Slow-Cooked Wild Turkey Leg “Birria-Style” Tacos

Cooking wild turkey legs has traditionally been thought of as hard work with very little reward. However, I’m here to assure you that these tacos are well worth saving that meat. Even better? Once the legs are tossed in the crock pot, set a timer for 7 hours or so and go about your day! Most people don’t realize that after cooking and deboning the legs you total up to a pound of delicious shredded meat.

Serves:  2 +/- –  Cooktime: 8 hours +/-

INGREDIENTS:

Rub:

  • 2 Wild Turkey Legs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Birria Broth:

  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 15-oz. Can Mild Enchilada Sauce
  • 1/2 Lime, Juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons Medium Red Salsa, I used El Paso
  • 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Tacos:

  • 6-8, 6-inch Flour/Corn Tortillas
  • 1/2 Med-Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 Jalapeño, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 8-10-Ounces +/- Pepper Jack Cheese, Shredded
  • Shredded Turkey Meat
  • Iceberg Lettuce, Shredded
  • Cilantro, Finely Minced, For Garnish
  • Lime Wedges, For Garnish
  • Sour Cream
  • Thin Sliced or Mashed Avocado

DIRECTIONS:

1.) If turkey legs are frozen, defrost thoroughly. In a small bowl combine seasonings and mix together to create the rub. Season both sides of turkey legs well. Set aside.

2.) In a large mixing bowl combine all the birria broth ingredients. Mix well until fully incorporated. Pour into crock pot, setting the temperature to low. Gently add turkey legs. They will not be fully submerged, this is okay! Cover and set a timer for 7 hours. Halfway through I chose to flip the legs over so both sides had equal submerged time, this is totally optional.

3.) After 7 hours, temp the meat to be sure the internal temperature is over 165ºF. Turn crock pot up to high and remove turkey legs from crock pot and place on a baking sheet to collect any extra juices that escape from the leg meat. Using two forks, carefully shred all the meat off the bone. If desired, gather together the leg bones and store in an airtight container/bag. Place in freezer, these can be used to make turkey stock! (Recipe soon!).

4.) Return the shredded meat (and any excess juices) back into the crock pot and give it a good stir. Dice onion and mince jalapeño. Place a small frypan on medium heat and let come to temp. Add olive oil, onions, and jalapeños to pan. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Let cook, occasionally stirring for 5 minutes. Add one large ladle of birria broth to pan and let simmer for an additional 2 minutes, until liquid has mostly evaporated. Strain meat and add to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Combine with onion-jalapeño mixture.

5.) Place a large frypan on medium heat and let come to temp. Dip both sides of the tortilla in the broth and place in frypan. Top one half of the tortilla with a handful of pepper jack and shredded meat. Fold other half over and repeat with as many as you can fit in the pan. Cover and cook on either side until browned and slightly crispy, about 2-3 minutes.

6.) Remove tacos from pan and serve. Garnish with whatever toppings you desire. Ladle Burria broth into a small bowl and serve alongside the tacos. Dip and enjoy!

GENERAL TIPS:

  • The excess broth in the crock pot can be frozen and saved to cook another batch of the tacos.
  • If any meat is leftover, drain from broth and store in an airtight container. I used our leftover meat for quesadillas for lunch the following day.

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