Roasted Turkey Tails

November: Thanksgiving

What foods may be frowned upon in one culture may be a favorite in another! Such is the case of roasted turkey tails. The fatty butts of the big birds were once considered an undesirable part for most Americans who discarded it on Thanksgiving. Not wanting to waste the tails, turkey food companies shipped the “pope’s nose” (also known as “parson’s nose” or “sultan’s nose”) to other countries as a way to make some easy profit. Turkey tails have become a cheap delicacy in places like Ghana and Samoa. Because they are unhealthy, governments have tried but failed to ban the import of turkey tails.

Turkey tails are popular in Hawaii, too! Islander’s cousin, Roxanne, married a Samoan, Billy T. and they serve several roasted tails along with a traditional turkey on Thanksgiving. Some of her relatives also eat their turkey with ketchup in lieu of gravy (see Notes)! Remember, what tastes may be frowned upon by one person may be a favorite of another!

Try indulging in these tasty roasted turkey tails at least once on Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey (Tails) Day!


(Adapted from


  • Turkey tails, raw and not smoked
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Onion powder to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Mixture of chopped herbs (rosemary, sage, etc.), optional (we leave them out)


Wash the turkey tails and pat dry with paper towels. Use tweezers to pull off any visible quill ends of the feathers. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Sprinkle with chopped herbs (optional). Place turkey tails on a rack over a foil-lined baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve with gravy or ketchup.