Hot Honey Wild Turkey Tenders

These tenders are extra crispy and extra flavorful. This recipe is a great way to use up that wild turkey meat from this past season. Plus these tenders are easier to make than you would think! The homemade sticky hot honey sauce is sure to be a crowd pleaser for any party or game day.

The recipe is pretty straight forward. We will start by seasoning and marinating our wild turkey. For this we will need an array of seasonings, some buttermilk and hot sauce. We’ll marinate wild turkey strips for 4-12 hours depending on your life schedule. After that all we need to do is dredge the turkey strips into our breading mixture, which is a delicious combination of crushed cornflakes and seasonings.

There’s two ways to cook these tenders: air frying or deep frying. Both ways leave you with juicy and crispy turkey tenders so make them however you prefer. The sweet, spicy, sticky, sour hot honey sauce takes them to another level and is so easy to make yourself – you just need four ingredients and you can make it as the turkey cooks.

Tips for Cooking Wild Turkey

  • The biggest complaint about wild turkey that I hear is that it’s though. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be. Most people who complain about it being tough are overcooking it. When cooked properly, it can be almost as tender as chicken. When cooking with wild game, I always recommend using a meat thermometer. Do not cook the wild turkey past 165 degrees F.
  • Take your time when trimming and cleaning the bird. Remove any fat you see.  These birds have a jellylike fat layer, referred to as the sponge, attached to the front edge of the breast. This needs to be completely removed.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Can I swap out wild turkey meat for another meat? Yes! You can use virtually any upland bird including pheasant, quail, chukar, etc. You could even use something more commercially available like chicken! Just note that the cooking times will vary with meats of different sizes.
  • Can I swap the hot honey sauce for my favorite dipping sauce? Absolutely! Use whatever your heart desires. Honey mustard, hot sauce, or barbecue sauce are great options. They all go with the seasonings used in this recipe.
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Hot Honey Wild Turkey Tenders

Hot Honey Wild Turkey Tenders

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Transform your spring success into these delicious wild turkey tenders. A wild turkey breast gets cut into thin strips, marinated in buttermilk then dredged in a seasoned cornflake breading. Drizzle with the homemade hot honey for the ultimate flavor bomb.

  • Author: Jenn Homa

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 Wild Turkey Breast, Cut into Strips
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Franks Red Hot 
  • 1 tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne 
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 cup Cornflakes, crushed 
  • Cooking Oil Spray or Frying Oil (for Deep Frying)
  • Ranch, for Serving (Optional)

Hot Honey

  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoon Franks Red Hot
  • ½1 teaspoon Chili Flakes 

Instructions

  1. Cut wild turkey breast into strips. Lightly tenderize using a meat mallet.
  2. Add strips to a large bowl with a lid or ziplock bag. Add in seasonings and mix well. Pour in buttermilk and franks red hot. Mix until the turkey strips are well coated. Allow to marinate for 4-12 hours. 
  3. After the marinade time is up, dredge the marinated turkey tenders directly into the crushed cornflakes until well coated.
  4. Cook the Turkey Tenders:
    1. Air Fryer Method: Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F. Spray the basket of the air fryer with cooking spray, then place the turkey tenders into the basket, leaving room between each tender to allow the air to  circulate. Spray the tenders with a little more oil spray. Air fry in batches for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through. The turkey tenders should be golden brown and have reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
    2. Deep Fry Method: heat oil in a large deep cast iron skillet or deep fryer until it reaches 350 degrees. Fry the turkey strips in batches until they reach 165 degrees and not one degree over for best results. 
  5. While the turkey pieces are in the air fryer, melt the butter for the hot honey sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, mix in honey, hot sauce and chili flakes. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer for one minute. 
  6. Toss the wild turkey strips into the hot honey sauce and serve with ranch for dipping if desired.

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