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How to Fry a Turkey

fried turkey

Frying a turkey has become quite popular in the last years, especially when Thanksgiving and Christmas approach. Fried turkey tastes better than roast turkey, as it has moist, tender meat and dark and crispy skin. Moreover, it is not as greasy as you might think.

Not many people decide to fry a turkey on their own. Although it is fast and easy to prepare, it makes a huge mess , even outdoors. If you choose to do it, and believe me you won’t be sorry, here are some tips for you.

First, find an appropriate place to do it. Oil is very flammable, so it’s not advisable to fry a turkey inside, or anywhere near flammable things, such as wood or trees. That’s why you shouldn’t prepare it on the deck, patio or in the garage. It’s best to do it on a rock or concrete surface, but bear in mind that some stains will probably be left. In addition, just in case you need it, have a fire extinguisher close by.

Remember to wear something to protect yourself from possible burns, since there will surely be some splashes of grease. Cover your arms with long sleeves, your hands with work gloves, your legs with long-legged trousers, and your feet with closed-toed work shoes even if it’s a hot summer day.

Next, be careful to choose a turkey of the right size. It shouldn’t be too big, 12 to 14 pounds is usually the best. You can prepare it in a deep fryer or in a very large pot with a large basket; whatever receptacle you choose you must be able to fit the turkey in it and leave enough room for oil.

An easy way to determine how much oil you will need is to put the turkey in the pot and cover it with water. The water level after you remove the turkey will be the same as the level of the needed oil. It usually turns out that you need about 3,5 to 5 gallons of oil.

Before frying the turkey, it has to be completely thawed, with the neck and giblets removed from its cavity. When it’s completely clean and dry, you can use some seasonings. An injector for adding special marinades and seasoning into the turkey might be a good idea, but it is not necessary as it will taste great without that as well. Another way to spice the turkey is to rub it in garlic, pepper or lemon.

When it comes to oil, you can use any kind of oil with high smoke point, like canola, peanut or corn oils. Peanut oil is preferred as it gives the turkey a better taste. However, it is more expensive, and this is why many people turn to vegetable oil.

In any case, the oil should be heated to 400°, and then lowered to 350°. The turkey will need about 3 to 4 minutes of frying per pound of meat,  plus an additional 5 minutes. Don’t presume  it’s done when it begins to float, but rather let it fry until the skin looks crispy and wrinkled. In case you are using a meat thermometer it should register 160 degrees when put into the thickest part of the breast.

When the turkey is done, let it rest and drain for 20 minutes. Then you can carve it and enjoy your fried turkey. It will surely be delicious!

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