- Turkey tails: These are a little easier to find in some areas of the country than others. I buy mine at Wal-Mart. Foster Farms sells them in 2.2-pound packages. You may also have luck finding them at an Asian or Latin market.
- White vinegar: This is used for the quick marinade.
- Water: Water is used in the marinade to help dilute the acidity of the vinegar.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic for both the marinade and soy honey glaze.
- Turkey rub: You can season the turkey tails however you’d like. My homemade turkey rub is a great option.
- Honey: The glaze at the end uses honey as a sweetener and to give it that nice gloss.
- Soy sauce: The glaze also includes soy sauce to provide saltiness and a mahogany color.
- Dijon mustard: The mustard is added to the glaze to help emulsify it.
I find the briquettes add plenty of smoke flavor, but if you want you can also add 1-2 wood chunks. Cherry, pecan and oak all would work great.
The easiest way to remove these is to take a small piece of a paper towel and then grip them and give them a pull. They’ll pop right out.
Turkey tails also have a gland attached to them, but fortunately those are removed during processing before they reach your grocery store.
If you happen to be buying turkey tails from a local farmer, be sure to ask them to remove that part. It can cause the meat to have a tainted taste.
Place them in a zip-top bag and keep them refrigerated for about an hour. You can go a little longer, but I wouldn’t go past 4 hours. Otherwise, the meat will start to get chewy.
This is a great time to light the grill.
If your temperature is lower (say around 225F degrees), they’ll take longer and the skin may not get as crispy.
You can speed up the process by raising the temp to 300F, but I haven’t tried cooking them hotter than that, because we’re smoking them, not grilling them.
Place a small pot over the charcoal and add honey, soy sauce, dijon mustard and garlic. You can also add a couple dashes of hot sauce if you like.
Once you pull off one of the sides, that’s when you get into that lusciously juicy meat.
If you pull the meat, it’s especially good cooked up in a skillet or broiled in the oven, because then the fat renders even more, giving it the consistency of carnitas.
You can also add the chopped meat to collard greens or baked beans.