Finally, we can now start talking turkey! During the last 11 months, I was told by TLW to keep off the subject of turkey until close to Thanksgiving. I think it is great year round, but I had to concede that one. Now I will dedicate a lot of this month to different cooking methods for turkey. The one that seems to be the most popular is deep fried turkey…at least here in the South.
I went to Bass Pro Shops a few days ago and, boy, are they ever well-stocked on turkey frying equipment! They have all of the injections, marinades, rubs, and equipment to do the job…they even carry oil! Speaking of oil, my favorite for frying turkeys (or fish) is always peanut oil.
***A word of caution***Frying turkeys at 375* can become a dangerous situation and one always needs to be extremely cautious. Lots of times there are news articles around Thanksgiving of home chefs not only frying the turkey, but also themselves and their homes. NEVER fry a turkey on a wood deck or inside your garage. Always set up your equipment outside on concrete…away from anything flammable. Always wear protective clothing. TG loves his red zinfandel, but this is clearly a time to put all alcohol aside until you are finished.
Almost all turkey frying kits include a long stemmed thermometer that clips onto the side of the pot.
Heat the oil to 375*. (First remember that when you put a 12 pound turkey in the oil, it will take up a lot of real estate. Put in enough oil to cover the bird, but not so much that it will overflow once the bird is immersed in the oil.) In your kit you will have a hanger and a rod that you insert through the bird. This allows you to safely, and slowly, lower the turkey into the oil since there will be a lot of bubbling up of the oil when the cold bird hits it.
Have your instant read meat thermometer handy. You will need to insert the probe between the breast and where the leg connects which is the thickest part of the turkey. I know from experience that someone reading this will say, “How long do I cook it?” You cook it until your thermometer reads 170*. This usually takes between 25 and 30 minutes, but remember temperature always prevails over time.
If you are in a production mode, gather some friends who want to fry turkeys too. The oil is good for about 15 cycles…so you could make this a neighborhood event. Again, TG cautions: Save your alcohol for when you finish…and toast a great fried turkey!
In the most current issue of Chile Pepper magazine, they mention a website, EatTurkey, that is totally dedicated to turkey. This website goes into great length about frying turkeys and gives recipes for making your own spice to flavor them. It has sections dedicated to the home chef, as well as the pros. Any kind of turkey recipe is there, also.
After looking at all of the different varieties of seasonings at Bass Pro Shops, the real fun of turkey frying is somewhat of a combination of coming up with your own spices vs. the marinades and spices available on the commercial market.
If you like turkey year round, the ideal Xmas gift to get or give is a vacuum seal machine – always available at either Costco or Sam’s Club. Vacuum seal your turkey, label it with a date and put it in the freezer for future use..