BBQ Wild Turkey and Kimchi Sandwich Recipe

BBQ Wild Turkey and Kimchi Sandwich Recipe
Kimchi on wild turkey sandwiches will make them extra special with the added color and spicy taste. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

Turn a boring turkey sandwich into a culinary masterpiece with colorful and spicy kimchi

When my butcher mentioned that he likes kimchi on his sandwiches, I thought he was a genius. It gave me an idea for wild turkey sandwiches.

What’s kimchi, you ask? Think of kimchi as the sauerkraut of Korea, except it’s colorful, spicy, and bursting with flavor, and tastes brilliant with the sweetness of BBQ.

But we don’t have weeks or months to wait for real kimchi to ferment, so I offer a quick kimchi recipe below. Or you can find it premade in jars in many Asian grocery stores and on Amazon, as well as the coarse red pepper flakes (gochugaru) needed to make this iconic Korean side dish from scratch.

Kimchi Napa Cabbage Korea
Colorful and spicy kimchi will make a plain turkey sandwich burst with flavor. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

What we have here isn’t pulled pork, though; it’s wild turkey, which dries out easily, so braising it is a good way to keep the breast moist. This is a dish best made the night before.

Make the kimchi and let it marinate overnight. Then pop the turkey into the slow cooker before you go to bed or before you go to work and it will be ready in a few hours.

Prep time: Variable
Cook time: 4 hours
Servings: 8 per one tom turkey breast


  • 1 wild turkey breast, skinless
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce, plus extra
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mustard
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 teaspoons of liquid smoke
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 can of chicken stock (scant 2 cups)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • Prepared kimchi (or see recipe below)
  • Hamburger buns

Quick Kimchi Ingredients (makes 1 quart):

  • 1 head of napa cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons of salt
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of Korean coarse red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped into 1 to 2 inch sections


  1. To make kimchi, core out the bottom end of the napa cabbage. Quarter cabbage lengthwise then cut into 1- to 2-inch sections. Place cabbage in a bowl and mix with 3 tablespoons of salt. Set on the counter for 2 hours to allow cabbage to wilt and release its juice. Next, thoroughly rinse cabbage under cold water to wash off salt. Squeeze out water and then allow cabbage to drip dry in a colander. Meanwhile, blend the garlic, ginger, white vinegar and fish sauce in a food processor. Once cabbage is fairly dry, place cabbage back into a bowl with scallions. Pour in the garlic-ginger mixture along with sesame seeds and Korean pepper flakes. Mix well and then pack kimchi into a sterilized glass jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Marinate for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before eating. Store the jar in the refrigerator and it will keep for up to a month. Serve kimchi cold.

Slow Cooking Wild Turkey Breast
Cooking the wild turkey breast is easy. With all the necessary ingredients added, cook the breast in a slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours, or on low for 6 hours. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

  1. To prepare the wild turkey, whisk all ingredients, except the kimchi, hamburger buns and turkey, inside a slow cooker. Sprinkle salt and pepper over turkey breast and place into the cooking liquid. Turkey should be submerged, and if not, add more water. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or until turkey breast is tender. Or cook on low for 6 hours. Flip breast over halfway through. (I place a sheet of aluminum foil underneath the lid to prevent steam from escaping.)

Pulled Wild Turkey Breast
The final ingredient for these delicious kimchi wild turkey sandwiches is your favorite BBQ sauce. (Jenny Nguyen photo)

  1. Remove turkey from cooking liquid. Shred turkey with forks and mix in more BBQ sauce, salt and pepper, as needed. Use your favorite sauce, but I prefer a BBQ sauce that is more tomato-y. Assemble shredded turkey and kimchi onto hamburger buns. Use extra kimchi in other sandwiches, fried rice, and as a side with rich BBQ dishes.

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