How to fry a turkey

A Southern Thanksgiving tradition

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Do something a bit different this Thanksgiving and deep-fry your bird. Frying a turkey makes the meat tender and moist and gives it a crisp, delicious skin. You can also inject it with flavors to give your Thanksgiving dinner a little kick.

Fried turkey is one of the most succulent and delicious Southern Thanksgiving traditions around. It can be intimidating, though. While you should take safety seriously, deep-frying a turkey is actually really easy.

Deep-fried turkey recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 15 pound (or less) turkey, washed inside and out and thawed
  • Water
  • Oil with a high smoke point (peanut, corn or canola)
  • Marinade (your favorite)
  • Turkey injector
  • Fire extinguisher and burn kit (not optional)
  • Turkey fryer
  • Meat thermometer
  • Candy thermometer
  • Paper towels

Directions:

  1. Place the thawed turkey inside the turkey cold fryer. Add the water to the fryer until the water level covers the turkey by at least 3 inches. The pot should not be more than 3/4 full. Remove the turkey and measure the amount of water left in the pot. That's how much oil you'll need. (You can skip this step if your fryer has a level marking.)
  2. Fill the cold pot with oil in the same amount you measured the water (without the turkey in it) in step 1.
  3. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F according to your candy thermometer.
  4. This part is optional, but highly recommended: Inject the turkey with marinade in as many areas as possible. Make sure to get the legs and wings. Use a paper towel to wipe away any of the marinade that made its way outside the skin.
  5. Carefully lower the turkey into the oil, fully submerging it.
  6. Fry it for 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes or until the meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F.

Safety tips

  • Having too much oil can cause a fire if it bubbles over. Make sure you don't overfill the pot.
  • Keep that fire extinguisher and burn kit handy! If you're careful, you probably won't need them, but it's better safe than sorry, right?
  • Make sure your fryer isn't on grass or anywhere else there could be a fire hazard. Don't put it on concrete unless you're OK with staining.
  • Wear long rubber gloves when inserting and removing the turkey to avoid oil burns from splash-back.

More Thanksgiving recipes

Southern-style vegetarian stuffing recipe
Pumpkin toffee cheesecake
Gourmet green bean casserole

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix the Fish. You can follow her on Twitter @HireHeather.

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