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Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey Carcass Stock

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  • Carcass of 12–14-pound turkey

Recipe Preparation

  • Using your hands, break the leftover carcass into 4 pieces. Transfer carcass, along with any other leftover bones from your turkey, to a large tall stockpot and cover with 1 gallon of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, skimming the surface occasionally, until stock is concentrated in flavor, about 3 hours. Strain stock into a large saucepan and boil until reduced to 2 quarts, about 1 hour longer.

Recipe by The Bon Appétit Test Kitchen

Nutritional Content

One cup contains: Calories (kcal) 34.6 %Calories from Fat 40.8 Fat (g) 1.6 Saturated Fat (g) 0.8 Cholesterol (mg) 6.1 Carbohydrates (g) 1.0 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 1.0 Net Carbs (g) 1.0 Protein (g) 4.0 Sodium (mg) 140.0Reviews Section

Slow Cooker Homemade Turkey Stock

Don’t discard your turkey bones, instead make Homemade Turkey Stock! Add leftover turkey bones, vegetables, herbs and spices with water and cider vinegar into your slow cooker and let it do the work. Yields approximately 12 cups in 6 hours.

The worst thing you can do this Thanksgiving is throw away the leftover turkey carcass. There is so many vitamins and nutrients, not to mention flavor, in those turkey bones that would go to waste if you pitched it in the trash. So don’t! This year, toss those turkey bones with some veggies, herbs and spices into your slow cooker for a nutritious and delicious homemade turkey stock.

I have a soup recipe to make with this stock. However, if you don’t have any immediate plans, this stock also can be easily portioned off into freezer-safe containers and then frozen.

To Make Slow Cooker Homemade Turkey Stock You Will Need:

  • bones from 1 turkey carcass
  • carrots
  • onions
  • celery stalks
  • garlic
  • parsley
  • thyme
  • bay leave
  • black peppercorns
  • apple cider vinegar
  • 12 cups of cool filtered water

First things first, depending on how large your slow cooker is, you may need to break down the carcass to fit properly. I did it with both hefty kitchen sheers and also a cleaver.

Next, add in the chopped (unpeeled) carrots, celery, smashed unpeeled garlic and onion halves. For the onions, I cut off the root end and sliced in half, leaving their skins on. I also left the garlic skins on as well. From what I’ve read, onion and garlic skins are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and flavonoids, particularly quercetin.

Add in 6 sprigs fresh parsley, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves and then 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns.

Lastly, pour in 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 12 cups filtered water. I’ve done some research and have read that adding vinegar will help draw out the nutrients in the bones.

Secure the lid to your slow cooker and set to high for 6 to 8 hours.

I was losing sunlight, but this is what the broth looks like at the 4-1/2 hour mark. At the 6 hour mark the onions will be more translucent and the turkey stock will be a deep golden color.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and discard the carcass using tongs. Set a mesh strainer into a large measuring cup (I needed two 8-cup measuring cups) and line with cheesecloth. Carefully pour the broth into the cheesecloth lined strainer. Once filled, move the strainer to the other measuring cup to pour the remaining homemade turkey stock through. Allow the stock to cool completely before storing.

For Freezing:

Pour the cooled stock into 2-cup freezer safe containers and store in the back of your freezer for up to 12 months. To thaw, run lukewarm water over the container until thawed or defrost in your microwave.

Otherwise you can store your stock in an air-tight container until ready to use in soup or gravy.

For more homemade broths and stocks, Click Here!

Enjoy! And if you give this Homemade Turkey Stock recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe

I love making a delicious Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe. It fills the house with gorgeous aromas as it cooks away slowly. You are then left with a lovely broth that you can make your own homemade soup with or other sauces or recipes. The turkey carcass is just something you would otherwise throw away. Why not put it to good use. Making a turkey stock is easy and rewarding.

Easy simple ingredients go into making a great stock. I don&rsquot bother peeling all the onions, or the shallots or garlic. I actually just throw a whole head of garlic in plus a few additional cloves. Speaking of cloves but the spice variety, I have always studded the onion that I don&rsquot peel with cloves. It gives depth of flavor but no real heavy clove taste at all. I love it and makes the house even more aromatic while cooking.

All loaded into the pot. I leave some of the meat on the carcass for more flavor in your broth. Leftover turkey though is already diced and waiting for me in the fridge when I want to make soup though.

To get a lovely clear broth I always strain the broth through a few layers of cheese cloth. It gets rid of any tiny bits that you would rather not have in your soup or sauces.

Clear and full of flavor is the broth from this recipe. A real winner to make your homemade soups or other recipes. I have also done a similar recipe in my stock pot using a chicken carcass for chicken broth but it would work here very well too. Here is the recipe for Overnight Slow Cooker Chicken Stock. I would also like to share with you my lovely Easy Light Turkey Noodle Soup. So healthy and wonderful. Pure comfort food in my mind.

Turkey Stock

Traditionally, stock is made from food not desired for consumption in its current, more complex form. Bones, cartilage, feet, joints and skin are the most common items used to make animal-based stock. A broth is similar to stock, but the name “broth” usually implies that it was made with fresh meat and that it is seasoned in such a way that it could be consumed on its own. Stock is not prepared in this way. It is itself a raw ingredient in cooking, from which broth could be made.

Making stock from poultry is quite popular and is perhaps easier than making stock from other animals. Poultry bones, joints and skin have lots of collagen in them, which, when simmered for 4-5 hours with vegetables and herbs, will be released into the water, thickening it. Collagen is only one tiny step away from becoming gelatin, and hence has many of its characteristics. The result is a thickened, flavorful liquid that can be used to make hundreds of sauces, soups, stews, braised dishes and gravies.

3 Common Mistakes Turkey Hunters Make

Sunrises, ticks, and mistakes are all parts of turkey hunting. Some days the planets align and we can sling a dead turkey over our shoulder regardless of how many errors we made. But most other days we leave the woods frustrated and empty-handed. Sometimes it’s because the turkeys simply didn’t want to cooperate. Other times it’s because we screwed something up along the way. Failing to thoroughly scout your hunting areas or pattern your turkey.

Slow Cooker Turkey Stock

This Slow Cooker Turkey Stock is seriously easy. Not only does it yield an amazing stock that is so full of flavor and beats anything you can buy in the grocery store, it’s done in the slow cooker so you don’t have to think twice. Save this recipe, save your Thanksgiving carcass and get on the slow cooker stock train- I promise you’ll thank me.

I know I preach homemade cooking a lot on Mountain Mama Cooks (I really do think it’s the answer to just about anything) but bare with me as I shout loud from my soap box, STOCK MADE FROM SCRATCH CAN NOT BE REPLICATED IN A CARTON FROM THE GROCERY STORE. Convenient, yes, but a subpar product. It doesn’t taste the same (read: bland and full of additives), it doesn’t yield the same health benefits (homemade stock is a healing power house) and in the end, homemade stock is a trillion times cheaper to make at home.

If you’ve ever had homemade stock then you know that it doesn’t even compare to that which you get in the grocery store. I don’t care if it’s organic, all natural etc, etc.- it just won’t taste as good as homemade. ‘Tis the case with most items that are homemade vs. store bought but I can’t think of another item where this is a truer statement. And I’m not sure if you know this but homemade stock, or bone broth, is a nutrient powerhouse. Bone broth has so many health benefits. It contains oodles of absorbable minerals, it contains broken down material from the cartilage and tendons that is ultra supportive for joints, it can heal guts, decrease inflammation, promote healthy bones, and decrease the duration of various viruses. Seriously you guys- nutrient powerhouse.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, now is your chance to give it a whirl if you’ve never made your own stock before. Save your carcass and pull out the slow cooker. I’ve made stock on the stove top and in the slow cooker oodles of times and the slow cooker is my go to strictly for ease. It’s a no brainer and once I turn the slow cooker on, I don’t have to think about the stock again. I let my stock simmer for about 24 hours. I know it might seem excessive but go with me on this one. The result is a stock that has depth, is rich and chocked full of flavor.

Using Turkey Bones to Make Stock

Each year, I save my turkey bones and use them to make turkey stock in a slow cooker.

On Thanksgiving day my husband cleans the meat off the turkey and I put the bones in a large Crock-Pot and make turkey stock. I use the turkey stock along with the other leftovers to make dinner for several days after Thanksgiving, including:

Making turkey stock in a slow cooker is very easy. It is also extremely frugal since you already have the bones.

Turkey Bone Thanksgiving Gumbo

Turkey bone gumbo, Thanksgiving gumbo or Turkey Carcass Gumbo - no matter the name you use, it is a great way to transform at least one of your Thanksgiving leftovers into a whole 'nother meal, by extracting every ounce of flavor from that holiday bird. While everybody is busy traveling and gathering for the big feast on Thanksgiving, I wanted to remind you not to toss that turkey carcass after your Thanksgiving feast!

And by the way, once all the feasting is over, pop back by here and check out my list of Thanksgiving leftover recipes too. You're bound to find something to transform those leftovers into something else your family will be happy to gobble down.

You can use the carcass to make an incredible tasting stock for turkey noodle soup, or for this delicious gumbo. Once you've carved up the bird, simply break the carcass up, stick it in a container and hold it in the fridge until you are ready. You can also freeze the carcass if you want to wait, but just don't toss it - you've got another meal waiting there!

The smell of this stock simmering is amazing - smells like the turkey is roasting all over again I swear! And the stock makes a beautiful base for this gumbo. Once you've cooked the stock, you'll strain it out from all of the bones and vegetables - make sure you're straining it into another pot though and not down the drain though! Toss all of those bones, veggies and any stray meat scraps. They have done their job and all of the flavor has been extracted from them - so don't be tempted to use any of that meat or vegetables in your gumbo.

As always with any gumbo, practice mise en place y'all, meaning make sure that before you start cooking, you have everything gathered up and in one place. Chop up all of veggies for The Trinity, and have all of your seasonings, measuring spoons and cups at hand and ready to use. The roux waits for nobody, so have everything ready to go! Make your roux fresh on the stove-top if you prefer, or save yourself a little time by making an oven roux ahead of time, or simply use your microwave. Doesn't matter one bit.

Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning: I do want to say one thing about roux, that I've repeated on all of my gumbo posts. Roux can be brought anywhere from very blonde, to light tan for gravies, to peanut butter colored, or more ruddy, like a copper penny, to chocolaty brown, to deep brown, to nearly black - or anywhere in between for gumbo. Bottom line is that it's really a personal preference and don't let anybody tell you that a gumbo roux has to be nearly black. That's just simply not true. While some chefs may do that, I don't know anybody who does that in a home kitchen.

For one, it weakens the thickening power of your roux substantially and makes for a very thin gumbo. For another, it's very robust and very strong flavored. For another, it can take a very long time and is easy to burn if you try to rush it with high heat. If you like that kind of bold (or if you're cooking something like wild duck), by all means, take it super dark. Most folks I know don't want that flavor for a simple chicken, turkey or seafood gumbo and take the roux from somewhere around peanut butter colored to a slightly darker brownish color. Even though this is a turkey gumbo, while we are here, let me add, if you're gonna put crab in your seafood gumbo, and you want to call it authentic to the Gulf Coast region, it's blue crab. Not snow crab.

You will note that like regular chicken gumbo, I don't use okra in this gumbo either, though you could certainly add some if you like. I say pass the Gumbo filé at the table instead! Gumbo filé is simply ground leaves of the sassafras tree - and are sprinkled on individual servings after cooking to thicken the gumbo when okra has not been used. And by the way, a leftover chicken carcass works just as well for this gumbo. When I roast a chicken and debone it, I put the carcass and bones in a zippered freezer bag to save them for things just like this. Give it a try sometime!

As always with any gumbo, as delicious as it is day 1, it's even better the next day, so make it ahead whenever you can.

Recipe: Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Gumbo

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish

Prep time: 2 hours | Cook time: 2 hours | Yield: About 8 servings


  • 1 leftover turkey carcass, plus extra pieces (wings, legs)
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 large pinches of salt
  • 1 celery rib with leaves, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
  • 1 pound of andouille or other smoked sausage , sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt , or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 3- 4 cups of leftover turkey , torn or chopped
  • Perfect boiled rice
  • Gumbo filé
  • Hot sauce

Pick the carcass pretty clean and break it up, splitting off the bones. Refrigerate the leftover meat until needed. Place the carcass in a tall stockpot and add the water. Cover pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat, remove the lid and simmer (do not boil) uncovered, skimming off any foam that accumulates. When foam subsides, add the salt, celery, carrot, onion, and bay leaf. Cook, uncovered, at a steady, slow simmer for about 2 hours.

Use a strainer to drain the stock into another large pot - don't dump your stock down the drain y'all! Discard all of the bones and the veggies - they have done their job. Set the pot of homemade stock back on the stove.

Use a refrigerator roux that you've prepared in advance in the oven or microwave, or make a fresh dark roux on the stove-top. In the bottom of the original stock pot, heat the oil over medium and stir in the flour a little at a time. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until roux turns a dark brown, about 45 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper, cooking and stirring about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.

Add a few ladles at a time of the warm turkey stock you made, into the roux and veggie mixture, blending it in well before adding more stock. Stir in the remaining stock and increase heat to bring a boil. Add the sliced sausage, reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 2 hours. Taste and add salt and Cajun seasoning to taste. Stir in the leftover turkey at the end, just warm through. All of the flavor is already infused into the stock.

Serve over hot, steamed rice, and pass the gumbo filé and hot sauce at the table. Since this gumbo does not contain any okra, gumbo filé will thicken it. Don't be tempted to stir gumbo filé into a pot of hot gumbo though - you will not like the result.

Cook's Notes: Gumbo is a dish that only improves with advance preparation, so make it ahead of time if possible. The flavors really need time to settle and mellow. It's always better the next day. Prepare, let cool and skim any accumulated oil off the top before storing. This is ideally made with a regular roasted turkey, however, you can also use a smoked turkey with the understanding that there will be a distinct smokey flavor to your gumbo.

Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

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For salt substitute, we used Herbamare Sodium-Free as it is non-bitter and non-clouding in canning.

  • You may see some people saying they simmer or boil their bones for stock for 5 or 6 hours. This is a waste of energy, as pressure cooking them for 30 minutes will yield the same results, with a fraction of the energy usage. Should you choose to boil, notice that the USDA suggests that 45 minutes is completely adequate. Any time beyond that has zero benefit to show for it.
  • Laura Pazzaglia, author of Hip Pressure Cooking, says that for pressure cooking (note, not pressure canning), HIGH PRESSURE equals 13 to 15 lbs, or 90 to 100 kilopascals, or .9 to 1 bar. [1] Pazzaglia, Laura. Hip Pressure Cooking. New York: St Martin’s Griffin. 2014. Page 12. The pressure cooking time of 30 minutes for poultry stock also comes from the same excellent book, page 48. Note: if you are using an electric pressure cooker to make the stock in, such as an Instant Pot, she advises increasing the time to 33 to 35 minutes.
  • Pressure cooking uses less energy and extracts more flavour and gelatin from the bones, resulting in a better quality stock.
  • Above all, please do keep clear the difference between pressure cooking the stock to save energy and produce a superior stock, and then pressure canning it later to preserve it.
  • When you first roast the turkey, deglaze the roasting pan with a small amount of boiling water from a kettle. Pour that into a tub and let sit overnight in fridge, skim fat off the next day. This will usually be a lovely jelly-like stock. Add that to the batch of stock you are making. If you do roast the turkey carcass, deglaze that roasting pan in a similar way, too.
  • Roasting the turkey carcass can result in a wonderful deep rich flavour but also results in a quite dark stock, usually (photos show difference in stocks from roasted and unroasted carcasses.)
  • Safety tip: After you have a plate of meat you have picked off a turkey carcass, always take a minute to feel carefully through that meat with your fingers, pressing it all, feeling for small bones. Be particularly mindful of treacherous flat bones from turkey legs.
  • A bay leaf or two while you are boiling or pressure cooking the bones will elevate your stock.
  • You could add a bit of salt or non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub per jar, but it could be argued that it’s just better to can it as is, then do flavour adjustments when you go to use it in something. Salt adds zero towards the safety of this recipe it’s just a seasoning here. The safety is the pressure canning process.

Watch the video: How To Make Turkey Stock