Most of us have holiday memories of waiting for the turkey to cook, impatiently pacing the kitchen for hours while our stomachs rumbled hungrily. If a shorter preparation time appeals to you, deep fried turkeys are a beautiful alternative to oven roasted birds and take much less time to prepare.
Select a safe place for your fryer Knowing how to deep-fry a turkey first involves taking the proper safety precautions. Select a safe place to fry the turkey, in an open area outside and on a cement or brick surface. Position the liquid propane gas tank and fryer in such a way that the heat of the fryer blows away from the gas tank and keep a minimum clearance of ten feet from the sides, front and back of the fire. Never use your fryer in an enclosed area, near a wall or on a wooden deck, otherwise your turkey might not be the only thing that gets cooked.
Prepare the turkey for cooking Preparing the turkey is the next step. Remove and discard any thermometer buttons, leg holders and giblet packs found in the bird. Do not try to deep-fry a frozen or partially frozen turkey; it must be completely thawed prior to proceeding. The USDA recommends thawing in a refrigerator for 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds.
Insert the turkey lifter The next step is to insert the stainless steel lifter that comes with your deep fryer into the bird, moving it up through the cavity so that the legs are at the top. Completely pat dry the inside and outside surfaces of the turkey, an important step in reducing the spattering of oil. After patting the bird dry, add herb rubs or seasonings to the skin.
Fill the pot Your turkey fryer comes with a pot that has a maximum fill line marked on the utensil. Fill the pot with oil (usually peanut is used but can be substituted with canola or vegetable) and make sure your hose is connected properly into the fryer and into the propane tank. Make sure not to place it directly next to the fryer where heat could cause damage and note that the hose should be checked for leaks by running soapy water through it. Center the pot over the burner on the cooker and light the unit, heating the oil to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to check the temperature with a deep fry temperature gauge and do not leave the fryer unattended at any time. If you note that the temperature has reached 400 degrees Fahrenheit or begins to smoke, immediately turn the burner off.
Stay safe while using a deep fryer Wearing protective clothing is an important part of knowing how to deep fry a turkey. Wear long, insulated, flame-retardant gloves to protect your hands and arms. Use the handle to slowly lower the turkey into the oil, pausing several times before reaching the bottom of the pot. Adjust the burner to maintain 325 degrees Fahrenheit and monitor the fryer during the entire process. It cannot be stressed how important it is to supervise the fryer at all times.
It's time to cook the bird! Cook the turkey until a golden brown color is achieved. Normally this takes three and a half minutes per pound. When it's finished, remove the bird from the oil and place it on paper towels in an aluminum pan. Using a meat thermometer, check for an internal meat temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the turkey from the lifter and let the turkey sit for fifteen minutes to allow the juices to settle. Carve as usual.