How To Make The Most Delicious Deep-Fried Turkey Recipe

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Thanksgiving turkey, while traditional, receives mixed reviews. If you love turkey, it’s probably because you know how to roast it perfectly or make exceptional gravy. 

But if you’re still not a fan and you’re wondering how you can improve this dish this holiday season, you may want to try deep-frying it. Who knows? It could be the best turkey you’ve ever tried, and you may start a long-standing family tradition.

We all know that deep-fried food tastes great, but you might not know that this dish isn’t as heavy as other deep-fried meals. Because it’s not breaded or battered, a deep-fried turkey is just meat with very crispy skin and a juicy, moist interior. It’s an alternative to roasting that is sure to have everyone around your table asking you how you managed to produce such incredible flavor. 

Make sure you plan ahead, though, because the turkey needs to brine in the fridge for at least one full day before cooking.

How to deep fry a turkey

Preparation time: 5+ minutes (turkey needs to brine in the refrigerator for a day and a half beforehand)

Cooking time: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Servings: 10+

Ingredients

Preparation instructions 

  1. Mix the brown sugar, mustard, salt, and cayenne in a large stockpot.
  1. Slowly whisk in the water, and add the garlic and fresh thyme.
  1. Place the whole turkey in the water, cover it, and leave it in the refrigerator for 36 hours. (This process is called brining and causes the meat to stay soft and moist inside while crisping up on the outside during frying.) 
  1. Add the oil to a turkey fryer and heat to 400°F. This will take about an hour.
  1. Take the turkey out of the brining liquid and dry the entire surface, inside and out, with paper towels. Make sure the turkey is dry and at room temperature.
  1. Place the turkey in the frying basket with the breast side up.
  1. Carefully place the turkey (in the basket) in the hot oil and fry. See the FAQs section below for helpful information on how long to fry a turkey. 
  1. Lift the basket out of the fryer and drain the turkey on a rack (set over a bowl or plate to catch excess oil). You can check for doneness by using a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature is at least 165°F.

Nutritional values per 100g of turkey

Calories: 170 

Fat: 4 grams

Carbs: 0 grams

Protein: 29 grams

The nutritional information is an estimate.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine.

petrrgoskov – stock.adobe.com

Side dishes for fried turkey

  • Rich and creamy mashed potatoes 
  • Green bean casserole 
  • Fresh salad
  • Greens 
  • Stuffing 
  • Cranberry sauce 
  • Creamed corn 
  • Mac and cheese 
  • Scalloped potatoes

4 key safety tips for deep-frying turkey 

  1. Don’t fry close to your home: Fry the turkey outside, at least 10 feet away from your home. Never leave the deep fryer unattended, and be sure to have a fire extinguisher handy in case of an emergency. 
  1. Place the fryer on a flat surface: Be sure that the fryer is always level to prevent accidents and uneven cooking. 
  1. Thaw and dry the turkey: Water and oil don’t mix, and if the turkey isn’t completely thawed and dried, it can release unwanted water into the oil, making the liquid bubble over, potentially starting a fire. Never put water on an oil or grease fire. Always use a fire extinguisher. 
  1. Remember that the fryer is hot: You can burn yourself on the sides of the fryer and the top of the pot, so always use oven mitts. Make sure to also have a thermometer on hand if your turkey fryer doesn’t have a thermostat so that you can carefully check the temperature. Never put your face close to the fryer. 

How to store leftover fried turkey

Store in an airtight container for three to four days. If you’re looking for ways to consume cooked turkey, don’t forget Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches and pulled turkey soup. 

FomaA – stock.adobe.com

FAQs

What is a turkey fryer? 

A traditional turkey fryer has a few parts: a propane burner, a large pot with a lid, a frying basket, a lifter, and, in some cases, a thermostat. There are also electric fryers or oil-less ones on the market. 

How long do you deep fry a turkey?

You need to fry the turkey for three minutes per pound. This means that if you have a 10-pound turkey, you will need to fry it for around 30 minutes. Check the manual for your turkey fryer for more information.  

How much oil do you need to fry a turkey?

You will need about 2 ½ to three gallons of oil to make a turkey in a fryer. The turkey needs to be submerged in oil. You may need to adjust the amount of oil, depending on the size of the turkey and what you’re cooking it in. 

Do you need to inject the turkey before frying it? 

For this recipe, you don’t need to inject the turkey. You prepare the meat by bringing it for 36 hours in the refrigerator. However, if you would like to learn how to inject a turkey for deep frying, check out tutorials like this one. It will also teach you how to rub a turkey with spices. Experiment with different rub styles, like cajun, especially if you want a little kick.

If you’re whisking together the perfect turkey rub but forgot a spice, order it via Gopuff in seconds and have it at your door in a matter of minutes. Today is a great day to start a new family tradition. 

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