Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Deep-fried turkey?


Human Bean
 Share

Recommended Posts

After posting a request about turducken in the Adventures forum, I thought I'd ask here about deep-fried turkey. Thanksgiving will be here in the US much more quickly than I'd like, and that's a time for eating turkey.

Deep-frying a turkey is another thing (apart from turducken) that I've wondered about. People that do it say that it's wonderful, but of course, they'd say that. :smile:

I have most of the equipment to deep-fry a turkey. I'm willing to try, but I have a firm rule, "Never serve a dish to guests that you haven't already tried." Obvious rule, right?

I've never deep-fried a turkey, and I'm willing to give it a preliminary try, but only if it seems to be worth it before inflicting it on relatives and/or friends. Opinions??

[My personal method of cooking Thanksgiving turkey is in the Weber kettle (charcoal); it's never dissapointed, so I have some reluctance to change. Discussion of that (or other Thanksgiving turkey cooking methods) probably deserves it's own thread]. Turkey-cooking is a major source of food-porn in the US this time of year; all the glossy mags are compelled to have something about it; that may be yet another thread.

edit: minor clarification and emphasis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tonight on the local TV news there was a lavishly illustrated report about the dangers of deep-frying turkey. It had many scenes of fire department personnel using fishing poles to lower turkeys into overly full deep fryers, and the whole thing would go up in flames. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it; I'm just saying it looked cool.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I still truly believe that it is us Brits who should be giving thanks for getting rid of you lot, I was fortunate enough to spend last Thanksgiving with a friend up in Rhode Island.

For the main part of the meal they injected a turkey the size of a small planet with Sprite and then deep fried it. Although the description of what they were about to do horrified me beyond belief, the end result was incredible, moist and with a great flavour. It was by far the best turkey I have ever eaten.

As for the rest of the stuff you serve with it, well that's just disgusting. :raz:

S

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I can give you any advice about deep-frying your turkey this year, it would be to implore you to test the depth of your oil before it's over a flame. Novice deep-fryers often overfill the pot with oil, and there's nothing worse than a quart or two of molten oil spilling out near an open flame.

Take your turkey, and put it in the empty pot, then fill it up with water until the water level covers the bird by an inch or so, but is still a couple inches from the top of pot. Then, take the turkey out, and note where the water level reaches on the inside of the pot. Dump out all the water, and fill the pot with oil up to that level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dave's advice on pre-measuring the amount of oil needed is well taken. If you'd like a photo series of the process, Jim's Cajun Deep-Fried Turkey Page has it. The other caution points are lowering the bird into the hot oil and retrieving it. Both are opportunities for disaster. However, many enthusiasts do it each year, with no complications. Injecting also helps maintain moistness and adds flavor. In addition, keeping children well away is extremely important. In fact, keeping everyone not actively involved at a safe distance is a good idea.

--------------

Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest issue for me is the lack of turkey juices when deep-frying. If we're frying, additional wings, necks, etc. must be roasted anyway for juices for gravy, and squirting on dressing. The fried turkey itself is moist and juicy with delicious, crispy skin. I don't know if it's actually better, just different.

Stop Family Violence

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey All,

I always deep fry a turkey on TG and it has always turned out TERRIFIC!!

If you follow proper instuctions as well as safety tips. You will find that the meat of the bird is moist (not oily) and the skin slightly chrisp. The biggest problem I have seen in deep frying is over cooking. Always be sure to have a thermometer in the pot. Also keep in mind that oil isn't the same as water, it does expand when heated so be careful and don't over fill the pot. Also wash and DRY OFF your bird inside and out before putting in the hot oil. If you go to certain stores that carry deep fryers, you may find a turkey stand for deep frying. This will aid in placing your bird in the oil as well as getting the finished product out. One other thing if you are thinking of using a type of injection seasoning, well they aren't all that. I have tried them and wasn't impressed.

john

p.s over cooking causes lack of moisture, if your bird is dried out, well you over cooked it!!!!

JTL

Is a Member of PETA..."People Eating Tasty Animals"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HB, you ought to try it. It's a technique well worth checking out, and if you don't like it, you can always go back to the tried and true.

Grill-roasting is also my method of choice--the depth of flavor exceeds both oven and frying. I go for just a little lightly-flavored smoke. Otherwise it's easy to end up with something that tastes more like ham, especially the dark meat, and more especially if you use a brine including sugar.

Before John's post, I was going to say that the reason many people remark on the juiciness of the bird is because almost all recipes include an injection step. Seeing that John gets good results without injecting leads me to conclude that injecting creates a fallback position in the very likely event of overcooking. Deep frying is very efficient compared to an oven, and people don't believe how quickly the turkey is cooked, so they overdo it.

To the other good technical/safety tips on this thread, I would add: don't forget the fire extinguisher, and don't make the mistake my brother-in-law made of thinking that a Polder-style probe is suitable for 350 degree oil. It's not.

Fishing poles? :blink:

Sprite? :blink::blink:

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I throw a Thanksgiving party every year and I smok up a turkey and duck and my buddy Shamus deep-fries a couple of turkeys and couple of other birds, last year it was a capon and a couple of ducks. Deep frying takes hardly any time at all and you get a very juicy bird with perfect skin in hardly any time at all. You have to be very careful with the oil because it can cause a lot of damage. The most important thing is to have a narrow and tall oil pot to reduce splatters. The second most important thing is when you put the bird in, DO IT SLOWLY. Dip it in a little, pull back, put in deeper, pull it back a little, etc. A slow ingress is a safe ingress. Oh yeah, make sure to use leather gloves and wear long sleeve shirts, protective eye wear and a silly clown outfit.

By the way, injection is not needed if you first brine the bird. And this goes with any bird, regardless of how you cook it. Also, I should mention a caveat about my buddy's deep-fried birds. Though they were delicious and perfect, nobody ate them. Everyone went for the smoked turkey. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to be the voice of dissention here...

We deep fried a turkey a few years ago and although it was good, it was no better than the brined turkeys that get roasted at high heat (near the end to crisp the skin... also helps if you slather it with some goose fat under and over the skin!).

I have never had a more nerve wracking experience... maybe if we had a smaller turkey it wouldn't have been so stressful, but if you are like most American families and your turkey is around 10 or more pounds...

You don't realize until you do it just how much oil is involved or how heavy that turkey is when you have to handle it in an awkward manner and once that oil gets hot you wonder just what you will do if it accidentally tips over, or splashes onto the open flame, and believe me I was about to have a heart attack putting the turkey in that oil and taking it out.

This was all compounded by the fact that my three year old niece kept coming into the kitchen and skipping around... giving me more heart attacks.

It was a nightmare. I believe in going to great lengths to get great dishes but never again will I do this. It wasn't worth it. I'm convinced its just a gimmick. You can get better results with other methods.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh yeah, we never deep-fried a turkey that was bigger than 10 or 11 pounds, the smaller the better. Plus, we did it outdoors on a propane range primarily used for homebrewing. I would never suggest doing it indoors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trying to do it indoors is just asking for disaster! NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!

And while it doesn't take near as long as my gramma's recipe for roasted turkey (which involved getting up at 4 in the morning of Thanksgiving Day), deep frying isn't as quick as you might be led to believe. It's true that the cooking time is pretty fast (like 90 minutes or something), you have to remember that it takes a good long time for that coupla gallons of oil to get up to heat... (and here in Virginny, that means the cook (me) gets to sit out in the cold, cold while everyone else is inside eating chips and dips and watching football or playing video games.) :angry: !!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alton Brown weighs in. Scroll down a bit.

So, if you don’t want to listen to me…fine. But before you pour 3-5 gallons of perfectly flammable hydrocarbons into that big, wobbly, top heavy pot on Thanksgiving morn, you might want to think about what other products around your home can be connected with the words “engulfed” and “flames”.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's also a good idea to put the whole cooking apparatus on a sheet of plywood (3/4 inch CDX works great). The hot oil will kill anything green it hits, and it'll stain everything else. Of course, if you've already got a nice grease spot going from a leaky rear seal, it just gives it another dimension.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The National Turkey Federation has step by step instructions:

Deep Fried Turkey

Speaking of turkey, I'd recommend trying to find a wild turkey: >> link here << (of course, you'll have to shoot your own!) or a domestically raised "heritage turkey" (Bourbon Red, Naragannsett, etc.) try Cabbage Hill Farms, they actually "taste like turkey". Especially compared to the overbred, big breasted fowl that the majority of us dine on each holiday season. No brining, no injecting necessary...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We deep fried turkeys last year. I thought it was pretty cool--but my (somewhat) macho fiancé did the hard work.

We did a test bird about a week ahead. This was great because it provided us with bones to make stock for gravy, and lots of meat for the freezer. (We usually go to a big pot-luck style dinner with lots of great friends. It is wonderful, but leftovers are usually left with our hosts.)

The kit we used was from Home Depot and cost about 60 bucks. Having the kit was good because all the stuff we needed was included. We did it outside on concrete. This is really important--you have to have a good place to do it where kids, dogs, and drunken revelers can be kept at a safe distance.

We did 2 turkeys for Thanksgiving, one right after the other. They were on the small side and cooked really fast--maybe 40 minutes. They were kind of ugly looking, but the meat was fabulous--very juicy. We brined the turkeys, though, which also makes for juicy meat.

It was really fun. I would do it again for a laid back group. Not really the best for an elegant dinner, but a fun adventure.

I will check out your Turducken thread, too. We did one a few years ago and it was really a trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...