The secret to this simple approach is patience. Cook it long and slow, which will make it both extremely tender and delightfully crispy

Bringing you a tasty new recipe of an old favorite!

I discovered this little turkey tail 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 certain countries like Samoa, Ghana and Micronesia couldn’t get enough of them. And 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! Enjoy (in moderation, of course!)

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Our original recipe for Samoan style turkey tails

Adobo Turkey Tail – Forget the rest, the tail is the best!

Now, for one of the easiest recipes you’ll cook this season:

Pan Roasted Turkey Tails


3 lbs of turkey tail*

(take a moment to remove the quill end of any feathers left in the meat. Just wash your tweezers and use them to pull them out – it won’t be hard at all). 

1 tbl green onion, finely chopped

1 tbl fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 tbl rosemary, finely chopped

1 tbl sage, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

* Can use dried herbs, if fresh is not available


Make a mixture of finely minced green onions, fresh garlic, rosemary, and sage. It should be just enough to lightly cover each tail.

Rub onto both sides of the tails. Then lightly shake on some freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt.

Arrange as a single layer, spaced apart (not touching each other) in large baking pan. The best approach is to cook on a wire rack or oven safe drain pan that sits inside a roasting pan. If you do not have a pan with a rack, make sure that you drain the fat off every hour or so to allow your turkey tails to become delightfully crisp and baked to perfection.

Place in oven at 225o and cook for 4 – 5 hours, depending on the size of the tails. Small tails are approximately 3 – 4 inches wide. Large tails are about fist sized.

A baking rack allows your meat to bake rather than boil

Want to know more? CLICK HERE for a great article on why Turkey Tails are such a Samoan favorite (and not so much an American favorite) from Smithsonian Magazine.

Nina S Jones

Nina S Jones

Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 41 years, she has lived in La’ie since serving a mission at the Polynesian Cultural Center from 2014 – 2016. She is now an employee of the Center, working in the Marketing Dept. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.