This is a simple way to make gravy when you’re grilling or smoking a turkey and don’t have any pan drippings. Even when you have drippings it’s worth making, since the robust flavors in the stock are more consistent than what comes from turkeys being roasted.
We’ve divided this recipe into two parts to help answer the eternal question of what to do with that turkey neck.
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The first part of the recipe makes stock from the turkey neck that can be used to make an incredibly delicious gravy, as the base for soups and stews, or to help flavor side dishes that call for stock – think wild rice or mashed potatoes.
The second part makes one of the best gravies you’ve ever had, assuming you prefer gravy that will never be mistaken for paste and has a bit of a kick. The gravy can be made with regular chicken or turkey stock but is its best self when it’s made with this stock.
One of our favorite things about making this is there’s not a lot of recipes for turkey necks, which means they get tossed in the garbage even though they’re loaded with flavor and can fairly easily be turned into something delicious.
It’s All Gravy
To make the gravy more interesting, because there’s no reason gravy has to be boring, we’ve added some hot sauce, fresh thyme, and smoked paprika.
The gravy’s rich flavor comes from the neck’s long simmer. We’ve timed the recipe so the cooking time matches up with the cooking time for an average smoked or grilled turkey.
Just think of the stock as something to start when the turkey goes on and forget about it until the turkey is all done cooking and goes down for a quick nap before being served.
For better gravy, start by reducing the cooking liquid before making the gravy to concentrate its flavors.
Use spices and herbs to build layers of flavor. People are counting on the gravy to hide the boring, bland taste of other dishes, so don’t disappoint them something tepid and restrained.
The most important tip for better gravy is to make a roux and then add the cooking liquid or stock to the roux. This prevents clumping and that horrible over-floured taste that comes from adding flour straight to the stock.
This gravy is a great partner in crime for our Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herbs or Smoked Turkey recipes.