Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Holidays, How To, Meats

By: Amanda Jade

Deep fried turkeys have become all the rage in recent years for a delightful Thanksgiving bird, and for good reason! The skin is left crispy and full of flavor and the meat is moist and delicious without tasting greasy or oily. Unfortunately, deep frying a turkey safely can present a challenge to the new cook. With a bit of preparation and planning and a few key tools, these safety concerns can be left by the wayside on your journey toward a wonderfully tasty turkey.

Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey

Here are a few key things to remember about deep frying a turkey:

A turkey fryer.

A turkey fryer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Always keep gloves and a fire extinguisher nearby. Not needing them is great, but not having them can lead to disaster.
  • If you purchase a kit to deep fry your turkey in, always read and follow the directions. Most will be designed for a specific weight range of turkey and may have special instructions.
  • The optimal weight for a turkey to be deep fried is between 10 and 20 pounds. At 10 pounds, it should take 3 minutes per pound and at 20, it should take 3.5 minutes per pound to cook through.
  • Always ensure that your turkey is completely thawed. If there is any doubt, do not fry the turkey. Hot oil tends to explode violently when exposed to cold water or ice, which can cause severe burns and even burn your house down. A 20 pound turkey takes about 4 full days to thaw in the refrigerator.
  • Set up your turkey frying station outside on the pavement, never on a deck or in a garage. You want to be free of overhangs and on a level surface.
  • Never leave your frying station unattended once the oil has begun heating. Make sure to keep small children and pets away from the frying station. The turkey could take up to an hour or more to cook and at least 3 hours for the oil to cool.
  • Use an oil with a high smoking point, 450 degrees F if possible. The best options are canola or peanut oil.
  • Always lower the turkey into the oil carefully and slowly. This is best achieved with a small pulley attached to a board, supported by a ladder. Use gloves. Hot oil will burn skin instantly if it splashes. Using a pulley also means that you can allow the turkey to drain when finished without straining your arms or dripping scalding oil.
  • Once fried and drained, allow the turkey to sit for 10 to 20 minutes before carving. This oil can be strained and used up to three times.
  • To avoid staining caused by oil splatters, place a flattened, broken down piece of cardboard under the fryer. You can also use a large plastic drop cloth with sand or kitty litter to soak up the oil.
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