Quick Post Thanksgiving Turkey Cleanup

Assembling the Grinder

Here's the grinder in the attachment box. This is useful because all this stuff only goes in one way and it took me two years to figure out how after I took it out the first time and forgot.
Here's the grinder in the attachment box. This is useful because all this stuff only goes in one way and it took me two years to figure out how after I took it out the first time and forgot.
These are the parts of the grinder. the grinder itself is usually stored assembled, but you need to take all these parts apart like this to clean the grinder when you're done.
These are the parts of the grinder. the grinder itself is usually stored assembled, but you need to take all these parts apart like this to clean the grinder when you're done.
The round cover with Kitchen-aide written on it covers the power hole for the grinder attachment
The round cover with Kitchen-aide written on it covers the power hole for the grinder attachment
The grinder body hooks on like this.
The grinder body hooks on like this.
The corkscrew mechanism goes in this hole in the front.
The corkscrew mechanism goes in this hole in the front.
Screw in the corkscrew mechanism as shown.
Screw in the corkscrew mechanism as shown.
Seat it all the way into the drive hole in the mixer.
Seat it all the way into the drive hole in the mixer.
Attach the blades with the flat face forward so the blades rotate pressed against the holes.
Attach the blades with the flat face forward so the blades rotate pressed against the holes.
This plate has holes for extruding the meat and for a surface against which the blades press to sheer off bits of whatever you are grinding.
This plate has holes for extruding the meat and for a surface against which the blades press to sheer off bits of whatever you are grinding.
Screw on the keeper collar to hold the assembly together.
Screw on the keeper collar to hold the assembly together.
The wooden pestle goes in the hole in the hopper to push the meat down into the grinder mechanism.
The wooden pestle goes in the hole in the hopper to push the meat down into the grinder mechanism.
Here is what the ground turkey looks like coming out of the grinder.
Here is what the ground turkey looks like coming out of the grinder.

The Turkey Burger Solution

One of the quickest ways there is to finish off a Thanksgiving turkey is to make turkey burger out of it. Any cook worth his or her salt owns a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer with a box of attachments that includes a meat grinder.

The way we handled the turkey was to quickly piece off the good bits and toss them into a freezer bag. The wife doesn't like dark meat so I put that in a bowl as we went. Once the carcass was pretty well stripped, all I had to do was set the garbage can under me and start tossing in the bones. If any meat was left on the bones I put that into a separate bowl for my dog. Once all the bones were thoroughly stripped, I strained out the rest of the skin and scraps from the bottom of the baking pan and put it in the bowl with the scraps.

Once you're done, just feed the leftover turkey into the hopper of the grinder with the bowl positioned under the grinder to catch the burger. You can grind the white meat and dark meat separately or mix them up together as you wish. Put it into a freezer bag or two and simply put it in the freezer. It's already cooked and can be thawed in the microwave and made into burgers or casseroles.

The scraps and some of the seamier bits of dark meat can then be run through the grinder separately and bagged for food for your dog. I put it in sandwich sized zipper bags, mark it for the dog and freeze it. Then just nuke it in the microwave and you have a nice treat for your hound dog that will make her dance for joy. I mix in dry dog food to stretch it. Daisy likes it either way.

By grinding the turkey, you don't have to worry about it drying out or going bad in the fridge. Keep out some of the turkey in a bag in the fridge for turkey sandwiches. If you decide to make turkey soup, you can always add the turkey burger to the soup instead of whole pieces.

The best thing about grinding up the turkey is how quickly you get the bird dealt with and out of your hair and by stripping the carcass, you're left with a lot of loose bones instead of a giant ugly carcass sticking out of the top of your kitchen trash can.

© 2014 by Tom King

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Turkey Sausage

You can go to food supply stores or kitchenware stores and find sausage casings, either animal or plant-based. Use your grinder and some seasoning (recipe below) to make sausages out your ground turkey. They're healthier and you will know exactly what went into them which should improve your enjoyment of your sausage!


Turkey Sausage Seasoning Ingredients

  • 6 Teaspoons Seasoned Salt
  • 6 Teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne, (optional)
  • 4 Teaspoon Sage
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Fennel Seeds
  • 4 Teaspoons Thyme

Turkey Sausage Seasoning

  1. Mix all seasonings together
  2. Store in a dry place. I keep my sausage seasoning in an empty spice jar. That way I can sprinkle the spice over turkey burger patties.
  3. Makes enough spice for 4-5 pounds of turkey burger.

Grinding Up the Turkey

It's surprising how much turkey burger you can get from the scraps of a Thanksgiving Turkey.
It's surprising how much turkey burger you can get from the scraps of a Thanksgiving Turkey.
Bags of ground turkey make for an easy protein addition to your casseroles, sandwiches and other recipes.
Bags of ground turkey make for an easy protein addition to your casseroles, sandwiches and other recipes.

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