Roast Turkey Necks or Wings for Awesome Stock

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Want to take your Thanksgiving recipes up to the next level?

You can start by buying and roasting turkey necks to make stock. If you can’t find turkey necks, wings work just as well. Just buy whichever is cheaper per pound at the meat counter or butcher near you. 

Not only will this technique dial up your Thanksgiving recipes in the flavor department, but it can also get you ahead when it comes to your Thanksgiving prep.

Stock can be made five days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator or, if you want to make it further ahead you can freeze it.

Go ahead and make your roast turkey neck stock now and freeze it for your Thanksgiving recipes*. Would I go to the effort of roasting turkey necks every time I want to make stock? No, but for a special meal like Thanksgiving, I find the richness of this stock is well worth the extra time and effort. This year, I specifically made it to go in a mushroom risotto, but this stock is perfect for adding to dressing, gravy (please note that the recipe links to beef gravy, but the same technique works for your Thanksgiving turkey gravy, too) mashed potatoes, whatever calls for stock, or broth on your menu.

When you are looking in the meat case, you will typically find turkey necks tucked away in the corner as they are not an expensive cut, so they don’t get the prime real estate.

Cheesecloth or a chinois really comes in handy when straining your turkey neck stock, or you can use it to make a bouquet garni if you want. I prefer to take the toss it in the pot and then strain approach. What about you?

To cool your stock quickly, try using the water bath method if you have a deep sink. Place the pot on one end of the sink and fill the sink partway with cool water. Change the water a couple of times and then add ice. The pot is on one end of the sink to ensure that no water splashes into the stock, potentially contaminating it.

As we live in hurricane country, we frequently have containers full of ice from the freezer that can be used for this purpose.

Quickly cooling your stock places less strain on your refrigerator or freezer when you are storing a large amount of stock for future use.

How to Roast Turkey Necks for Awesome Stock

Roast Turkey Neck Stock

Roast turkey necks make a rich stock for Thanksgiving recipes.

  • 3 lbs turkey necks
  • cooking spray or olive oil -unless you like scrubbing a roasting pan
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 2 ribs celery, washed, cut into chunks, with the leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion peeled, washed, and cut into quarters
  • Approximately 4 quarts COLD water

 Roast Turkey Neck Stock Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray or olive oil.
  • Place the necks in the roasting pan, if you want, you chop up the necks with a heavy cleaver, this will allow more gelatin to leach into the stock, but I don’t always bother and didn’t this time -obviously. And, do I need to mention you should do this on a cutting board and NOT in your roasting pan?
  • Roast at 450 for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally until the necks are a rich brown and cooked through.
  • Place the necks and remaining ingredients in a 6-quart stock pot.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Allow it to simmer, skimming occasionally for 4 – 6 hours.
  • Strain through cheesecloth and a strainer into a bowl or pitcher. Use immediately or follow the next steps to store:
    • Set the bowl or pitcher in a cool water bath, changing the water frequently, or just add some ice cubes a handful at a time. Place the stock in the refrigerator overnight and skim off any fat.
    • Pour the stock into freezer-safe containers (I use zippered freezer bags) label and freeze.
Helpful equipment:
Rich Turkey Stock takes your Thanksgiving recipes to the next level. Everything from the gravy to your dressings will benefit from taking the time to make a batch of this stock before the holiday.
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15 thoughts on “Roast Turkey Necks or Wings for Awesome Stock”

  1. I save and freeze roasted carcasses and use them to make homemade stock throughout the year. I personally like the flavor of combining chicken and turkey in my stock. But if I want a stock of just one or the other, using roasted backs and necks works well.

  2. I leave the fat in and put up my stock in canning jars while still boiling hot. I tighten the lids, let set on the countertop for 15ish minutes to cool slightly, then tighten the lids some more and put in the refrigerator. The fat rises to the top and creates a really excellent seal so the stock keeps fresh a lot longer in the refrigerator – over a week if you keep your refrigerator quite cold like I do (the back just barely freezes delicate things like lettuce, but won’t freeze milk). When ready to use, just take a teaspoon and remove however much of the fat cap you don’t want going into your recipe.

    The dogs love the fat cap as a treat. I would be very circumspect about giving raw poultry bones of any kind to a dog as they can form sharp splinters. When I make stock, however, I use apple cider vinegar in the pot to help break down collagen and bones and increase the nutritional content of the stock, and this leaves some bones crumbly after an overnight simmer. I mash these with my fingers and throw away any hard pieces. The dogs always get a picked-through mix of meat scraps, cartilage, skin and mashed bones from any stock I make.

  3. I wonder if I could do the roasting in my 9.5 qt dutch oven.
    Pros: One less dish to clean later
    more fond=more flavor

    Potential cons: would the Dutch oven be too deep for proper roasting?

  4. Would turkey wings work for this? I am having trouble finding turkey necks in my neck of the woods. The butcher at the local Publix said that this is not something they carry.

    • Yes, ma’am. (I even mentioned wings in the post) Any bony, not really otherwise useful bits of the turkey will work, just stay away from the liver, you’ll get a bitter, cloudy stock.

      Although I am a little surprised as I bought these necks at Publix.

      • FYI: I found the turkey necks at Publix today. Maybe they were waiting for Thanksgiving to bring them into the store.

        Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Made this stock yesterday for my Thanksgiving dinner….absolutely the best stock I have
    EVER tasted. Had always used a carcass or legs and thighs. This is an absolute winner.

  6. I just ran across this the other day and I have it coming to a boil now. Should I have a lid on it when it is simmering?


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