Turkey Tail – Forget the Rest, the Tail Is the Best!

Sign up to receive our weekly Eat Polynesia! newsletters


         Email Marketing You Can Trust

Yes, you saw right. Turkey Tail. I’m telling ya, you’re going to love it!  I discovered this little delicacy back when I was a little gal oh so many years ago and from that day on, I would beg, borrow or cry a river of tears to be the one who got this part of the bird on Thanksgiving Day.

The turkey has a long, rich history not only in the States, but in such far-away places as Samoa.  I’m not talking about the whole turkey, mind you…..just the tail. It’s true! For some reason the turkey processors in the states discovered that this small piece of the bird was not particularly popular in Middle America, however selected countries like Samoa, Ghana and Micronesia couldn’t get enough of them. So these companies started shipping turkey tails overseas. The end pieces turned out to be so popular that concerns were raised about their nutritional value. With that in mind, I will provide my own public service announcement: 


Ladies and Gentlemen, please be conservative on your turkey tail consumption. These should be considered a treat on special occasions. This coming week is Thanksgiving. To me, that is definitely a special occasion! 


Roast Turkey on the islands is a whole new experience also. Here, they place their well wrapped and seasoned turkeys in an imu and bake until ready. In fact, this type of preparation is so popular, that local Boy Scout troops and schools prepare massive imu pits and cook turkeys brought in by local residents for a fee. It turns out to be an excellent fundraiser.



Now, back to turkey tails. This recipe is a very good version of Samoan style turkey tails. Enjoy (in moderation, of course!)



Adobo Turkey Tails

from The Perfect Turkey

3 lbs turkey tails
½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic chopped
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place tails in a single layer in the bottom of a large pot. Add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes turning the tails once.

If making ahead of time, refrigerate the tails in the cooking sauce. The fat will rise and can be removed before finishing the dish.  Dry the tails with a paper towel and grill or broil the tails until browned and crisp. In the meantime reduce the cooking liquid to about one cup to create adobo sauce.

Serve the tails with the sauce and white rice.



Nina Jones



Sign up to receive our weekly Eat Polynesia! newsletters


         Email Marketing You Can Trust


Author Bio
nina-jones-croppedMy name is Nina Jones.  I have lived all across the west coast and traveled even farther, but never dreamed that I would end up in Hawaii.  I am the truest form of a foodie.  I may not be a highly trained chef, but I know whats good. I am most particularly interested in ethnic foods, and Oahu is especially divergent in it’s offerings.  What a dream come true! 

2 Responses to “Turkey Tail – Forget the Rest, the Tail Is the Best!”

  1. Denise Holt says:

    I love fresh turkey tails! Will 1 turkey tails give you high cholesterol?

    • Nina Jones says:

      Denise, mahalo for writing. Turkey tail will do nothing positive when it comes to cholesterol. If you have problems with your cholesterol count, I am sorry to say that I cannot recommend it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: