Deep frying a turkey is a fun experience and most importantly it results in an over the top outrageously juicy and flavorful Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey. Deep fried turkey is incredible! We just need to use our heads and be safe.
I learned five major things for how to deep fry a turkey:
- Do not heat the oil over 400 degrees.
- Fully thaw and dry off the turkey before frying.
- SLOWLY lower the turkey into the oil.
- Fry the turkey for 3 minutes per pound and check the internal temperature after about 20 min.
- When testing temperature and removing the turkey TURN OFF THE FLAME.
I went with simple premade creole seasoning rub all over the outside of the bird and injected it with my butter and salt injection mix that I’m so fond of.
For your turkey fryer set up pick a solid level surface such as a driveway. Set up the tank as far as the gas line will allow.
You should also have a fire extinguisher that can handle oil fires close by, just in case. One of the things that I don’t like about frying a turkey is the cost of propane. I’m terrified of running out of gas while frying a turkey. My choices are to have a back up tank or to make sure the tank is full. I bought this little gadget which helps me see how I’m doing in terms of gas quantity during the fry.
(The above gas gauge photo was taken after I fried my second 14 pound turkey, keeping the heat of the oil at about 300 degrees over about 1-1.5 hours of cooking. I believe that in this situation you can fry 3 turkeys on a standard winter day (about 40 degrees out with no wind). I, however, wouldn’t risk more than 2!).
Anyway, back to this turkey. When the oil hit 350 degrees I slowly lowered the turkey into the oil. Since we are manipulating flammable oil and a big old source of flame, now is the time to turn off the gas. Let the flame go out and then lower your bird.
Slow and steady. Lower it an inch and then bring it up a half inch. Then lower it a few more inches and then slowly back up and inch. This process of easing the turkey into the oil significantly reduces your chances of having an oil splash over. Once it is submerged, light the propane flame again.
It should look something like this as its cooking. I put the lid partially on to help with driveway splatter. Don’t cover it up completely though, there needs to be some steam release.
I leave it cracked like this. As you will note, that 350 degree oil temperature that I initially had, in my hands, is never reproducible. I’m fine with this. I have had great turkeys cooked at an average oil temperature of 275-300, even with my propane flame roaring. This is much safer than risking an oil temperature of greater than 400 degrees, where it can catch on fire.
After about 20 minutes turn the gas off and test the internal temperature of the bird. The photo below is a test at around 30-35 minutes. I got really lucky. My superfast Thermapen Mk4 showed that I was at the perfect internal temperature of 165 (ish).
Oh yeah look at that! Nothing smells nicer on Thanksgiving than a fried turkey outside. Well a smoked turkey smells pretty good too, but you get where I’m going.
Now I’ve made a lot of turkeys in my time but this is obviously the best I’ve ever had. This is the only turkey that I’ve ever seen where my guests begged for not only the skin but also the dark meat. I fried two turkeys this time and they both were completely picked over. Not an ounce of turkey meat was leftover! I guess that means it’s a winner! I will certainly do this again. Deep fried turkey is simply amazing and rather easy and safe, if you follow my frying turkey tips outlined above.
Oh look at that Deep Fried Turkey skin!