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Deep Fried Turkey


WineMiles
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I've been deep frying turkeys every thanksgiving and on other special occassions for almost 15 years now. This last Thanksgiving was the first time I brined the turkey as well. Since I didn't have an unbrined bird to directly compare to, I wasn't sure it was worth the effort.

Has anyone else tried this and what were your findings?

BTW I always inject the birds with a spicy, garlic, butter sauce.

Edited by WineMiles (log)

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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I've been deep frying turkeys every thanksgiving and on other special occassions for almost 15 years now. This last Thanksgiving was the first time I brined the turkey as well. Since I didn't have an unbrined bird to directly compare to, I wasn't sure it was worth the effort.

Has anyone else tried this and what were your findings?

BTW I always inject the birds with a spicy, garlic, butter sauce.

i have not brined when i deep fry. i just inject and could not imagine it being better.

btw, have you ever dep fried a prime rib??

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the reason one brines meat is to help it retain moisture. When one deep fries something (or even sears it, for that matter) the effect is virtually the same. You seal in the juices when you plunge that turkey into the hot oil, so I do not see a need for brining...especially if you plan on injecting it with flavorings...

But...to each his/her own.

"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

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I have deep fried lots of turkies, but have never brined one. I suppose that I always thought that the excess liquid would be that much more explosive in the oil-but I suppose if you dried it well enough after brining that would not be the case.

How not to fry a turkey.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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my brined turkeys have never given me a problem as far as that explosive thing goes.

i haven't done 2 at once, so i can't compare (and i think there are too many variables at work to really get a good comparison even if you *do* cook two side-by-side), but i've had very good results with brined deep-fried turkeys. my theory is: brining can't hurt. it's that simple.

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Since the brine soaks into the meat, it really isn't anymore explosive than a fresh bird. But a frozen turkey... that shits scary when dropped into the oil. Whenever I fire up the fryer I tell the neighbors and I do birds for them too. But I always tell them, fresh only and if they bring me a thawed out frozen bird, their banned for life.

Edited by WineMiles (log)

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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  • 5 months later...

Sorry if I've missed it, but I've re-read most of the turkey threads, and I haven't found any opinions as to whether "better" birds like heritage or organic turkeys are noticeably superior to supermarket brands for the purpose of deep frying. I'm guessing that when deep frying, it would be harder to tell the difference in the origin of the bird. We'll be frying two birds this year, and the cost difference could be substantial. Has anyone done a side by side comparison?

Thanks!

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I wouldn't exactly call it side by side but last year I did a nice fresh turkey follwed by a frozen and thawed one a few days later and the fresh was better.

The frozen mind you was perfectly fine, it is the method that is superior but the better the bird the better the eats.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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One time when we were frying turkeys at Thanksgiving, someone brought a "fresh organic" bird. (We used to invite friends to bring their turkeys since we already had the pot going.) I don't know anything else about the origin of the bird. We were curious so we did a taste test. As I remember, we decided that it was maybe different but not something we would have gone to any extra expense for.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Heritage birds tend to have less breast meat. I cooked one last year in the convection oven after brining for 24 hours. It was wonderful, but I'd be careful of the thinner breast.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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  • 4 weeks later...
Even if you thaw it properly in the fridge for several days and carefully dry it off?

Brined or not brined, previously frozen or "fresh", the key to safely frying a turkey without explosive consequences is to have the bird fully thawed and dried before the dunking.

When we fry turkeys, we are usually doing a dozen or so. Neighbors and friends bring that "free" bird over. We carefully check to see that it is fully thawed, no little ice bombs inside the cavity, and away we go. We may or may not inject. I do like a nice garlicky butter boost. When we are on a real marathon, we actually pre-warm the birds in a slow oven for about half an hour to reduce the oil temperature drop. I think that makes for a crisper skin as well. It also helps insure that the thing is dry.

Back to the original question... While I am a big fan of brining, we don't bother with it anymore for frying. We did do a comparison one year, having brined one, and really didn't see enough difference to bother. Also, keep in mind that a lot of those turkeys are the "grocery store" variety and are probably already pumped up anyway. If smoking... I definitely brine. Fried... NAH.

edit to add: Keep in mind that the USDA standard for "fresh" is something like 28F (I am not sure that number is right but it is below freezing) and you can still have ice. Look, feel, check, and check again.

Edited by fifi (log)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I do about 20 turkeys on thanksgiving and I inject them and then I brine them. I do find that they are juicy as heck. I also do it as a bit of insurance because when you are doing 20 turkeys it gives you a little more leeway with timing and many of my customers are reheating the birds later in the day so the little extra juice helps with that. On the flip side I have about 40 buckets, giant sinks, and a walk-in cooler to store the birds in so the brining is simpler and easier than for a home cook. I have done smoked-fried turkeys to mixed effects, from delicious and juicy to the dried out bird I wound up bringing to the e gullet pig roast. I think I am going to do half an our in the smoker this year to dry the skin like Fifi does, that sounds like a good idea and the light smoking will also help to impart more flavor to the bird. I also find that NOT trussing at all is much better for the bird as it allows oil to access the joints so that actually by the end I seem to be waiting for the breast to finish.

The best part of the Guiniea Pig? The Cheeks! Definately the cheeks!!

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I think I am going to do half an our in the smoker this year to dry the skin like Fifi does, that sounds like a good idea and the light smoking will also help to impart more flavor to the bird.  I also find that NOT trussing at all is much better for the bird as it allows oil to access the joints so that actually by the end I seem to be waiting for the breast to finish.

Doing that preheating in a smoker is truly inspired. We aren't frying turkeys this year but I will remember this for the next. I agree with you about the non-trussing. We mount the turkey on the "rack" fully splayed so that all parts get cooked evenly.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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