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10 Tips to a Better (and Safer) Deep Fried Turkey


Deep fried turkey is great, as long as you exercise caution when cooking one up.  Here's 10 tips to a perfect fried bird.

1)  Safety first.  Place the fryer well away from the house and anything flammable like a wooden deck in case the hot oil spills. 

2)  Test the oil levels.  Adding 15-20 pounds of anything to liquid will make the level rise so your best bet is to test it in advance by putting the turkey in the pot then filling with water until the bird is fully immersed.  Remove the turkey, noting the level of the water on the side of the pot with a permanent pen. Dump the water, dry the pot well (water and oil don't go well together).

3)  Don't go overboard with the seasonings.  Think how moist and flavorful chicken fried in peanut oil is without the addition of injections, rubs, etc.  But if you must, inject the meatiest portions of the turkey using an injecting needle with a flavorful liquid such as white wine and turkey seasonings.  Try to keep the injection light in color so the meat doesn't come out with dark streaks.  As for rub, apply it the night before so the flavor can really absorb into the meat, otherwise most of it's coming off like dirt in a bath.

4)  Oil it up.  Once you're ready to get frying, fill the pot with oil (preferably peanut) to the line you made previously.  Heat to approximately 325 degrees.  When prepping the turkey, make sure it is fully defrosted and patted dry. Again, water and oil don't go well together and ice crystals will cause some nasty little red spots all over your body.

5)  Dress the part.  Before you get started, make sure you are wearing shoes, not sandles, long pants, a long sleeved shirt and whatever else to protect from small bits of flying grease or overflow. 

6)  Be prepared.  Keep mitts, a lid for the pot and a fire extinguisher on hand in case you have to remove the pot quickly from the open flame. Note, water will only make the situation worse if you have a grease fire.  Suffocating it by putting the lid on the pot is your best bet.


7)  Get cooking.  Once the oil is fully heated, place the turkey onto the rack provided, attach the hooked rod and SLOWLY lower it into the oil.  You may want to wear a welders glove to help with the heat, but the key is not to drop it in and cause a splash back.  From there, let the fryer do its job. 

8)  Bring the turkey to temperature.  When deep frying turkeys, a good rule of thumb is 3 minutes per pound (i.e. 45 minutes for a 15 pound bird).  To be extra certain, check the internal temperature with a remote thermometer.  Once it reaches 170 degrees, you're good to go.

9)  Rest it.  While friends and family will be anxious to dive right in, allow the cooked bird to rest 10-20 minutes before carving so the juices can redistribute. 

10)  Enjoy!

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