This is the post I alluded to in the write-up for my Raspberry Lemonade recipe. If you’ve never had fried turkey before, prepare to be wowed. You can cook an entire turkey in under an hour. The skin is amazingly cripsy and flavorful, and the meat is wonderfully juicy. I like to throw cut up potatoes into the hot oil when the turkey is done. The seasoning from the turkey flavors the oil, and you get the most amazing french fries!
Frying a turkey requires a few specialty items. I recommend purchasing a turkey fryer set, so you know everything will work together. It includes a propane burner and stand, a very large pot, a lifter for the turkey, and a thermometer for monitoring the oil temperature. You’ll also need a propane tank (like the kind you’d use for a gas grill). Regular oven mitts are awkward to use, so welding gloves are handy. You’ll want a marinade injector also, if you want to give your turkey some extra flavor. Kitchen twine will also be helpful.
If you’ve invested in a turkey fryer set, it should come with its own instructions. Read through them carefully. You may have heard horror stories about the dangers of turkey fries, or perhaps you’ve seen this AT&T commercial.
Those people didn’t follow the directions. I’ve done this many times with no problems at all. Just pay attention to what you’re doing and use common sense. (By the way, I’m not plugging AT&T here; I’m just amused by the ad.)
Because I know you’ll follow the directions that came with your set, I’m just going to outline them here. So let’s begin…
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3 ounces beer
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 whole turkey, fresh or thawed, about 12 pounds
- Injectible marinade
- About 2 tablespoons McCormick Turkey Rub (or any good turkey rub if you can't find McCormick)
- 5 gallons peanut oil
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over a low heat.
- Stir and heat until salt is disolved and the sauce is even and runny.
- Keep warm (but not hot) to inject, so the butter doesn’t start to resolidify.
- Remove any giblets or anything else hidden inside the turkey, including pop-up timers. Rinse it and pat it dry, inside and out. (Water and hot peanut oil do not mix!)
- Inject the marinade into several areas of the breast and thigh meat, slowly depressing the plunger of your marinade injector as you pull out the tip. You can use the same whole multiple times, changing the angle each time. Blot away any marinade that may have dripped on the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle the entire bird with the turkey rub, making sure to get some in the cavity as well. It’s a good idea to tie the legs of the turkey together with kitchen twine. It’s not absolutely imperative, but it keeps the legs from spreading out as you place the turkey in the fryer.
- Let the turkey sit at room temperature for about an hour before placing it in the hot oil. You can inject the marinade and add the dry rub the day before if you wish, and keep the turkey in the refrigerator. Just remember to take it out an our before you plan to cook it.
- Set up your turkey fryer outside at least several feet from your house. If it is windy, you’ll want to sheild the setup from the breeze. We happened to have some paving bricks on hand when we last did this. It worked very well, so we’ll probably invest in some just for this purpose. (The ones we have on hand are going toward a patio.) Also make sure the propane tank is sufficiently far from where the flames will be.
- Fill the pot with peanut oil. There should be a line indicating how high to fill it. It’s important to use the right oil here. Peanut oil has a very high smoke point, so it can withstand the hig temperature for an extended period of time. It also lends a wonderful flavor to the turkey.
- Heat the oil to 325ºF. Using the lifter that came with your set, very slowly lower the prepared turkey into the hot oil. The welding gloves are a big help here. Cook the turkey for about 3 1/2 minutes per pound. I like to add an extra 5 minutes, just to be on the safe side. (Don’t worry, there’s no risk of drying out the turkey!) So, for a 12 pound turkey, you’ll want to give it 47 minutes. Monitor the temperature to keep it as close to 325ºF as possible.
- When the turkey is done, carefully remove the turkey using the lifter. Again, welding gloves are a good thing. You should be holding a beautifully browned bird in your hands.
- Place it on a large platter or cutting board lined with paper towels. Let it sit for 15 minutes. (This is a good time to make those french fries I mentioned!)
- Remove the paper towels, carve the turkey and serve. See how juicy that looks? YUM!