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Deep Fried Turkey Recipe

Deep Fried Turkey Recipe: Tips and Techniques

An increasingly popular method for cooking a whole turkey uses this deep fried turkey recipe.

The turkey selected for a deep fried turkey recipe should be a small one - 12 pounds or less. Because of the speed of cooking (three to five minutes per pound), more than one turkey can easily be prepared for large gatherings, by frying one right after another.

Never stuff a turkey that will be deep fried.

Frying kits are sold specifically for preparing turkeys this way. Most kits come with a "turkey lifter." Traditionally, these frying kits used propane as a fuel source, but electric turkey fryers are now available. Although we have made deep fried turkeys for years using the propane system, we are now convinced that the electric deep fryer is the way to go. To find out why CLICK HERE.

You will also need an accurate, long probed, hot oil thermometer and a frying oil that tolerates high temperatures. Peanut oil works very well and adds a subtle flavor that acts as a flavoring ingredient in the deep fried turkey recipe because it complements the turkey.

As much as five (5) gallons of oil may be needed in a deep fried turkey recipe, so buying the oil at a restaurant supplier or global (Asian) food wholesaler may save on cost.

Be Careful:

Deep frying a turkey is fun and with the right deep fried turkey recipe the final result is uniquely delicious. But, the process can be DANGEROUS. After all you have gallons of hot oil and an open flame. With propane units you must do this outdoors, so don't even try a deep fried turkey recipe if you expect rain.

It really is important to read and follow all of the directions that come with your turkey frying equipment.

Find a safe place to set up the fryer;set it up outside, away from buildings, on a flat stable surface, fenced off from kids, pets and impaired, non-safety conscious adults. Don't set it up near or on anything flammable including flammable decks. Don't set up on concrete because oil spills will be slippery and will stain concrete.

Keep an all purpose fire extinguisher handy. Never use water on an oil fire. Hot oil and water can cause steam and splatters.

Plan Ahead:

Think about the pre-frying and post-frying logistics. This deep fried turkey recipe requires an extra day to brine and marinade. So plan ahead.

Do you have the right hand protection such as high heat barbecue gloves? How will the turkey be place into and lifted out of the oil safely? Will you need another lifting device? Is there a table nearby to hold utensils and the turkey before and after it is fried? How will you set up a raised rack and dripping pan for the turkey to drain and cool before it's carved? Where will you carve the turkey? What will you use for a carving board? Do you have a cooking timer and a reliable hot oil thermometer and an instant read thermometer on hand?

To be sure your pot is big enough for the size of your turkey, first perform this test. Put your thoroughly thawed turkey in your turkey frying pot and cover it with cold water. Make sure the water covers the turkey by one (1) or two (2) inches AND be sure that there is still room in the pot to contain the liquid and prevent splashes or spill-over.

Remove the turkey from the cold water, dry the turkey thoroughly, and measure the water that it took to cover the bird. Remember this measurement! That will be the amount of oil you will need to fill the frying pot.


Most deep fried turkey recipes call for brining and marinade injecting before frying. The turkey must be thoroughly thawed before brining. Important: Remove the giblet packet and the plastic pop up thermometer before brining.)

To prepare a turkey for deep frying, take a wet or dry brined bird using your favorite brine recipe and inject it under the skin with your favorite marinade. (If the turkey has been wet brined, dry it thoroughly before injecting the marinade.)

It is not necessary to brine a turkey before deep frying, and it is not necessary to inject a turkey before deep frying. Some recipes call for flavoring to be added after the turkey is fried.

An easy Recipe for Deep Frying:

The day before you plan to deep fry the turkey, inject the thoroughly thawed turkey with the following liquid Cajun marinade.

4 oz liquid celery
4 oz liquid onion
4 oz liquid garlic
1 Tablespoon white pepper
2 Tablespoons of salt
2 Tablespoons Tabasco hot pepper sauce

Mix these ingredients and inject the marinade into the bird. With this deep fried turkey recipe, using mostly liquid ingredients will prevent the injection needle from clogging.

Next, brine the bird with a dry brine consisting of 1 cup salt, 1 Tablespoon cayenne and 1 Tablespoon black pepper. Mix these ingredients and rub onto the turkey inside and out. Place the marinated, dry brined bird in a food grade plastic bag and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day ...

Remove the turkey from the brining bag and wipe off the dry brine crystals with a clean dish towel. Also, wipe out the inside of the bird. The turkey is ready for frying.

Outdoors - set your turkey frying pot on the fryer and fill it with the previously determined amount of peanut oil. Use a good brand of peanut oil obtained from a food wholesaler. Pre-heat the peanut oil to 350 degrees F. (177 degrees Celsius) (Watch the thermometer and try to keep the oil as close to 350 degrees F. (177 degrees Celsius) as possible. Never leave the oil, pot and fryer unattended.

Get Ready and Fry:

If you have not been the one preparing the turkey in advance for frying, make a last check to be sure the giblet packet and the plastic pop up thermometer have been removed from the turkey. Also, be sure there is NO ice or water left in the bird.

If there is excess skin at the neck cavity cut this back so that the oil can flow through the cavity unobstructed. And, make sure you have properly set up pre-frying and post-frying logistics (see above.)

Slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the pre-heated oil (350 degrees F - 177 degrees celsius) using the lifter or basket that came with your frying kit. Protect your hands and body from any splattering oil.

The cooking time will range between three (3) to five (5) minutes per pound.

Never leave the frying turkey unattended, and watch the temperature of the oil on the thermometer. Never let the oil temperature rise over 400 degrees F (204 degrees Celsius) and try not to let the oil temperature drop below 340 degrees F. (171 degrees Celsius).

After frying for three (3) minutes per pound (per half kg) (the lower range of cooking time), remove the turkey from the oil using the basket or lifter. Check the temperature of the innermost part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast with an instant read thermometer. If the temperature is 160 degrees F (71 degrees Celsius) the turkey is done and can be removed to rest. The temperature of the bird will continue to rise to 165 degrees F (74 degrees Celsius) as it is resting.

If the turkey has not reached 160 degrees F (71 degrees Celsius), carefully return it to the hot oil for more frying. Continue carefully remove the turkey and test the temperature until the desired temperature is reached.

Place the finished turkey on a raised rack to drain and rest for at least fifteen (15) minutes before carving.

Click here for how to carve the turkey.

Allow the oil to cool. Strain the oil through a wire mesh, refrigerate, and use within a month.


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