How To Cook Turkey Ribs

What are turkey ribs? This shoulder cut from the bird is usually considered a scrap, but you are missing out if you don't give it a try.

Turkey Ribs
Photo: Via Kuck Farms

What Are Turkey Ribs?

Contrary to the name, turkey ribs are actually a shoulder cut of turkey meat. This delicious cut is typically considered a scrap piece and tossed out with the unwanted bits of the turkey carcass. What a shame, though, because the turkey shoulder has the most similar texture and flavor to a pork rib.

The bone-in portion of the turkey rib is the entire scapula bone. The bone and its adhering meat are sold as an individual cut and marketed as a “turkey rib”. The turkey rib cut produces a treat that are similar in appearance and consistency to pork or cattle ribs.

Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce
Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce. Regarding BBQ Inc.

Simple Steps To Tasty Satisfaction

These white meat bone-in morsels have the same lip-smacking flavor and bone-gnawing satisfaction of a pork rib, but with a lower fat content. Slather turkey ribs in your favorite sauce or rub and enjoy that classic barbecue taste with this yummy new cut.

With pork ribs, it's about marinating and then cooking low and slow. It's a marathon rather than a sprint. One advantage to choosing this grilling option in favor or pork or beef ribs is that the preparation is the longest part of the process. On the other hand, the grill time is brief. This is all about marinating for a while, then taking it to the finish line rather quickly.

Free range turkey
a turkey peeks its head out of a barn at the Willie Bird Turkey Farm November 19, 2006 in Sonoma, California. It is estimated that more than 45 million turkeys are cooked and eaten in the U.S. during Thanksgiving meals. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Where Can I Buy Turkey Ribs?

Turkey ribs are often hard to come by at your local grocery store, but it's worth checking. The best way to get your hands on some is to order online, request a special cut from your local butcher, or cut your own!

Pre-cut and pre-cooked turkey ribs are sold in bulk online by TK Gourmet and Kuck Farms. These ribs are slow-cooked in sealed packages to keep them moist and tasty. They come frozen in convenient vacuum-sealed packages. After thawing, we recommend marinating in a sauce or rub overnight to maintain moisture. Reheat on the grill, in the oven, or with extra sauce in a skillet on the stove. These turkey ribs are also a perfect excuse to break out the fryer or smoker.

Cook time is speedy because you only have to worry about reheating instead of cooking a raw piece of meat—3-4 minutes per side.

Chef John's All-Purpose Steak Rub and Barbecue Dry Rub

Cooking Turkey Ribs

If you prefer doing all the cooking yourself, try speaking with your local butcher and placing an order for fresh turkey ribs. These ribs can be prepared using any traditional rib recipe. Industrious cooks can try to butcher their very own turkey ribs using the patented cutting method. This is a good way to reduce food waste and put your butchering skills to the test.

Let's cut to the chase and talk about the quick approach. Using your favorite rub, coat the turkey ribs up wrap them in plastic wrap. Let the turkey ribs linger in this state for around 90 minutes, and heat up the grill to 350. Once ready, get those turkey ribs onto the grill.

All you need are 2-3 minutes on each side. After that, apply barbecue sauce to the ribs and let the grill do its job for 1-2 more minutes. Serve immediately.

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