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How to Identify the Parts of a Turkey

Once you've purchased a turkey, you will need to be able to distinguish the neck from the tail. Here's a quick lesson in turkey anatomy.


  • Step 1: Position the turkey Place the bird breast side up on a plate, with the legs pointed back and up to you.
  • Step 2: Examine the legs Pull one of the legs away from the body. The drumstick is the outermost part of the leg, below the knee joint. Above that is the thigh, which extends toward the back of the turkey.
  • Step 3: Examine the wings Pull one of the wings away from the body. The drummette is the part of the wing nearest the body. The wing tip is at the very outside of the wing. In between is the flat middle section.
  • Step 4: Examine the breast Examine the turkey's neck area. The adjacent breast is quite large. The tenderloin is a small section of breast meat taken from the inside of the breast near the keel bone.
  • TIP: The term "tender" refers to any strip of breast meat.
  • Step 5: Look for the giblets Look for a small package inserted in the body cavity by the packer containing the turkey's liver, heart, and gizzard. These parts are referred to as the giblets. Now you can identify what part is your favorite.
  • FACT: An adult wild turkey has anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 feathers.

You Will Need

  • Whole turkey
  • Plate

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