Frying Turkey: A Recipe

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From a story originally published in 2006 by Judy Hausman in The Journal News.

turkey_fried

Are you a turkey-frying skeptic? Once you see the results – a crisp-skinned, mahogany-brown, juicy bird – you’ll become a believer. Despite the five gallons plus of oil required, deep-fried turkey is not greasy and cooks very, very quickly: three to five minutes per pound, which means about an hour for a 15-pound bird. My brother-in-law, Jon Kadane, makes two for our family, and still has time to throw in some sweet potato fries afterward.

For the set-up, my brother-in-law suggests warning the host and then sacrificing a patch of grass.

“A little dead grass can be a happy reminder of a great party – stained masonry won’t be,” he says. Consider constructing a sand pit or concrete block platform. (There’s lots of macho potential in all this.) Don’t even consider the deck or the garage. Assume you’ll be splashed: Wear old clothes, shoes and appropriate gloves. Make sure to have plenty of propane and a fire extinguisher around too. Keep pets and children far away from the pot, the stand and the turkey.

If your turkey was frozen, be sure it is completely defrosted and dry. Remove giblets and all plastic, such as pop-up thermometers and widgets that hold the legs together. Don’t stuff the turkey. (You’ll have extra oven space to cook it separately.) You’ll need an instant-read meat thermometer to check that the thigh has reached an internal temp of 165 and another long-stemmed one to test the oil temperature. Line a large roasting pan with brown paper bags and have it nearby to receive the done bird.

You’ll also need an outdoor propane burner (available at hardware stores), a 10-gallon pot and at least five gallons of oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil. This technique works best with an unstuffed turkey no larger than 15 pounds. Consider brining, marinating or “injecting” marinade for 4 hours to 24 hours before the fry.

Who (would be crazy enough to try this)? Macho outdoor cooking types and people who like equipment (read man toys).

Why it’s good: Not only does deep-frying free up room in your oven for other goodies, it also gets the pesky menfolk out of the kitchen.

Tips: To sum it up: be safe. We’re talking a 10-gallon pot of boiling oil (350 degrees) in sometimes cold, windy weather.

Deep-Fried Turkey

Deep-Fried Turkey

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 gallons oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil
  • 1 whole turkey (12 to 15 pounds), fully defrosted, patted dry and at room temperature
  • Special equipment: Outdoor cooking propane burner, 10-gallon pot, propane, metal meat thermometer, long-handled thermometer, roasting pan lined with brown bags

Instructions

  1. Begin heating the oil in a 10-gallon pot over very hot propane flame (outdoors) to 390 degrees. The temperature will drop when you put in the turkey. It will take about 20 minutes for the oil to heat. Carefully and slowly lower the turkey into the oil; "Like getting into a hot bathtub; a little at a time," says my bother-in-law. Some cooking rigs will have a basket for this purpose or lower it holding it by its legs or by a long heavy tool such as a clean fireplace poker inserted into its cavity. Be careful!
  2. Immediately check the oil temperature with the long-handled thermometer and adjust the flame to bring the temperature up to 350, where it should stay. As the turkey cooks, occasionally move it around in the oil so that it does not scorch. This is a good time for male kibitzing and consultation.
  3. Whole turkeys take only 3 to 5 minutes per pound to fry. Test the meat for doneness by pulling the bird out of the oil with the help of a kibitzer and inserting a meat thermometer at the hip joint; it should register 165 degrees. Carefully remove the turkey from the oil and hold it over the pot for a moment to allow any excess oil to drain. Then lay the bird on the bag-lined roasting pan and bring inside for the ooohs and aaahs.
  4. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  5. Yield: 20 servings.
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2014/11/06/frying-turkey-a-recipe/

Deep-Fried Turkey

4 to 5 gallons oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil

1 whole turkey (12 to 15 pounds), fully defrosted, patted dry and at room temperature

Special equipment: Outdoor cooking propane burner, 10-gallon pot, propane, metal meat thermometer, long-handled thermometer, roasting pan lined with brown bags

Begin heating the oil in a 10-gallon pot over very hot propane flame (outdoors) to 390 degrees. The temperature will drop when you put in the turkey. It will take about 20 minutes for the oil to heat. Carefully and slowly lower the turkey into the oil; “Like getting into a hot bathtub; a little at a time,” says my bother-in-law. Some cooking rigs will have a basket for this purpose or lower it holding it by its legs or by a long heavy tool such as a clean fireplace poker inserted into its cavity. Be careful!

Immediately check the oil temperature with the long-handled thermometer and adjust the flame to bring the temperature up to 350, where it should stay. As the turkey cooks, occasionally move it around in the oil so that it does not scorch. This is a good time for male kibitzing and consultation.

Whole turkeys take only 3 to 5 minutes per pound to fry. Test the meat for doneness by pulling the bird out of the oil with the help of a kibitzer and inserting a meat thermometer at the hip joint; it should register 165 degrees. Carefully remove the turkey from the oil and hold it over the pot for a moment to allow any excess oil to drain. Then lay the bird on the bag-lined roasting pan and bring inside for the ooohs and aaahs.

Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Yield: 20 servings.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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