Recently, I received an email from a very dear friend requesting some advice on how to deep fry a turkey.
“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?”
Well, 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.
Prepping 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.
Brine the turkey
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.
Frying your turkey
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 marker and mark the turkey fryer, where the line of water is at.
This way you know you cannot add any oil beyond this line.
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:
- Heatproof thermometer
- Heatproof gloves – welding gloves
- Instant read thermometer
- Aim and Flame
- Fire Extinguisher – just in case
Place your heatproof 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 aluminum 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.
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 heatproof 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