How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Recently, I received an email from a very dear friend…Jerry wrote…

“My soon to be son-in-law had us over last Thanksgiving to serve a fried Turkey and it WAS THE BEST TURKEY I EVER DEVOURED! Are there any tips you can give me in preparing this?” 

How to deep fry a turkey smokin js barbequeWell, of course, we can!

Prior to buying a Big Green Egg, deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving was our preferred method of cooking our holiday feast.

There are many types of deep fryers on the market today, including air fryers; however, we are writing this, based on OUR EXPERIENCE.

The following is our advice on how to prepare, cook and serve a deep fried turkey.


Prep of the Turkey

5 DAYS PRIOR TO COOKING

FIRST MAKE NOTE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE TURKEY.  This is important when determining a cooking time.

Because most supermarket turkeys are frozen, or partially frozen, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE, your turkey is COMPLETELY THAWED before cooking.

Placing, even a partially thawed, turkey in a bath of hot oil is a great way to burn down your house!

We recommend placing your turkey in a large cooler with cool water.  Make sure the turkey is submerged or almost submerged in the water.

Each day, remove the water and add fresh water to the cooler.


TWO DAYS BEFORE YOUR COOK

Prepare and cook the Brine for the turkey.

Watch Alton Brown’s commentary on why you should brine.  We use his brine recipe too.

  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of ground all-spice

Refrigerate your brine until 8 hours prior to deep frying.


 

THE DAY BEFORE YOUR COOK

Remove the giblet pack from inside the turkey cavity.

Brine your turkey.  We use a clean cooler, instead of a bucket for this process; however, we flip the bird over after about 4 hours of brine time.

Next you will want to prepare your deep fry area.

It is advantageous if you have a concrete area to cook on, for stability and safety.

Do not cook right next to the house.  Do not cook in a garage.  We strongly advise NOT cooking on your deck.

In a driveway, approximately 10-15 feet from the house would be ideal.

This fryer is very similar to ours.


THE DAY OF YOUR COOK

Verify your turkey is COMPLETELY THAWED!

Make sure your deep fryer is clean and all appropriate tools are nearby.

Measure the turkey volume to avoid overfilling our fryer with oil, which could cause a fire.

Place turkey in fryer, neck cavity up (butt cavity down).  Add just enough water to cover the turkey.

Remove the turkey.  Using a permanent market, mark the turkey fryer, where the line of water is at.

This way you know you cannot add any oil beyond this line.

Montreal Steak Seasoning Remove the turkey from the water displacement test.  Pat dry the turkey with a clean towel.  Apply a liberal coat of McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning all over the bird and sprinkle some inside the cavity.

Place the fryer in your SAFE cooking area.  Make sure you have the following tools in your cooking area:

  • Heat proof thermometer
  • Heat proof gloves – welding gloves
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Aim and Flame
  • Timer
  • Fire Extinguisher – just in case

Place your heat proof thermometer in the fryer.

Pour PEANUT OIL into your turkey fryer – DO NOT FILL PAST YOUR DISPLACEMENT MARK ON YOUR FRYER!

MOST FIRES HAPPEN BECAUSE PEOPLE OVERFILL THE FRYER!

Turn on the attached propane tank and light your fire.  Some suggest wrapping the propane tank hose in aluminium foil, in case any oil pops out.

Now you could build a Turkey Derrick like this one:  but it really is not necessary.  Just be cautious and vigilant. Alton Brown Turkey Derrick for Smokin J's Barbeque fried turkey

You want the oil to reach 250ºF.

NEVER LEAVE THE COOK VESSEL UNATTENDED!

Attach the turkey to the lifting rack and hook contraption.  Verify the outer skin of the turkey is DRY.

SLOWLY and GENTLY place the turkey into the oil.  Keep the heat on high until the heat proof thermometer reads 350ºF.

Set your timer. – BUT NEVER LEAVE THE FRYER UNATTENDED!  You want to fry the turkey for THREE MINUTES PER POUND!

Time is up – you want to verify the bird is at LEAST 151ºF with your instant read thermometer.  This allows for 10º carry over cooking while the turkey is resting.

Rest your bird at least 20 minutes before carving!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


TOOLS WE RECOMMEND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Smokin J’s Barbeque at Doc Holiday Competition

Our second barbecue competition of the season is in the books and it was a hot one in Griffin, Georgia at the Doc Holiday BBQ and Music Festival. 

The event takes place in historic downtown Griffin, home of the famous gunslinger, Doc Holiday.  The annual event celebrates his life and his role in the Gunfight at the OK Corral.  Complete with vintage costumes, actors portray the 30-second shootout between Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, town Marshal Virgil Earp, Special Policeman Morgan Earp and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws known as the Cowboys, which took place in Tombstone, Arizona.


Food, crafts and barbecue lined several blocks.  One thing I especially like about this competition; the craft vendors, kids area and other activities are not in the same space as the barbecue competition.  We do not mind visitors; however, a constant flow of people can be distracting and of course, we are COMPETING and need to be 100% focus.

Journey to the Competition

If you follow our escapades, you know, it seems we always endure drama just before a comp, or on the way to a competition; this was no exception.

Earlier in the week, Doug discovered a flat tire on the RV.  We just bought brand new tires for the entire RV earlier this year, due to several blow out experiences during last year’s GBA season. 


Click to Read about our GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP moment! 


However, this time, it was a nail in the tire.  Fortunately, it was repairable.  Doug reinstalled the tire after work.  Friday morning, as we prepared to leave for Griffin, he found a silver object embedded in a different tire.  Therefore, we had to make a detour to a tire shop, to hopefully, get this one repaired.

In route to the tire shop, the road was closed – UGGG!   So, we made a VERY NARROW, two-mile detour; waited 20 minutes for an available bay; only to discover, it was a rock embedded in the tire.  Doug had attempted to remove the object, while still at home, but it would not come out. And at 6 A.M., in the dark, it was shiny and we thought the worst – a nail.

Nevertheless, we got back out on the road and made it to Griffin by lunchtime.

Competition Notes

Although a smoother cook than in Douglas at the previous competition, we were still not in strong form.

brisket award for smokin js barbequeHaving our brisket stall at 178º was enough stress for the whole day; however, we managed to pull out a top 10 finish.  Although we really would’ve loved to have taken home the coveted 1st place brisket trophy – CONGRATULATIONS TO Wright On Q, who did.

Despite a slow rise to the necessary temperature, our loin was delicious; tender, moist and full of flavor; however, it just was not what the judges were looking for.   We finished 36th.  So happy for Fire In The Hole for winning their very first LOIN FIRST PLACE TROPHY!

Once again, our pulled pork was delicious and busting with juicy flavor.  Imagine our surprise when we received a comment card, “looked dry and chewy,” but received a 10 in taste, on the same card?  Very confusing.   Hats off to Hickory Flat BBQ Co. for their 1st place finish in pork.

Finally, our ribs were not at the same caliber as we are used to; so we were not surprised by our 34th ranking. But OFF THE CHAIN nearly scored PERFECT for their preliminary ribs AND captured the GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP!  Congratulations.

Great job to WE WANT QUE for their Reserve Grand Champion finish!

Smokin J’s Barbeque already has a strategy in the works to improve for our next competition scheduled for November in Jacksonville, Florida.

WATCH THE AWARDS CEREMONY HERE!

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South Georgia Competition Kicks Off the Season

Smokin J's Barbeque banner in Douglas

The Georgia Barbecue Association kicked off the 2018-2019 season in Douglas, Georgia and Smokin J’s Barbeque, along with 40 other teams, were in the heart of it.

Kudos to the City of Douglas

The city of Douglas definitely knows how to run a competition.  Everything was strategically organized and planned for not only the cook teams, but also the many craft vendors, car enthusiast and families who attended.

Great job to Mike Hudson and his staff!

Those of you who do not cook at professional competition events may find this mundane, however, the cook teams arrived to find great signage for the event; easy access to the cook sites and wonderful organization by the city.

Cook sites were clearly marked and staff escorted teams directly to their assigned spots.  We were very grateful, electricity was immediately available because it was HOT!  Water was available relatively shortly thereafter.

Using the Douglas Municipal Airport, where we competed four years ago and endured a destructive tornado, was brilliant.  Activities were spread out. Plenty of room for visitors to walk and enjoy the festivities.  The cook teams were not cramped, but were close enough to socialize with our GBA family members.

Arriving Early…

We enjoyed looking at the vintage airplanes on display for the event.

Smokin J's Barbeque

Vintage airplanes were displayed at the Douglas, Georgia BBQ Festival

The wonderful city fed all the cook teams Friday night after our cook team meeting.

Thank you for the ham, chicken, greens, mac n’cheese and delicious desserts. 

It is amazing how many contest fed the teams barbecue.  The last thing we want to eat is barbecue.

This was not just a professional barbecue association.  There were plenty of things to do at the South Georgia BBQ & Outdoor Festival.  

A motorcycle show, a custom-car show, an aircraft display, along with a flyover and a Friday night Kason Layne concert brought the visitors in.  Huey Helicopter rides were available along with a kids zone, complete with a  reptile wagon and southeastern snake encounter demonstration.  Despite the warm temperatures, people packed the event.

Smokin J's Barbeque

Planes of various sizes were on display. Can you see our pitmaster?

Competition Hurdles

Surprisingly, I get so much more nervous than Doug BEFORE the competition even starts.  Doug is more stressed, than I, during turn in times.  However, I guess our mojo was just a little off, since it was the start of a new season – or at least that is what we are claiming.

We had several issues during the competition that kinda threw us off our game…

THANK YOU to Off The Chain for giving us a box of disposable gloves.

THANK YOU to Pirates of Pork Scents for loaning us an injector.

We were missing a few other tools which were left at home and we were just out of sync.

But we have since regrouped, figured out what went wrong, and loaded up new supplies.  We will be ready for the next competition.

Smokin J’s Barbeque Results

Of course, being off our game, we did not fair as well as we had hoped.  However, we were proud of our 10th place finish in brisket.  Good flavor, moist and tender – we just probably were on the same table as Rescue Smokers who took home 1st place in category.  Congratulations of course!  

Our loin did not fair as good – we were 31st out of 44 teams.

In pork butt/shoulder – we were 37th.

Despite not changing any ingredients from our Grand Championship Ribs in Woodstock – we were 28th.

WATCH THE ENTIRE AWARDS CEREMONY HERE!

Very disappointed in our finish, but we were competing with the best teams in the Georgia Barbecue Association and will score better in Griffin.

Thank you to our sponsors.  Without you we would not be able to do this!

D.C. Webster
Dixie Crystals
BBQ Guru

Please subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with where we will be competing and to get delicious barbecue and grilling recipes!

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Smokin J’s Barbeque Charitable Work

Smokin J's Barbeque AwardsIn 2012, we were blessed with the most beautiful granddaughter in the world.

Abby was born with multiple congenital joint contractures throughout her tiny body.

Doctors do not know exactly what causes Arthrogryposis, and even fewer physicians know how to treat a child with this issue.

This lack of muscular development and growth is very difficult for families.  More needs to be done to provide new AMC parents with guidance and medical opportunities to help their child grow to be self-sufficient.

AMC Awareness Day

Fortunately, Shriners Children Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina has a wonderful department with surgeons and therapist who recognize the symptoms and provide medical treatment.

Smokin J’s Barbeque is proud to donate a portion of our annual barbecue competition winnings to AMC SUPPORT.ORG

Heck, we even named our Stump SmokerAbby 2.

Smokin J's Barbeque with Stump Smoker

AMC Support provides resources and materials for families affected by Arthrogryposis, as well as, coordinates an annual conference which bridges the gap between those with AMC and medical professionals.

Only one in 3,000 babies are born with this rare condition and AMC does not receive the media attention of many other ailments, but with donations to AMCSUPPORT.ORG – education and support can build a community and spread awareness.

We do not expect our barbecue competitors to donate to a charity dear to our hearts, but we would ask you to consider donating a portion of your winnings to a charity which might be close to your heart.

We are all doing something we have a passion for – BARBECUE!   Why not go beyond smoking up good food?

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9 Essentials for a Barbecue Competition

Smokin J's BarbequeWe have been competing in the Georgia Barbecue Association for five years.

When we started, we knew nothing about professional barbecue except what everyone has seen on television.  TV glamorizes the competition, which is a blast – but it is very challenging and hard work.

Every team who has won a trophy or money in a competition has truly worked for it.


Experience has taught us a lot – as well as our fellow GBA family members.  However, prior to our first competition, we didn’t know about disposable cutting boards or heat resistant gloves?  We have absorbed knowledge by talking with our fellow competitors and devising unorthodox uses for some common household items.

Smokin J's Barbeque Essential competition tools

We keep a checklist of our most used items, in our barbecue camper.  Each season, we double check this list and verify we have plenty on hand of things we might need throughout the year.  The list is ever-evolving and we are constantly devising new ideas to help us.

I created a downloadable PDF of the checklist, in case you are interested.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF THE CHECKLIST HERE!


Obviously, there are items you must have – a smoker you are comfortable with; aluminum pans; disposable gloves, etc.  These are needed just to be able to function at a competition.

This article focuses on those “extras” which are not necessary but make cooking so much easier.

I have included affiliate links for these items.

In no particular order…

G & F 1689M Dupont Nomex & Kevlar Heat Resistant Oven Gloves, BBQ Gloves, Fireplace Gloves, Gloves for Cooking and Grill, Commercial Grade, Medium, Sold by 1 Pieceplaced over your disposable gloves, these make it easier to handle hot pans and smoker racks but still have the dexterity to hold shakers full of rub.

Although made from Nomex, these gloves can be washed in your home washing machine, just do not use bleach and make sure they are completely dry before using.

 


New Star Foodservice 26177 Squeeze Bottles, Plastic, Wide Mouth, 16 oz, Clear, Pack of 6

Invaluable for applying barbecue sauce precisely where you want it and as much as you want.   Strongly suggest getting the wide-mouth bottles to make it easier to pour in your prepared sauce.

These do not contain spout caps, however, I just use plastic wrap and a rubber band.


beach towels is an essential bbq competition toolBeach towels – yes, large beach towels.  Place them under your cutting boards to prevent slippage.  Also, they can be washed in your washing machine for easy clean up of all that sticky barbecue sauce.

We also place beach towels under our cutting boards when we rub our product. Just shake them out, to avoid mixing any rub – then flip them inside out – then you are ready for the next product.

Kaufman Sales 4 Pc Pack Stripe Beach Towel by Ben Kaufman Sales

We use one beach towel under our cutting board for trimming and immediately discard this towel, until we get home and it can be washed.


We use a catfish skinner to remove the silver skin from our ribs.  This tool is superior to the spoon handle and paper towel method.

Maybrun Commercial Catfish Skinner


A Washable warming tray can keep a variety of sauces warm, so as to not apply cold barbecue sauce to warm meat.

Recently discounted: Elite Platinum EWM-6171 Maxi-Matic 2.5 Quart 3 Tray Buffet Server, Brushed Stainless Steel

Keep the tray at its lowest setting because it will get very hot and barbecue sauce should not be boiling when you apply it to your entry.  The buffet trays and lids can be placed in the dishwasher.  After the warming platform has cooled, clean with sanitizing wipes.


Disposable cutting mats are a game changer and we like these made by BBQ Guru.

BBQ Fans Single-Use Disposable Cutting Boards 30 Pack

They are 18″x24″ and include a ruler on the side for measuring slices or cubes.  Also, the middle is a 9″x 9″ square for proportioning your turn in box.

There are other suppliers out there with food-grade cutting mats, the point is…they are a must for a competition cook team.

 


A reliable temperature control for your smoker is crucial for consistency during a competition.

Smokin J’s Barbeque proudly uses the CyperQ Cloud by BBQ Guru. 

It not only regulates your cooker’s internal temperature but also, monitors up to 3 food temperatures.  Package includes 1 six-foot pit probe and 1 six-foot food probe, but additional food probes are available to purchase.

BBQ CyberQ

BBQ Guru is a sponsor of Smokin J’s Barbeque, however, we will not receive compensation for your purchase.

A key feature of the CyberQ Cloud is its WiFi capability. You can monitor AND control your CyberQ Cloud remotely from any web-based device such as your smartphone, tablet, desktop, or laptop.


poly-carbonate shakersA set of poly-carbonate shakers with various lids.  There are many types of shakers and after experimenting with various brands, sizes and textures…we have concluded the poly-carbonate shakers are the best.

We bought a set which contains several different lids with various sized holes.

Most any restaurant supply store will have these on hand. If you want to order online, here is a reliable Food Equipment Supply Company. 

Various lids are available at their website.

We keep many on hand so we can prepare all the rubs at once.  No fumbling around later when time is of the essence.


Finally, a valuable tool but not really necessary if you have plenty of sanitizing wipes on hand, are disposable, fitted tablecloths.

Rather expensive at $3.10 each, these “kwik” covers are made for 6-foot long, fold-able tables. 

They fit over the 2″ edge of the table, much like a fitted sheet on a mattress.  They can be wiped down and reused, but by the end of a competition, we are ready to just throw away everything and rest.


These are our 9 barbecue competition essential tools.

Do you have any ESSENTIAL TOOLS you pack in your barbecue trailer?  Please share….

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