Can a turkey be fried like a chicken?

I’ve heard of turkeys being deep-fried whole, but I’ve never heard of them being fried like chickens, i.e., cut up into pieces, coated with breadcrumbs or batter and pan-fried. Why not? Is it because the pieces are too big to cook the meat all the way through without burning the skin, or what?

I doubt it would work well, the only way I could see it working is with a pressure fryer. When I make fried chicken I use a cast iron skillet (you know, the right way ;>), the method makes fabulous chicken but you have to use a small hen to get it right. A chicken that is too big will burn on the outside before it cooks on the inside, and even a small turkey would be well over the line on the side of too large. I could see you using a boneless cutlet of breast or thigh meat and doing chicken fried turkey that way. It wouldn’t be exactly what you meant but it would be turkey, it would be fried and it would probably be delicious.

My mother makes turkey nuggets every year as a Thanksgiving appetizer.


I would agree with this. But yeah, if someone could figure out how to do it properly, I’d scarf it down and ask for more! (Well, maybe not; I’ve eaten an entire turkey drumstick before, and those things are freakin’ huge).

ETA: Which leads me to think of a special a local diner offers: four pieces of fried chicken (drumstick, thigh, wing, breast) and three sides. That, for me, is two meals. I cannot even imagine the same deal with the comparable pieces of turkey! (Not to mention how much they’d have to charge for it. . .)

This. Chickens are classified according to size as (from smallest to largest) fryers, broilers, and roasters. The names designate the most appropriate cooking method for the size of the bird. Cut up chicken parts that you buy individually are usually cut up fryers. A turkey is bigger than the largest roaster, and therefore must be roasted even longer than a big chicken.

Completely unrelated, I’m reminded of the great old Merle Travis song, “I Like My Chicken Fryin’ Size:”

“I like my chicken fryin’ size
Hangin’ round my pen.
Young and tender and not too wise
Like some old stewin’ hen.
Who has seen the lot
Of every rooster that you got.
That’s why I like my chicken fryin’ size
When I get my skillet hot!”

Given that it’s possible to deep-fry a whole turkey, I imagine it would be possible to deep-fry pieces, too. But then you wouldn’t get the same presentation of the whole bird sitting on the platter, waiting to be carved. Presentation is an important part of the tradition.