Prepare to Fry
Preparation is key. You can’t deep fry a turkey in an aluminum foil container from the local Piggly Wiggly; you need a proper turkey fryer and a power source, probably a propane tank, which you might have around the house.
Before putting this purchase on your Gold Card, understand the size of the bird you are usually going to cook. This year, your gathering might be a little smaller because the newlyweds are at the in-laws, but next year, you might have twice the crew so get a large enough fryer.
You need oil. Many people prefer peanut oil for this application, but whatever oil you use, you need to purchase enough of it…are you noticing a theme here? Preparation is a huge part of this undertaking.
Sometime Wednesday day or evening, put your naked bird – no wrapping, no stuffing – into the fryer and add water to cover. Here’s the key: you have to measure the water as you add it; the total number of cups of water will be the amount of oil you add on Thanksgiving. This will be a large amount of water so you might do best measuring with large, graduated containers such as ice tea pitchers; those little two-cup Pyrex measuring cups will do you no good in this effort.
Purchase the oil. Over-estimate the amount you need based on the size of the fryer to ensure you have proper coverage.
What about Fried Turkey Injection Recipes?
You’ve probably heard of injecting flavorings directly into the turkey and it is an excellent way to spice up the feast. My caution here is both practical and culinary.
The more you spice or flavor your turkey, for many people, the less ‘turkyish’ it tastes. Consider if your audience will be happier with spicing that enhances the turkey or spicing that defines the turkey; the answer to this provides the direction for your spice application. Injecting, like using a deep fried turkey rub, is a task you perform before you cook the turkey. The key difference is that rubs are designed to naturally permeate the skin and meat of the turkey, usually in an overnight marinade while injecting forces the flavoring into the turkey.
I recommend trying a turkey rub for your initial fried turkey. It’s somewhat simpler, is done well before frying time and doesn’t require a special injector tool. If you and your guests enjoy the flavor and find the depth of flavor a good match for your preferences, the rub may be all you need. If you want more intensity, move on to deep fried turkey injection recipes.
How to Deep Fry a Turkey
At this point, you have all the food and equipment you need for your deep fried turkey. You’ve added the rub or injected flavoring and you have the oil ready to go into the fryer.
Two cautions are appropriate here: first, this is an OUTSIDE activity; do not try it in your basement, on your deck, in your garage or in the dog house no matter how chilly it is. Second, prepare for a grease fire. You won’t have a grease fire, but you must be prepared for one. Have a substantial old blanket or similar on deck to smother a potential grease fire and a huge box of baking soda. We all know NEVER to put water on a grease fire, right? Right!
Follow the directions that came with your fryer for details, but the overall process is similar for all deep frying:
• Set up the fryer a significant distance from the dwelling.
• Add the oil.
• Heat the oil to the temperature on the directions.
• Place your DRY turkey into the fryer using the included turkey base; ensure that the turkey is dry by patting it with paper towels inside and out.
• When the oil returns to the correct temperature, start timing.
How long to deep fry a turkey depends on the size of the turkey and the fryer, but a good estimate is four to five minutes per pound.
• A few minutes before the turkey is supposed to be cooked, pull it out with the provided tools and test the internal temperature. If it is already at or very near the done temp, move it to a plate you have ready and waiting, bring it into the house and tent it to rest for a little while before serving; it will continue to cook during this rest.
• Carve and bask in the praises of your guests.
• Do not neglect properly tending your fryer to prevent accidents, ensure safety and be ready for the next frying occasion.