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Wild Turkey Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas is a Mexican cuisine that most commonly involves slow cooking pork in lard, and then serving it shredded with tortillas, refried beans, salsa, guacamole, cilantro, etc. We're taking a different approach to these carnitas by substituting the pork with wild turkey, and use less lard than normal methods. We do recommend taking your time so the turkey meat will cook just right and not be unbearably tough.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6


  • 2-4 turkey drumsticks (alt: 2 turkey thighs)
  • 1 quart turkey/chicken stock
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp lard (alt: olive oil)
  • salt
  • corn/wheat tortillas


  • 4 oz pico de gallo
  • 1 red onion
  • cilantro springs
  • 1 lime


  • Place turkey in a large pot, pour over the stock, and then fill with enough water to cover the turkey.
  • Add the orange, garlic, onion, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, bay leaves, and brown sugar. Do not add the lard.
  • Bring the pot to a simmer and add salt to taste.
  • Cook gently until the meat is tender. The time depends on the turkey. It could take 90 minutes if it is store bought, or 4 hours if it is an older wild turkey.
  • When the turkey is tender, remove it from the pot and let it cool. Then, pull the meat off the bones and shred.
  • Brown the meat in a frying pan with the lard.
  • Assemble the turkey tacos: Heat the tortillas, if you prefer, before adding the meat and topping with the chopped onions, pico de gallo, and cilantro. Squeeze the lime juice on top.
    wild turkey recipes