Smothered Turkey Necks

What’s better than a turkey neck recipe? A smothered gravy-drenched turkey neck recipe! Southern comfort food at its best! Each warm tender piece of turkey neck is perfectly coated in rich and flavorful homemade brown gravy. It only takes around 15-20 minutes of prep work; then, the Instant Pot takes care of the rest for you. Whether you’re cooking for yourself or your whole family, these smothered turkey necks are sure to satisfy.

smothered turkey necks with lots of gravy in a serving dish

Smothered Turkey Necks

Southern turkey necks are  complete vibe but I don’t want the whole world to know. I don’t want their prices sky-rocket like oxtails, you know what I mean. But put a turkey neck in front of me and it’s murder she wrote.

 

My family didn’t make turkey necks regularly growing up. My husband Kenneth is the one who won my allegiance to turkey necks. He took me to this little whole in the wall place in New Orleans called Old Gentilly Spice Kitchen. It’s old school for real. You place your order with a lady behind a glass and she yells it to the kitchen. Felt like home as soon as I walked in.

 

And their turkey necks smothered in dark brown gravy are insanely life changing. These turkey necks are so tender that all you have to do is just slightly suck the bone and the meat falls right into your mouth. Ok this is sounding a bit x-rated but flavor is pretty orgasmic.

 

Without fail, I order them when ever I go back. And when I’m craving them here in Dallas I make this recipe.

smothered turkey necks with gravy on a platter

Key Ingredients

To make this cozy and flavorful smothered turkey necks recipe, you’ll need the following key ingredients:

 

  • Turkey necks. Popularly used in Creole cuisine, turkey necks are loaded with delicious savory flavors. If you can’t get your hands on any, you can use turkey wings, thighs, or legs instead. 
  • Chicken stock. I like to use chicken stock for added flavor, but vegetable stock works as well. When it comes to braising turkey necks, the liquid is absolutely essential. 
  • Creole seasoning. Season turkey necks thoroughly; this will enhance the flavor of the meat. Check out the recipe below on how to make your own Creole seasoning!
  • Vegetables. Onions, garlic, bell peppers, and celery help enhance the flavor profile of this delicious comfort food dish. You will also need green onions to garnish with for added flavor and a pop of color. 
  • Lemon juice. The acidity in fresh lemon juice goes a long way in enhancing the incredible flavors in this dish and helps break down the fibers in the turkey necks, making them extra tender. 
  • All-purpose flour. This helps to thicken up the liquid into a mouth-watering gravy. Feel free to use gluten-free all-purpose flour if needed. 
  • Worcestershire sauce. Commonly used to add flavor to meaty dishes, a little of this goes a long way in adding a depth of richness and umami flavors. 
  • Butter. Make sure to use unsalted butter, so the dish doesn’t become overly salty since there’s plenty of salt in the Creole seasoning.
close up of smothered turkey necks with lots of gravy in a serving dish

How to make Smothered Turkey Necks

This turkey necks recipe only requires around 15-20 minutes of prep work; then, the Instant Pot takes care of the rest for you. To make Smothered Turkey Necks, follow these steps:

 

  • Pat turkey necks dry with a paper towel. Add the turkey necks to a large bowl, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of Creole seasoning, then massage the spice blend into the meat.
  • To brown turkey, necks set the Instant Pot to sauté mode (high). Add 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, add turkey necks and brown on all sides for 2 minutes each (total of 6 minutes). 
  • Set browned turkey necks aside. (Note: If you have a smaller Instant Pot, brown your turkey necks in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Divide oil and butter portions for batches).
  • Lower heat to medium and add the remaining butter to the pot to melt. Once melted, add onions, celery, and bell pepper to the pot and cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, sage, 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning, and cook for an additional minute, stirring occasionally. As the moisture starts to release from the vegetables, use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the flour has fully coated the vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, whisk in the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Bring the gravy to a boil, then reduce heat to low. 
  • Add turkey necks back to the Instant Pot and arrange necks in an even layer. Seal the Instant Pot valve, secure the lid, and then set to pressure cooker mode (high). Cook for 50-60 minutes for fork-tender turkey necks.
  • When time is up, carefully press the instant release valve. Transfer turkey necks to a serving dish. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode (high) uncovered for 15 minutes. To thicken gravy, whisk cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of pot liquids in a small bowl until dissolved, then stir the slurry into the gravy. Remove bay leaves and taste the gravy—season as needed. 
  • Pour gravy over turkey necks, then garnish with green onions and parsley. Once done, you can serve turkey necks and gravy over rice and enjoy!
plated smothered turkey necks and gravy over rice

Creole Seasoning Blend Recipe

A big part of this dish is the Creole seasoning. It adds tons of bold and savory flavor that is absolutely essential to our turkey necks. You can use a store-bought version if you prefer, but you probably already have the ingredients at home. I prefer to save money and whip up my own batch from scratch! 

To make homemade Creole seasoning, you will need:

  • 2  tablespoons paprika
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Add all of the above spices to a bowl and whisk to combine. Then, you can transfer them to an airtight jar and store the spice blend for 6 months to a year.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make the best turkey necks:

 

  • Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Turkey necks should not be touching on all sides while browning, so make sure to avoid overcrowding by browning in batches. 
  • Place the turkey necks on the counter for 10-15 minutes to allow them to come to room temperature before browning them.
  • If you’re cooking in the Instant Pot, toggle the saute level between medium and high while browning the turkey necks. This will help to ensure that the food in the bottom of the pot doesn’t burn. 
  • For added flavor, try swapping out ½ cup to 1 cup of the chicken stock for white wine. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc both work great as cooking wines! 
smothered turkey necks with gravy and rice platted and in a serving platter

Don’t have an Instant Pot?

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t stress. You can easily make this dish in the oven or slow cooker instead and still produce fantastic results!

How to cook turkey necks in the oven:

  1. Pat turkey necks dry with a paper towel. Add turkey necks to a large bowl, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of creole seasonings, and massage the seasoning into the meat.
  2. To a large, heavy skillet or pot, add 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, add turkey necks and brown on all sides 2 minutes each side (total 6 minutes). Set browned turn necks aside. (If your pot isn’t big enough to brown all the turkey necks at one time, brown them in batches to not overcrowd the pot. Divide oil and butter portions for batches).*
  3. Lower heat to medium, add the remaining butter to the pot and melt. Once melted, add onions, celery, and bell pepper to the pot and cook for 4 minutes. As the moisture starts to release from the vegetables, use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add garlic, bay leaves, sage, 1 tablespoon of creole seasoning blend, and cook for an additional minute, stirring occasionally.
  4. Sprinkle in flour and stir, making sure the flour has coated all vegetables. Cook flour for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Bring the gravy to a boil, then remove from heat.

How to cook turkey necks in the slow cooker:

  1. Turn on high heat and cover with the lid. Add turkey necks to the slow cooker and arrange necks in an even layer. Carefully and slowly pour the gravy and veggies into the slow cooker. Cover tightly with lid and cook for 3 ½ – 4 hours for fork-tender neckbones, remembering to stir halfway through. 
  2. When times up, carefully transfer turkey necks to a serving dish. To thicken gravy, carefully transfer it to a large pot to reduce for 15 minutes and/or whisk together the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of pot liquids until dissolved, then stir the slurry into the gravy. Remove bay leaves, and taste the gravy. If needed, add additional seasonings.  
  3. Pour gravy over turkey necks and garnish with green onions and parsley before serving.
plated smothered turkey necks and gravy and rice with a fork

What does turkey necks taste like?

If you’ve never tried turkey necks, you have seriously been missing out. Many people use smoked turkey necks to add flavor to stocks and greens but don’t realize how amazing the turkey neck is, as the star of the show.

Turkey necks are like the King Crab of poultry, filled with deeply satisfying flavors similar to oxtails and ham hocks. When braised to perfection in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, this cut of turkey becomes fork-tender and absolutely mouth-watering.

Where to buy turkey necks?

You can find turkey necks at many major grocery store chains like Costco, BJ’s, Sprouts, Aldi, and Publix. If you aren’t sure which stores in your area sell them, try looking up “turkey necks” on InstaCart, and it’ll list out the stores near you that sell them.

meiko's hand garnishing smothered turkey necks with gravy on a platter

Now it's your turn!

Smothered turkey necks are the quintessential dish of Southern cuisine. This turkey neck recipe is perfect when you’re in the mood for some delicious comfort food. And it’s definitely no secret that the Instant Pot is a total game-changer for quick and easy cooking.

 

If you enjoy this wonderful recipe, please share it with your friends and family. And don’t forget to give me some five-star love down below. And if you have any comments or questions, leave them below too, and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.

Eat The Culture Holiday Ebook In Tablet

 

This recipe is included in the Eat The Culture Holiday Ebook, a collection of 21 bespoke family recipes and videos inspired by the black diaspora.  It includes entrees, sides, desserts & beverages plus a curated playlist of black artists.

You can get your free download here

smothered turkey necks with lots of gravy in a serving dish

Smothered Turkey Necks

What's better than a turkey neck recipe? A smothered gravy-drenched turkey neck recipe. Southern comfort food at its best! Each warm tender piece of turkey neck is perfectly coated in rich and flavorful homemade brown gravy. It only takes around 15-20 minutes of prep work; then, the Instant Pot takes care of the rest for you. Whether you're cooking for yourself or your whole family, these smothered turkey necks are sure to satisfy.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 393kcal

Ingredients

Creole Seasoning Blend

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano

Smothered Turkey Necks

  • 3 lbs turkey necks unsmoked & thawed
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil divided 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 6 garlic cloves diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning blend
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Garnish

  • 4 green onions chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley chopped

Instructions

To prepare Creole Seasoning

  • Add all the seasonings to a bowl and whisk together until combined. Store excess in an airtight container for 6 months to 1 year.

To prepare turkey necks in an Instant Pot

  • Pat turkey necks dry with a paper towel. Add turkey necks to a large bowl, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of creole seasonings, and massage the seasoning into the meat.
  • To brown turkey necks, set instant pot to saute mode (high). Add 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted, add turkey necks and brown on all sides 2 minutes each (total 6 minutes). Set browned turkey necks aside. (If you have a small instant pot brown your turkey necks in batches to not overcrowd the pot. Divide oil and butter portions for batches).*
  • Lower heat to medium and add the remaining butter to the pot and melt. Once melted add onions, celery, and bell pepper to the pot and cook for 4 minutes. As the moisture starts to release from the vegetables, use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add garlic, bay leaves, sage, 1 tablespoon of creole seasoning blend, and cook for an additional minute, stirring occasionally.
  • Sprinkle in flour and stir making sure the flour has coated all vegetables. Cook flour for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Bring gravy to a boil, then reduce heat to low.**
  • Add turkey necks back to the pot and arrange necks in an even layer. Seal instant pot valve and secure lid and set to pressure cooker mode (high). Cook for 50-60 minutes for fork-tender turkey necks.
  • When time is up, carefully press the instant release valve. Transfer turkey necks to a serving dish. Set instant pot to saute mode (high) uncovered for 15 minutes. To thicken gravy, to a small bowl whisk cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of pot liquids until dissolved, then stir the slurry into the gravy. Remove bay leaves, and taste the gravy. If needed add additional seasonings.
  • Pour gravy over turkey necks and garnish with green onions and parsley before serving.

To prepare turkey necks in an oven

  • Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
  • Pat turkey necks dry with a paper towel. Add turkey necks to a large bowl, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of creole seasonings, and massage the seasoning into the meat.
  • To a large dutch oven over medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted, add turkey necks and brown on all sides 2 minutes each side (total 6 minutes). Set browned turn necks aside. (If you have a small instant pot brown your turkey necks in batches to not overcrowd the pot. Divide oil and butter portions for batches).*
  • Lower heat to medium and add the remaining butter to the pot and melt. Once melted add onions, celery, and bell pepper to the pot and cook for 4 minutes. As the moisture starts to release from the vegetables, use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add garlic, bay leaves, sage, 1 tablespoon of creole seasoning blend, and cook for an additional minute, stirring occasionally.
  • Sprinkle in flour and stir making sure the flour has coated all vegetables. Cook flour for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Bring the gravy to a boil, then reduce heat to low.**
  • Add turkey necks back to the pot and arrange necks in an even layer. Cover tightly with lid or foil and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 - 2 1/2 hours for fork-tender neckbones, remembering to stir halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer turkey necks to a serving dish. Place dutch oven with gravy on the stovetop over medium heat, uncovered for 15 minutes. To thicken gravy, to a small bowl whisk cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of pot liquids until dissolved, then stir the slurry into the gravy. Remove bay leaves, and taste the gravy. If needed add additional seasonings.
  • Pour gravy over turkey necks and garnish with green onions and parsley before serving.
Tried this recipe?Mention @MeikoAndTheDish or tag #MeikoAndTheDish

Notes

*Remember not to overcrowd the pan. Turkey necks shouldn’t be touching on all sides while in the pot. Brown in batches to prevent overcrowding and allow the neck bones to brown.
[instant pot] While browning turkey toggle between high and medium levels to ensure that the fond in the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn.
** substitute ½ - 1 cup of the chicken stock for white wine to add more flavor

Nutrition

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 261mg | Sodium: 2594mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2823IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 5mg

Equipment

Instant Pot - 8 quart
Wooden Spoon
Whisk
Metal Tongs
Dutch Oven - 5.5 quart

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

**The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products I use and love. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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