Wild Turkey Sausage with Pickled Mustard Seed and Quick Slaw

Chef Ben Stenn | Celilo Restaurant, Hood River

Oregon Wine Pairing: Hiyu Smockshop White Zinfandel


3 pounds wild turkey meat

1 pound pork shoulder

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

½ cup white wine

8–10 feet natural hog casing, soaked and rinsed clean

  1. Something important about working with wild birds is that the muscle tissue can be tough where tendon and connective tissue is concerned. With wild turkey, do an inspection to ensure that the innards are cleanly removed and that all feathers are cleaned as well. I like to remove the skin from the bird first, which is another way of making sure there are no feathers or bits that need to be cleaned.
  2. Remove breast and wing bone from carcass. Then remove legs/thighs. All bones can be reserved for a flavorful stock. Breast muscle is clear of tendon with exception of one long white tendon attached at top of supreme muscle; this can be cut away with a boning knife. Leg and thigh meat is much denser with connective tissue. As the muscle tapers to end of leg, many tendons are present; best way to remove these is by scraping with back of chef’s knife. Grip top of thigh muscle and isolate long, white tendons that can be worked free against the edge of the cutting board. Don’t worry about tearing muscle tissue as it will be ground to make sausage.
  3. Cut pork shoulder into small cubes for grinding.
  4. In large mixing bowl, combine turkey, pork, spices and wine. Mix well and then chill for at least 1 hour and as long as overnight.
  5. Grind turkey mixture in meat grinder attachment. I like smaller grinder plates, 1/8-inch holes or smaller; it makes a creamier consistency of finished product. Alternatively, pulse in a food processor, but do so carefully as it’s easy to overmix. Chill ground mixture 20 minutes.
  6. Use a wooden spoon to paddle the sausage, creaming the fat of the pork throughout the mixture, about 2 minutes. Chill again.
  7. Case the sausage mixture in hog casing. Twist links at 6-inch intervals. You’re almost ready for dinner. Your sausage is stable enough to be refrigerated for a few days or frozen in links at this point as well.
  8. Prepare a salty poaching liquid. I like to add peppercorn, bay leaf and a squeeze of lemon juice. With the poaching liquid at barely a simmer (200°F), add the turkey links. They should simmer for about 15 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. I like to crisp the skin of the sausage for a little snap when I bite into it. To do this, warm a cast iron skillet with a little vegetable oil and lightly brown the cooked links.
  9. Load up a crusty roll with Dijon, quick slaw and a wild turkey brat. Spoon some pickled mustard seed over the top.


¼ cup yellow mustard seed

¼ cup brown mustard seed

1 cup rice vinegar

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

  1. Combine all ingredients in small saucepot. Simmer until most of liquid is gone. Cool and store in refrigerator.


½ green cabbage, sliced paper thin

½ red cabbage, sliced paper thin

1 carrot, slice thinly, then cut into match sticks

2 cups water, bring to a boil

2 cups rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

  1. Boil water and pour over salt and sugar to dissolve; then add vinegar. Pour this brine over heads of cabbage and carrots; let sit for 1 hour. Serve.
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