Turkey Necks? Thanksgiving Food Preparation Guides!

There are so many things to consider when cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, from how you should cook it to what side dishes to serve. But there’s one thing that people often forget about until the last minute: how they’re going to clean the turkey neck. It can be overwhelming to figure out how to remove the bones from the neck with just your hands, but thankfully, it’s not too hard with a little preparation and patience. Here are simple tips and guides for how to clean turkey necks!

Washing the turkey neck

Your turkey neck is packed with lots of bones. It’s the most tender part of the turkey, so you can often find it intact and somewhat moist when it comes out of the bird. You can definitely feel the bones when you touch the turkey neck, but a few quick rinses with cold water can wash the bird’s neck. It doesn’t need to be fully submerged.

Once the turkey neck is rinsed with cold water, you can apply mild soap and wipe away the filth and debris. If the turkey neck is still wet, you can run the dishwasher or take it outside to work the neck on the grass or patio. But it’s best to dry it the first time you use it. Then the turkey neck will be ready for the next day.

Soak in salt water for 10-15 minutes

Before you try to rinse your turkey neck in water, prepare the bath in advance. Use an ice bath to get the turkey neck at the right temperature and in the best shape. Saltwater is great because it contains a few salts that help remove the skin and break easily. Take the turkey neck, place it in the ice bath and cover it with a towel. Set the turkey in the bath and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. This will help loosen the skin. Then take it out and rinse it well in saltwater. Make sure you use enough water to cover the neck completely. It will help rinse away the salt but not wash away all of the meat. Rinse until the water runs clear, or the neck is completely clean.

Use a sharp knife to cut off the skin

One of the most time-consuming parts of preparing a turkey is removing the skin, but you don’t have to do it alone! This is where having a sharp, serrated knife comes in handy. A big knife will give you a better and more precise cut than a regular knife, and you’ll also have more room to work with, so you can remove the skin more easily.

Cut out any remaining bones

It’s really easy to cut out the last bones from the turkey neck when you first get home from the grocery store. Simply cut through the large bone near the neck. Make sure you cut at a slight angle, so the knife goes straight through, not at an angle. And if you don’t want to cut through the bone itself, you can cut it out with a sharp paring knife or needle-nose pliers.

Lift the skin off with your hands

When you reach inside the turkey, it is common to find many innards, including the hearts, gizzards, and so on. If you want to save any of those parts, you’ll need to peel them away from the rest of the turkey. If you have a turkey baster, this is the best way to do it.

Remove any feathers or other pieces, then rinse again

Step 1: Remove any feathers or other pieces of skin from the neck before washing. Next, you’ll want to wash the area to be cleaned with soap and warm water.

Step 2: Rinse with warm water and warm, unscented laundry detergent.

Step 3: Dry the neck by gently rubbing it with paper towels. Be careful not to use your hands to remove the bones! You want to move the neck skin from under the bones with your fingers.

Step 4: If your turkey neck still has a good amount of skin on it after this step, it’s time to remove the skin with some household scissors. Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim the skin down to the bone.

Step 5: Rinse your turkey neck in warm, unscented water and dry it with a clean, soft towel.

Step 6: Next, you’ll need to scrub off any remaining dirt and skin on the neck.

Things to Remember

  • Remove all skin from the turkey neck, except for the fatty parts (inner thighs and the wing bones).
  • Leave the cavity of the turkey intact so you can stuff your bird and make sure the turkey cooks evenly.
  • Use a kitchen towel or paper towel to clean and dry the turkey neck before cooking it.
  • Wash the neck in a sink or bathtub filled with warm water. Avoid soap and warm water to avoid doing further damage to the turkey’s surface.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather that’s tough enough to remove the skin and bones from the turkey neck.
  • Rinse the turkey neck in the sink or bathtub until you can no longer see the skin. Don’t be afraid to scrub the neck in the sink, though – just make sure you rinse your hands quickly and that you rinse your hands with clean water.

Final Thoughts

Proper turkey cleaning comes down to a few very important things: patience, follow-through, and some elbow grease.

If you can’t hold back the tears, get your friends together and make a pact to do the dirty work on the day of Thanksgiving dinner.

If you have the patience, make a game out of it. The goal is to get all the bones out without damaging the meat inside. We hope that this article helps you a lot. Thanks for checking out our article!

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