How To Fry Turkey

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Deep Fried Turkey

How To Fry a Turkey

When learning how to fry turkey, you'll find it requires a bit of preparation and a watchful eye every minute that the oil is hot. Once the turkey is lowered into the hot oil, it will be just a short time before the fried turkey is ready to eat.

When the frying oil is in the 325-350 degree range, it takes 3 to 4 minutes of frying time per pound of turkey. A 12 pound turkey will take from 36 to 48 minutes cook, which is a whole lot quicker than oven roasting. Cooked in the oven, and turkey takes 15 to 20 minutes per pound. But it does make the house smell good!

Safety is the #1 concern and responsibility when deep frying turkeys. Fire, together with gallons of hot oil makes for a dangerous combination if not treated with respect.

How To Fry Turkey - Step by Step

The following steps will safely transform your turkey from raw to beautifully fried.

  • Determine the amount of oil needed - Remove the wrapper from the turkey. Remove giblets, neck, gravy pack, etc. Trim off excess skin and fat. Place the turkey onto its stand, and into the clean, dry frypot and fill it with just enough cold water to cover the turkey. Remove the turkey and mark the water level. Most pots are already marked, and you can use those as a reference. If not, make a short line on the outside of the pot with a pencil or marker to indicate the fill mark. Or you can use a measuring tape to measure the depth of the water, and refill with oil to that depth. Dump the water. Because water boils explosively in hot oil, dry the pot thoroughly. If there's a spigot, open it up and make sure there's no water hiding there.

  • Locate the burner stand - Place the burner away from the house or anything flammable, on a solid, stable surface. A concrete or stone patio is ideal. If you set it up on the lawn, you'll kill the grass under the burner. Never set up on a wooden deck, or on a sheet of plywood. Attach the propane connector to the tank, then to the burner. Turn on the propane and check for leaks at each connection, using a 50-50 mixture of liquid dish soap and water. If there's a leak, you'll see bubble forming. Tighten as needed to fix any leaks. If tightening doesn't work, the connector is probably damaged and will have to be replaced before you can use the fryer. Position the propane tank away from the fryer stand.

How To Fry Turkey

  • Prepare the turkey - Dry the trimmed turkey inside and out with a few clean towels. Be thorough drying the body cavity. The drier the turkey is, the less chance of a boilover when lowering the turkey into the pot of oil. Injecting marinade is the ideal seasoning method when deep frying. If you use a dry rub, use one that has very little or no sugar, because it will burn and blacken. Place the turkey legs-up on the stand that's provided with the fryer.
  • Heating Up Fryer Oil

    How To Fry Turkey, Turkey Fryer Pot

  • Add oil to the pot - Make sure the pot is dry, then add oil to the fill mark you determined earlier. Peanut oil is one of the better frying oils. Because of its high smoke point, it doesn't break down as quickly as other oils, meaning it can be reused more times.

  • Heat the oil up to its initial temperature - Place the pot of oil on the burner. Before lighting, make sure the stand is stable and level. Light the burner and begin heating the oil. Bring the oil temperature up to 350º F, then adjust the regulator valve to lower the flame.

How To Fry Turkey

  • Lower the turkey into the pot - Put on a pair of good insulated gloves that are long enough to cover your forearms. Carefully lower the turkey into the oil an inch or two, then pull it back out. Lower it a little further, then raise it back up. Continue this pattern, lowering the turkey deeper into the oil each time. By doing this, the moisture on the turkey is boiled off gradually, and there's little chance of the oil boiling over. If the turkey were lowered quickly into the oil, all the moisture left on the turkey would quickly boil, and possibly run over the edge of the pot into the fire. Just take it slow and easy.

  • Maintain the correct oil temperature - The oil temperature will quickly drop 25 degrees or more when the turkey is submerged. Adjust the flame to maintain a temperature of 325 degrees at first. After several minutes, as the moisture vaporizes off of the turkey, the oil temperature will begin to rise. Keep it at or just below 350º until the turkey is done.

How To Fry Turkey

  • Monitor internal temperature of the turkey - Use a remote digital thermometer or a long stemmed dial thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the breast.
  • Turkey Resting in Cooler

    How To Fry Turkeys, Turkey Resting in Cooler

  • Remove the turkey from the oil - Average time for deep frying a turkey is 3 to 4 minutes per pound, but that's only a guideline. Internal temperature will tell you exactly when the turkey is ready to remove. The breast is at its best when it reaches a final temperature of 165º F.
    When the breast reaches 155º F, turn off the burner and put on the gloves. Slowly lift the turkey out of the oil. Place the lid on the pot, then set the turkey on the lid to drain and rest. A rest of twenty to thirty minutes will be enough time for the juices to reabsorb into the meat. And as it rests, residual heat will continue cooking the turkey, bringing it up to right around 165 degrees.

  • Serve and enjoy - Remove the stand from the turkey, then carve and serve. And remember, the oil remains hot for hours after the burner is shut off, so continue to keep the kids and pets away from the fryer until the oil has cooled.

How to Fry Turkey - Fry More Than One

To get the most out of the fryer oil, it's a good idea to plan on frying one or two more, while the oil is still hot. If you plan to fry multiple turkeys, fry the largest one first, since the oil level will drop a bit after each fried turkey. The meat can be carved from the extra turkeys and frozen for another day. Kept at 0º F or below, the cooked turkey will keep up to three months.

When you learn how to fry turkey the traditional way, you'll be rewarded with great tasting turkey that's tender and moist.

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