By Michael Pendley
One of our favorite ways to cook and serve wild turkey is in the German schnitzel style. While most traditional German schnitzels are breaded and fried pork, the method works well for any meat, including wild turkey.
For this recipe, we use one side of a wild turkey breast, first cut into thick cutlets, then pounded flat with a meat mallet. To keep splatter to a minimum while pounding the cutlets, I often place them into a gallon-sized zip-style plastic bag before employing the mallet. If your meat mallet has both a smooth and textured side, use the smooth side first to break down the meat’s fibers, then finish with the textured side to help tenderize the turkey.
One side of a turkey breast, about 2 pounds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs beaten
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- Start with half of a wild turkey breast. Slice it across the grain into roughly ½- to ¾-inch thick cutlets.
- Pound the slices flat with a meat mallet to a consistent ¼-inch thickness. The thin cutlets fry more evenly, and the meat mallet tenderizes the sometimes-tough turkey breast.
- Mix the salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder into the flour.
- Set up a three-station dipping area. Into one shallow bowl goes the seasoned flour, into the second the beaten eggs and into the third the bread crumbs.
- Dredge each cutlet, first in seasoned flour, then in egg wash and finally in the bread crumbs. Place the coated turkey cutlets on a wire rack for a few minutes to allow crust to set.
- Heat a ¼-inch of vegetable oil, shortening or lard in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and releases tiny wisps of smoke. Fry each cutlet for three minutes per side or until golden brown and crisp. Don’t overcrowd the skillet. Move finished cutlets to a warm platter while remaining turkey cooks, sprinkling each finished piece with a pinch of salt and pepper as soon as they are removed from the skillet.
We like to serve the fried wild turkey schnitzel over traditional, German-style boiled spaetzle noodles that have been tossed with a bit of garlic butter. Garnish the schnitzel with lemon slices for a squeeze of lemon juice at the table.
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