How To Cook Turkey Ribs [Recipe And Meat Guide]

Its summer and BBQ is the order of the day. Everyone wants a bite of some juicy beef and pork ribs, the kind that’s tender and just seasoned right. Well, that’s great and quite frankly a tasty meal to be serving your guests.

But how healthy are these ribs? If you are a day-to-day regular then you might be pushing the envelope. As scrumptious as red meat is, it shouldn’t always be on your plate. So how about we make a few changes.

Insert turkey ribs. A healthier alternative but one that’s highly pleasant to the taste. If you thought nothing could beat your conventional ribs, we’re here to prove you wrong!

What are Turkey Ribs

Turkey ribs are rather different from the typical rib form we are used to. You would expect a rib cut to have come from the side region of an animal, but not the case with a turkey.

Instead, it is cut from the shoulder and trimmed to a proportionate size. As such, it comes off meatier in comparison to others such as back ribs or spare ribs.

Why this cut is referenced as ribs in the first place is because its texture is similar to pork ribs. Some even say closer in taste but with the advantage of being less fatty. No wonder they are such a catch. Foremost, it’s white meat and rightly so healthier, and won’t have you sacrificing the delicious BBQ taste that you love.

The bone-in style of ribs maintains even in turkey ribs. This is a good thing because cooking boneless meat risks higher chances of drying out the cook. With a bone-in, the steak can preserve more juices so that in the end, you still have a moist BBQ that’s equally tender.

Where to Buy Turkey Ribs

A turkey butcher is probably your best bet the only problem is they are hard to come by. And local butchers are not reliable either. At best you may only find turkey legs, breasts, or thighs.

In that case, when you can’t seem to find a plug, have a go at online retailers. The benefit of this is that the turkey comes already chopped and sliced so you don’t have to do the tough work. Some even sell the ribs precooked thereby lessening the hours that would otherwise be spent on braising.

If you happen to purchase fresh turkey ribs be sure to clean the pieces thoroughly with plenty of running water. Trim down any excess fat deposits using a sharp knife. And go for a brand that satisfies the USDA standards.

For a start, consider TK Gourmet and Kuck Farms merchants.

How to Make Turkey BBQ Rub

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The secret to any good BBQ lies in the rub. You, therefore, have to be generous with the spices that you add on and ensure they get to every corner and crevice of the meat.

This is one of those steps in which you’re at liberty to incorporate whatever flavors you like, but we’ve found this particular rub to blend exceptionally well with turkey meat.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Have the condiments stirred in a bowl huge enough to fit your turkey ribs and get to work. Slowly without a rush, use your fingers to reach every area so that each bite spots a generous coating. Because of the spicy ingredients, some extra glove protection will come in handy.

Once satisfied with the outcome, it’s now time to transfer your ribs into the refrigerator for about an hour. This is so that the rich flavors sip deeper into the meat and give it that extra pop.

Cooking Instructions

For this recipe, we’ll be using the grill in conjunction with 5 lbs of pre-cooked turkey ribs. Beware that the times highlighted will vary if you have fresh, raw turkey.

For the equipment, have a grill thermometer and a basting brush. On the side, some extra dip of BBQ or Mop sauce will be good.


  1. Prepare your ribs by cutting down unnecessary fat and removing the membrane.
  2. Mix in your dry rub in sizable proportions and smear onto the turkey on both sides.
  3. Transfer the ribs into the fridge for one hour having wrapped them in air-tight bags.
  4. Bring your grill up to a temperature of about 350F. Use a grill thermometer to confirm that indeed the temperatures are right.
  5. Lay the ribs onto the grates and cook using direct heat. This should take about 3 minutes for each side.
  6. Bring out your BBQ sauce and baste the ribs liberally. Do this for each side.
  7. Grill for another 2 minutes before taking it off the fire.
  8. Plate up your cook, and enjoy!

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