Deep frying a turkey – the basics

Two essential rules:

  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy AND
  • Monitor the bird and best deep fryer the entire time.

Note : Deep frying a turkey can be really fun, but requires a lot of attention and care in the same time. An unattended deep fryer can become a fire hazard, so caution is needed when attempting to deep-fry a turkey.

A great alternative to the classic oven roasted turkey is to deep fry the turkey. This way of cooking a turkey is especially popular in the south of the U.S. and is quickly becoming a popular dish nationwide. More and more people like the idea of trying new ways of cooking their turkey, especially at Thanksgiving. Deep frying a turkey is less time consuming than oven roasting it. If you are interested in deep frying a turkey, here are some cooking tips and advices to obtain fun a delicious results.

1. The turkey fryer
First, you will need a special deep fryer that was specially made to deep fry a turkey. It is important that you use a best deep fryer and not create your own as they can become a burn and fire hazard. Some of the most popular turkey fryers are:

The outdoor turkey fryer
If you are looking for a great outdoor turkey deep fryer, the Bayou Classic 1195 Stainless-Steel 32-Quart Turkey-Fryer Kit with Stainless-Steel Burner is the premium choice. Who wants a uni function piece of equipment? This best deep fryer set offers a high quality for outdoor cooking and is fully stainless steel polished, allows you to deep fry a whole turkey (small size) in as little as 45 minutes or any other food you want to deep fry. The set can even be used to steam/boil a basket of seafood, shrimps or anything you have in mind. The set includes everything you might need, such as a thermometer for oil/water, etc. A highly appreciated piece of equipment for deep fry lovers.

The indoor turkey deep fryer
Unless you live in a region where it is warm 365 days a year, you may prefer to use an indoor turkey fryer. In this case, the Masterbuilt 20010109 Butterball Professional Series Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer is the best indoor deep fryer for turkey. This baby can fry anything you can think of, turkey, chicken, catfish… Easy to use and cleanup is a breeze! Owners simply love it! This stainless steel best deep fryer includes a digital timer, power/ready indicator lights, an adjustable thermostat control, a fold-away lid with viewing window, a built-in filter, a cooking basket with drain clip, a porcelain-coated inner pot and a drain valve for easy cleaning.

The infrared turkey fryer
Yes, technology has brought us the oil-less option: the Char-Broil 08101480 The Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer. It uses an infrared technology instead of oil to cook the turkey. And the result is the same : a delicious fried turkey! This patented technology takes the mess and hassle out of cooking a turkey up to 16 lbs or any other large cut of meat, including chickens, pork tenderloins, etc. Some people are simply uncomfortable with using so much hot oil. This device offers a great alternative if you like the taste of fried turkey. Another great advantage is that you can use dry rubs and sauces to add flavor, something that you can’t do in a conventional turkey fryer.

2. Size of the turkey
The smaller the turkey, the best it is for deep frying. Preferably choose a turkey that weighs 10lbs, up to a maximum of 15lbs. The reason is simple, the bigger the bird is, the longer it will take to fully cook. And if you let the bird sit too long it your best deep fryer, you are increasing the chance of overcooking the outside of the bird while having undercooked meat in the center of the bird. If you have a big turkey, it is better to separate the dark meat from the white meat and to deep fry them separately, for better results.

3. Oil
Next step is to measure the amount of oil needed. If you turkey fryer has a “fill line” that indicates the needed level of oil to your frying pot, go to the next step. If not, place your turkey in the empty pot and add water until the top of the turkey is covered. Not the water level using a ruler to measure the length between the top of the pot and the surface of the water. This will be your oil level. Make sure to pour out the water thoroughly. It is a crucial step to let both the pot and the turkey fully dry to avoid oil splashes when cooking. On the other hand, if you are using the new oil-less turkey fryers with the infrared technology, you will be spared the danger of oil splashing and fire hazards.

4. Preparing the turkey
If you turkey had previously been frozen, make sure to thoroughly thaw it, as water and oil are a dangerous combination. Remove the neck and giblets from the two body cavities and any excess of fat. Inject the marinade sauce or marinade oils in the turkey to add more flavor and to keep it moist while cooking and do not stuff the turkey. Use dry spices instead of marinades under the skin to avoid hot oil splatters when cooking. You can either look for marinade and spices at the grocery store or create your own blend of spices. It is preferable to let the turkey sit overnight in the fridge, or at least 2 hours to allow the meat to absorb all the delicious flavors. To reduce the chance of spattering, make sure to dry the interior and exterior of the bird thoroughly. Finally, just before cooking, place the turkey in a clean roasting pan at room temperature for at most 30 minutes to allow the turkey to warm up and reduce splattering.

5. Cooking temperature
Cooking temperature. Follow the manual’s instruction to find out at what temperature to heat the oil. The use canola or peanut is preferable. As a rule of thumb, you can use 375°F for outdoor deep fryers and 400°F for indoor cooking. DO NOT LEAVE the heating oil unattended, as this is the recipe for a disaster!

6. Lowering the turkey in the oil : Watch out for splattering!
When the oil has reached the right cooking temperature, carefully and slowly lower the turkey into the oil to prevent excess splattering. For outdoor cooking, you can turn off the burner as you are carefully lowering the turkey in the oil and turn it back on when the turkey is safely sitting in the pot.

7. Cooking time.
If using an outdoor best deep fryer, allow 3 minutes to 4 minutes per pound for a whole turkey and 4 minutes to 5 minutes per pound for turkey parts. If you are using an indoor turkey fryer, for a whole turkey, allow 3 minutes per pound and add 5 minutes. You can refer to the manufacturer’s instruction for a more precised cooking time, since cooking time may vary with the model. DO NOT leave the turkey unattended when cooking.

picture by : therichbrooks

When cooking time is over, carefully take the turkey out, turn off the deep fryer and let the turkey sit for a least 20 minutes to let it cook down before carving. If done right, your turkey should come out dark, with a crispy and light skin and a moist meat.

Bon appétit!

For more information about deep fryers and deep frying tips, visit Best Deep Fryer.

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