Who wants to have their turkey deep-fried? Apparently, this method of cooking is picking up a growing interest as an alternative to roasting. Some people may start getting bored with the roasted or baked option; why not take the more exciting route by deep-frying it?
There are some important notes when it comes to deep frying turkey. The first obvious concern is the size; smaller turkeys are better to fry, but if you need something bigger, do not go over fifteen pounds as, 1) they might not fit the fryer or the pan, 2) they take longer to cook thoroughly, and 3) longer cooking time for the bird means more opportunities to ruin the skin. In addition, size does contribute to the safety aspects in frying the turkey; it is important that you cook the size you can handle in terms of turning it and transferring the turkey and the pot of scorching hot oil. Because of the amount of fire and oil needed in order to cook the whole turkey, it is critical to implement safety precautions such as having a fire extinguisher ready and piles of pot holders and towels for handling. Another note on safety is to avoid stuffing the turkey if you are going to fry it; not only will the stuffing tend to come out, but frying temperatures are different. This may cause the stuffing to grow inside the bird, and the last thing you want in deep-frying in gallons of oil is swelling meat.
Deep-frying turkey also requires the similar preparations for roasting. The thawing rules apply, and so do the measures in computing total frying time. Flavoring, however, may depend on the cook’s preference. Some prefer to flavor the turkey by basting it throughout the frying process whereas the others prefer to just marinade the turkey with a dry rub and let these flavors seep in as it cooks. The reason some would rather avoid basting is that injecting the marinade under the skin may tend to pool the liquid thus causing the turkey to blister.
Putting together a lovely dry rub depends on one’s tastes. A basic dry rub of salt, pepper and garlic powder may already work, whereas some may prefer certain dried herbs and seasonings. In any case, whether you are injecting or rubbing the flavor, be generous with the amount. Frying tends to dry up the meat, and these marinades can actually help preserve the moisture and lock in the turkey’s flavor.
Of course, deep-frying requires certain equipment, and there are actually turkey fryers that are available in stores. Again, use the one that you can handle, and equipment selection also lies on whether you want to cook inside or outside. A thermometer is important to determine whether the turkey is cooked or not; you can refer to the following temperature guidelines to check your turkey: 165°F to 170°F in the breast and 175°F to 180°F in the thigh. As for the cooking oil, it is up to you which one you want to use, but many prefer peanut oil for its high smoke point and flavor; other types that can achieve similar results are safflower and canola oil.
Deep frying the turkey may not be as popular as doing it the classic way; however, this process also maintains the delicious integrity and quality of the bird. A successful deep-fried turkey does not only lie on the taste and the texture of the meat, but also the safety and smart techniques you use in executing this uncommon dish.