Deep-fried turkey has become increasingly popular in recent years
– and for good reason. Fried turkey meat is tender, flavorful and juicy, and the skin crispy. Maybe even more attractive to those of you actually doing the cooking, though, is the minimal amount of time and effort that it takes to fry your bird compared to conventional cooking tactics.
As a rule of thumb, allow 3 minutes cooking time per pound. For a 15 pound bird, that’s a mere 45 minutes. Compare that to the hours you normally spend tending to oven-roasted birds, and you’ll begin to understand why this method has become so popular. And since the cooking takes place outside, you won’t dirty up your kitchen, leaving more time for the family and less time cleaning.
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How to Fry Your Turkey
Determine the Amount of Oil Needed – Put the thawed turkey in your empty fryer. Add water to the fryer one a gallon at a time, and note how much it takes to just reach the top of the bird. Make a note of this amount.
Prepare Your Bird – For optimal flavor and texture, soak your thawed turkey in brine for several hours. Remember to remove the little plastic thermometer if your turkey has one. Then, inject the bird with marinade and rub spices on outside for even more flavor. Experiment with different seasonings to find your family’s favorite. There are many great marinades and rubs available at Bass Pro Shops stores or at Basspro.com.
Set up Your Fryer – Following the instructions provided by the manufacturer, set up your turkey fryer and place it outdoors (unless you have a fryer specifically designed for indoor use) on a level concrete surface away from trees and other overhead objects. Never fry your turkey in an enclosed area, including your garage. Keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher on hand just in case and never leave the fryer unattended.
Preparing Your Fryer – Fill the fryer with the amount of oil (peanut, corn, safflower, cottonseed, or even canola oil works well) that was determined earlier. Do not overfill! Light the burner, and then heat oil to between 350 and 365 degrees. Measure using a deep-fat frying thermometer and be very careful not to exceed this temperature.
Submerge Your Turkey – Turn the flame off. If you do spill some oil, there will be no flame to catch fire. Wearing a pair of heavy gloves, SLOWLY lower the thawed turkey into the hot oil. Relight the flame and cook the bird for 3 to 4 minutes per pound. For example, a 10 pound bird should cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove Your Bird – Turn off the flame. Carefully lift the bird out of the fryer and set it somewhere clean and flat. Check the internal temperature with a thermometer. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 160 in the breast and 180 in the thigh.
Serving Your Turkey – Let the oil thoroughly drain from the bird and let it rest about 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!