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Timber 2 Table - Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Turkey Hearts

Save your wild turkey hearts for this appetizer that cooks in just minutes and is always a crowd-pleaser

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Turkey Hearts

20 Min

Prep Time

25 Min

Cook Time





Everyone loves grilled poppers. Recipes vary, but they usually consist of some sort of wild game meat topped with cream cheese and maybe some jalapeño, wrapped in bacon and grilled. They’re always a hit at get-togethers and hunting camps. Dove, duck, or venison are commonly the main meat.

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This turkey-heart spin on the traditional popper is quick and easy and always a crowd favorite.

Here’s a spin on the tried-and-true classic. Thanks to the power of the internet, more and more hunters are figuring out that there is more to a wild turkey than breast and leg meat. The heart, liver, and gizzards are pretty tasty as well. This recipe uses wild turkey hearts topped with a sweet and spicy mixture of cream cheese, barbecue rub, and diced jalapeño peppers. It all gets wrapped in bacon.

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All of the flavor of traditional poppers, with a twist.

To keep the small hearts from falling through the grill grates and to make turning easier, I like to thread each piece onto a metal or wood skewer. That way you can flip the entire shooting match in one motion, and nothing is lost to the grill abyss as you cook.

Now I realize that, unless you are fortunate enough to hunt turkeys in several states or you have a big hunting family that is just as obsessed with chasing turkeys as you are, coming up with enough hearts for the recipe may be a bit tough. Reach out to your hunting buddies before season starts. If they aren’t keeping hearts and gizzards for themselves, I’ll bet they will save theirs for you.

Start by slicing each heart in half. Trim away any fat or connective tissue from the top and interior of the heart.

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Slice the hearts in half and trim away any fat and connective tissue.

In a bowl, mix a block of room-temperature cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of your favorite sweet BBQ rub and as much diced jalapeño as you desire.

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Mix the stuffing ingredients with softened cream cheese.

Season the hearts all over with Realtree APX all-purpose seasoning.

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Season the hearts, then use a spoon to add stuffing mix to each half.

Use a spoon to cover the flat part of each heart half with a generous amount of the cream cheese mixture.

Wrap each half in a half strip of bacon.

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Wrap the stuffed hearts in bacon, then thread onto a skewer.

Thread the hearts onto a wooden or metal skewer and grill until the bacon is cooked through and starting to crisp up, flipping the skewers halfway through as they cook for even doneness.

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Grill until the bacon is done.

We serve these as appetizers or over rice as a main course if we have enough.


4-6 wild turkey hearts, halved and trimmed

1 8-ounce block cream cheese, room temperature

4-6 slices of bacon, halved

2 tablespoons sweet BBQ rub

2 tablespoons (or to taste) diced jalapeño peppers

Realtree APX all-purpose seasoning

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