By Josh Boyd
As winter begins to loosen its clutches over much of the nation, an undeniable change begins to take place. One by one, trees come into bloom, birds begin to chirp, and much of what surrounds us bursts forth into vivid shades of green that we have not seen in quite some time.
However, for the avid turkey hunter at heart, the spring brings forth another change that we have eagerly awaited. As long beards begin to strut and gobble, we prepare our gear, scout our spots, and pattern our shotguns, all in anticipation of opening morning.
For countless hunters every year, this scenario plays out to much anticipation. When successful in the spring turkey woods, we are often left to decide how to prepare our bird for the table. While several options exist, some dishes naturally stand out above others.
One such dish is that of Grilled Jalapeño and Bacon Turkey Bites. This dish is equal parts restaurant appetizer, and homestyle cooking, virtually guaranteeing that no tastes go uncatered to. These bite-sized culinary creations are sure to satisfy as either a side item or an entree if they are prepared in a sizeable enough quantity.
Gather Supplies and Ingredients
Before beginning, ensure that you have gathered all supplies/ingredients and that everything needed is at your disposal. This streamlines the process, saves you time, and is conducive to creating the best possible finished product.
* 1-pound cut bacon
* 1-½ pounds wild turkey breast
* 3 whole jalapeños
* Marinade of choice
* Sliced cheese (optional)
After gathering all the needed supplies, prepare the marinade in which your turkey will be placed. This marinade can consist of nearly any mixture that you wish to use, allowing an individual to hone the recipe itself into his or her tastes.
Though virtually any marinade can be used, the following recipe has served my efforts well in the past, and should do the same for you in the future.
* ¼ cup olive oil
* 2 tbsp white vinegar
* 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* ½ tsp ground pepper
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tbsp brown sugar
Prepare Breast Meat
You will now cut your breast meat into small segments. Though specific cut dimensions can be tailored to suit, 1”x1” cubes tend to make ideal bite-sized portions. Make these cuts while keeping the breast’s thickness intact.
With the breast meat cut into cubes, you can now place each piece into your pre-prepared marinade. This is most easily accomplished by placing the cubes into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag, following this with your marinade. Lightly shake this bag to evenly coat the contents within, then allow the mixture to stand for two hours.
Slice Jalapeños and Cut Bacon
Shortly before removing the cubed turkey from its marinade, you will need to slice your jalapeños to size. Before doing so, cut the jalapeños lengthwise, to expose the seeds within. Remove these seeds in their entirety before proceeding.
The jalapeños will now be cut into thin slices that are equivalent to the diameter of the previously cubed breast meat.
If you choose to add cheese to your turkey bites, slices of the cheese variety that you choose will be cut in a size similar to that of the above-mentioned jalapeños.
You will now prepare your bacon at this time as well. Cut each slice of bacon in half, as this will be the size needed to wrap your cubed turkey in the steps to follow.
Wrap Turkey and Cook
With your cubed turkey marinated, and all other ingredients cut as specified, you will assemble these ingredients in preparation for cooking.
Begin by removing each cubed section of breast meat from your marinade. Place one slice of jalapeño, and one piece of turkey within the center of a previously cut piece of bacon. If cheese is to be used, incorporate a pre-cut slice at this time in an identical manner.
Continue by wrapping this piece of bacon around the turkey and jalapeño within to encompass their circumference, affixing all in place with a toothpick. Continue replicating this process until no turkey remains.
Next, turn on your grill, setting it to medium heat (300-350 degrees). Allow your grill to preheat until reaching adequate temperature. After some time has been allowed for your grill to reach the desired temperature, place each piece of turkey onto its cooking surface.
Roll your turkey bites at an interval of every two minutes to promote even and thorough cooking throughout. As a general rule, when the bacon that is affixed to the turkey’s exterior is done, so will be the turkey within.
When you tag your turkey this spring, consider an alternative to the fried turkey breast that has become the norm for so many. Instead, throw yourself a curveball and branch out in your wild game culinary endeavors. However, this recipe would not be complete without a fair warning. One turkey bite will turn into twenty, as it comes as an impossibility to eat just one.