Making Turkey Stock: Recipe,Tips and Rules

November 25, 2010.   0 Comments.   Categories By Holiday, Christmas, Poultry, Sauces / Gravy, Soups, Thanksgiving Dinner.   Tags , , , , , , , .

Making Turkey Stock – Recipe, Tips and Cardinal Rules
Today is Thanksgiving and at our house, the marathon cooking and baking began at 6:00 AM. One of the first things I do in the morning, is make turkey stock.  Because we tend to use a smoker to roast our bird, we can’t always count on those delicious drippings you find in an oven roasted pan.  So, when I pick up my fresh, organic turkey (yes, always fresh and always organic) I also pick up at least a dozen turkey necks and some wings.  These turkey parts make a very rich and flavorful stock that you can use in your gravy, soups or other holiday cooking.When I make a stock, there are some cardinal rules I absolutely never break!  The quality of the stock will be the flavor foundation for whatever you’re making.  Follow these rules and I promise you that you will always have a perfectly delicious and clear turkey stock.  Because I’m quickly writing this post on Thanksgiving morning (now that’s dedication, huh?) I don’t have time to elaborate on each rule…. and I’m writing this quickly so I may have missed something.  However, I will come back and update the post tomorrow with the “why’s” for each one.  But for today, I’m going to ask that you trust me and follow the rules.  They will help you extract the most possible flavor while getting ride of any extra impurities so the stock is very clear.  Also, you want a true turkey flavor so don’t try and add a bunch of seasoning.  Think of stock as the foundation of the house…. then when you go to make your gravy or sauce you can add the desired flavorings.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!


  1. Always use cold water.
  2. Never, ever ever EVER let the stock boil.
  3. Start skimming immediately and be sure to really do it a lot in the first couple of hours.
  4. Don’t ever stir the stock or move ingredients around a lot while it’s cooking.
  5. Never salt your stock.
  • 12 turkey necks
  • 2 turkey wings
  • 2 large yellow onions, peels on but ends trimmed and cut in half.
  • 3 celery ribs, cut into 3 inch lengths
  • 3 carrotts, cut into 3 inch lengths
  • 5 quarts very cold water
  • 5 parsley stems
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 black peppercorns

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Halve joints of turkey wings with a large knife.  Place necks and wings on a large roasting pan and roast (turning over once) until golden brown – about 35-45 minutes.  Transfer parts to a large stockpot.

Place onion, celery and carrots to the same roasting pan.  Onions should be arranged cut side down.  Roast veggies (stirring one time) until golden – about 15 minutes.  Place roasted veggies in stockpot.

Take roasting pan and place it on burners.  Add about a cup or two of water on high heat and deglaze the roasting pan.  Scrape up all the stuck on bits on on the bottom of the pan.  Pour that liquid into the stock pot and slowly add the remaining water.  If you pour it in fast it could churn all the little bits of impurities, fat etc so go slow with the water.  You want to keep the liquid as calm as possible while cooking.  After an hour and lots of skimming add the parsley bay leaf and peppercorns.

Reduce heat and gently simmer the stock for about 3 hours.  Be sure to constantly skim the top of the broth to remove grit, fat or foam.  This is very important in the first hour of cooking.  NEVER LET THE STOCK COME TO A BOIL.  If you do, the grit will churn into the liquid and instead of floating to the surface – it will become part of the stock.

Pour stock into a fine mesh sieve over a very large bowl.  Discard all solid parts and veggies. Clean out stock pot.  If you end up with more than 9-10 cups of stock, then place it back in the original stock pot and continue to simmer to reduce it.  The more you reduce the more concentrated the flavor.  That said, you don’t want to over due the stock – it can be a point of diminishing return.

Allow to cool completely uncovered.  Place in refrigerator and allow it to completely chill.  Skim off fat.  Reheat stock prior to using in gravy.



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