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Taking the ligaments out of the drumstick all at once!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by pops6927, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One of the 'problems' with a turkey is in the drumstick portion; unlike a chicken, the turkey is larger and more mature and the ligaments are grown more and inedible.  

    Years and years ago, dad got his turkeys with all the feathers on, legs, feet, head, neck; everything but the guts, they had been eviscerated prior to delivery (they couldn't be transported with the guts, they'd spoil too quick).  However, the same parts were saved; the gizzard, the liver, and the heart.  We spent many hours plucking feathers, burning off pinfeathers (there was a tool you used to do this), dad would cleave off the heads and cut the necks, then my brother and I got to rip out the leg tendons with a leg-puller.  We had a tool on the wall that we'd anchor the leg in, pull the lever, and the foot and all the attached tendons came out from the drumstick!  Of course, nowadays they don't do that at the packing plants because it would rip the skin sometimes.


    Dad had his mounted on the wall.

    However, it is not that hard to do, either before the turkey is cooked or after.  If you look at a drumstick:

    on the short side of the drumstick (inner side) you see an extra 'bump' at the joint:

    If you cut that, you can pull out most all the ligaments in the drumstick!  You may have to grip it with some vice grips, but this is where all those are attached.  If you select the drumstick for eating, loosen it at the bone and yank on it, your drum will be ligament-free!  They are not attached to the bone individually, they are attached at that point as a group.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
    bowdiddley, bdskelly and zwiller like this.
  2. Thanks Pops! I will try that for sure [​IMG]
  3. Cool Pops!

    Grandpa had a leg puller.

    Yep, the easy way for folks at home to do it is chop off the end off the drumstick before cooking, the meat will shrink back and the ligaments can easily be removed with pliers.

    cooker613 likes this.
  4. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Very cool. When I make greens for the family I will boil the smoked turkey legs in chicken stock to break down the meat a bit. I then grab the area you pointed out with a towel and pull. I usually get most of them in one shot, but I still go through the meat like I was doing PP. I set the meat aside and add at the end after the greens are cooked.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Pops...I never stop learning some new cool info about meat every time you post....JJ
  6. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks Pops! I wish I knew this a couple hundred legs ago. Lol

    Sent via Tap-A-Yap from David.
  7. Great info Pops and Martin!
  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm gonna smoke a turkey just to try it out. I will let you know if it works.
  9. They pull out real easy when the leg is hot.
    Here's Jacques and Julia pulling them out by hand.

    Starting at 4:58.....

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
    bowdiddley likes this.
  10. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Julia was always one of my favorite cooks.......She was before her times ........She always seemed to like all of the things that we consider bad for us then and especially now !!!!! I would have loved to sit down to anyone of her meals with her.......
  11. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think you're pulling my leg!

    No seriously, that's some cool info.

    I think I saw one of those contraptions before and it was a "guess what this is" centerpiece. 
  12. re: Julia

    Yep, she was a card!

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  13. diesel

    diesel Smoking Fanatic

    I used to watch Julia and the cajun chef Justin Wilson when I was a kid.

    Pops.. great info.

  14. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When I was at HealthSouth in therapy, they'd have 'donation days' and everyone would pay a donation for their food, usually smoked drumsticks or half a ring of smoked sausage on a stick.  No one was taking the drumsticks until I showed the staff how to remove the ligaments all at once; then they started selling!
  15. thoseguys26

    thoseguys26 Master of the Pit

    So you just cut the 'nub' off and then pull them all out individually?
  16. Now this nugget of information is why I hang out with you guys. 
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  17. jmk3921

    jmk3921 Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the great information.
    zwiller likes this.
  18. You can, but separate the nub from the skin and bone, grab it with gloves, towel, pliers, tool of your choice and ALL of them should come out. The nub is the only place where all the ligaments join together. If they don't, not done yet.
  19. buzzy

    buzzy Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    WOW! I guess I need to look for info more closely