Wild turkey is prized South Carolina game, but once you get the bird cleaned and dressed, what there’s to do besides roast the whole bird? A lot says Chef Madison Tessener of Miller’s All Day.

“You don’t have to roast the whole thing,” she says. “You can break it down so it’s not so intimidating and easier to use. The thing is, once you know how to break down a bird, they’re all pretty much the same. Cooking a turkey is essentially like cooking a big chicken.”

Since the limit for bagging wild turkey is three, once you break down the birds into separate cuts, you can possibly have a lot of meat in the freezer. Sure, ground turkey is great for chilis and stews, but thinking creatively — by association — in the kitchen is the way to push your cooking boundaries. And getting turkey off the dinner table and enjoying it for lunch or brunch is another way to add to that creativity.

“The first time I made the turkey salad, it was after Thanksgiving, of course, when I had all this leftover turkey,” Tessener explains. “It was simple to think about subbing in turkey for chicken, and it turned out great.” Just like chicken, if you do decide to roast a cut, turkey benefits from roasting it with the skin on to keep it juicy and impart flavor, so keep the skin with the meat in the freezer until you know how you are going to cook it.

On the other hand, the addition of bacon can add a lot of flavor (and a beautiful presentation value) to a boneless, skinless turkey breast, and so Tessener took her cue from the famous Kentucky Hot Brown dish for this brunch selection. The Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich with sliced turkey, Mornay sauce, and bacon, and you can serve it traditionally or with the Mornay on the side. “And a Mornay sauce is really easy, I promise," Tessener says.

Turkey Salad

  • 4 servings
  • 1 pound turkey (roasted or poached), shredded
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup scallions, chopped
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup pickle relish
  • 1 teapoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

Whisk to combine mayonnaise, sour cream, relish, dry mustard, black pepper and cayenne. In a large bowl combine turkey, celery and scallion. Add mayonnaise mixture and then salt to taste.

Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry, and then serve as desired.

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast with Mornay Sauce

  • 1 de-boned or boneless turkey breast
  • 10 bacon strips
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Mornay sauce

  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons Parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season the turkey with salt and pepper. Basket weave the bacon slices together all over the turkey, tucking the ends of the bacon underneath the bottom.

Place bacon-wrapped turkey on top of a wire rack on a foil lined baking sheet and place in oven. Whisk to combine apple cider vinegar and sugar to make the glaze and set aside.

After 45 minutes brush turkey with glaze. Bake for another 15 minutes or until turkey breast reaches 160 degrees internally. Note: If the bacon becomes too brown wrap in foil, or if the bacon is not brown enough at end of cooking, turn oven to broil and monitor closely for the desired color change.

For a classic Hot Brown presentation, serve with white bread and tomatoes.