Do you have an extra five gallons of peanut oil sitting around the house? Why not use it to deep fry a turkey?
Deep fried turkey is moist and delicious and not at all oily. The skin sears instantly and seals in the natural turkey juices for the most juicy turkey you'll ever have. It also cooks quickly at about 3 ½ minutes a pound. That’s a 12 pound turkey in under 40 minutes. You'll even have time to cook two turkeys if you want. No more waking up at dawn to put the turkey in the oven. Deep frying a turkey will also free up oven space for side dishes. If your oven space is limited, think about how much room you'll have without a turkey in there.
What do you need to deep fry a turkey:
Deep Fryer - You can buy the whole setup in a kit or you can buy everything separately. Make sure your pot is about 40-60 quarts. The burner should be large enough to hold this pot securely. Most burners will use a propane tank as a fuel source and are not included in the kits.
Candy Thermometer - Having an accurate thermometer is important to ensure that the turkey cooks properly and to avoid a fire. Candy Thermometers are long and usually have a clip so you can attach them to the side of the pot. Most Deep Fryer Kits include a candy thermometer.
Meat Thermometer - After cooking your bird for 3 1/2 minutes a pound it will be done. If you have problems keeping the oil temperature constant then you may need a meat thermometer. The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Oven mitts & safety goggles - Splattering oil is very dangerous. Oven mitts and safety goggles are a must. Fire Extinguisher - This is just a precaution but it's better safe than sorry. Make sure the fire extinguisher is made for grease fires.
How to prepare for your first deep fry:
Choose a turkey no bigger than 12 pounds. If that isn't enough to feed your guests then get two turkeys. Even if you have a pot large enough to cook a larger turkey remember that you will have to lift it over a pot of hot oil. A 12 pound turkey will cook in under 40 minutes so cooking two (24 pounds of turkey) can still be done in well under two hours and think of all the leftovers you'll have.
Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey. Remove any pop up timers or plastic leg bindings. The legs should be tied together with butchers string so that they don't touch the side of the pot while cooking. Do not stuff your turkey.
Defrost your turkey in the fridge for several days prior to cooking. Do not defrost a turkey outside of the fridge as this a great way to grow bacteria.
Stuffing and Gravy - When deep frying a turkey the stuffing must be made outside of the bird. Also plan for alternate ways to make gravy. You will not have access to turkey fat like you would when roasting a turkey. Frying up the giblets and neck in a pan is one solution or save some chicken fat from a previous meal a few days before Thanksgiving. And remember that a deep fried turkey needs less gravy because it doesn't dry out like oven roasted turkey, although that fact won't help your mashed potatoes.
Deep frying a turkey is dangerous and proper caution needs to be used:
The turkey fryer needs to be outside on a flat surface. Do not deep fry a turkey in a garage or a covered carport. Always keep a fire extinguisher (rated for grease fires) nearby. Large oven mitts or a fireplace gloves must be worn. Always wear eye protection and full face protection would be even better. A welding mask is probably overkill but it would be entertaining for your guests.
When lowering the turkey into the oil, turn off the flame. And do not allow those guests, especially children and pets near the turkey cooker.
Follow these safety tips and use common sense and your turkey frying experience will be safe and successful.
Anthony Tripodi is the webmaster of BigTurkeyFryer.com - The Deep Fried Turkey Guide. For more information about Deep Fried Turkey including deep fryers, recipes for injector sauces and dry rubs, and more, visit http://www.bigturkeyfryer.com