How to Deep Fat Fry a Turkey

by Guest | September 11, 2008 7:26 am

deep fried turkey[1]

Cooking outdoors does not have to be restricted to barbecues. If you are feeling brave why not try out an America tradition and deep fry a turkey. This is a post from America – I have not tried it myself.

Once popular mostly in the Southern states, deep fried turkey has become popular all over the United States.  Not just a unique and mouthwatering way to feed a crowd around the holidays, deep fried turkey is delicious any time of year.  Here are some tips you can use to deep fat fry a turkey that’s guaranteed to be moist, delicious, and memorable.

Choosing the Right Turkey

While you might be tempted to go for the biggest turkey available, stop right there!  This tactic works well when selecting a turkey to bake in the oven, but small turkeys between eight and ten pounds are best for deep fat frying.  If your options are limited, select a bird that weighs in at no more than twelve to fourteen pounds; any bigger, and you are asking for trouble.  If you have a big turkey on hand, cut it up into smaller sections before frying it, and do them one at a time.

In case you’re wondering why small turkeys are best for deep fat frying, there are several reasons:

Type and Amount of Oil

Your deep fat turkey fryer will come with a complete set of instructions that detail how much oil to put in the pot; if you’re missing instructions, look for the “fill line” that normally indicates how much oil to place in the pot.

If there is no fill line, place your thawed turkey into the fryer basket, which you should then place in the empty pot.  Add water to the pot until the top of the turkey is covered with water.  Keep in mind that the minimum oil level for deep fat frying a turkey is between 3 to 5 inches from the fryer’s top and add more water if you need to.  Once you’re satisfied with the depth, remove the turkey from the pot and allow the excess water inside the turkey’s cavity to drain into the pot.  Make note of the water level; snap a quick photo if you think you might have a hard time remembering.  Drain the pot and dry it thoroughly, ensuring no moisture remains inside.  Don’t forget to close the valve before you add the oil!

Traditionally, peanut oil is used for deep fat frying turkeys; any vegetable oil suitable for deep fat frying foods will do in a pinch, though.

Preparing the Turkey

Unwrap and thaw the turkey completely, removing the neck and giblets from the body cavities.  Make note of the turkey’s weight, since this information is used to determine cooking time.  If injecting a marinade, ensure you inject it deep into the meat; injecting marinade into the space between the skin and meat can cause a dangerous explosion, potentially resulting in an unplanned trip to the emergency department.

Next, remove any excess fat from the turkey’s neck area so that the hot oil can flow throughout its cavity.  Remove the leg trusses from the drumsticks, and if the turkey is equipped with a popup timer, remove that as well.  Cut the wing tips off up to the first joint, and cut off the tail – these non-meaty parts will just burn.  In case you’re wondering, you cannot stuff a turkey you intend to fry!  Prepare stuffing in a separate dish; bake it in the oven and serve it on the side.

Once you’ve prepared the turkey, set it aside in a roasting pan for about 45 minutes.  The marinade you’ve injected will have a chance to circulate throughout the meat, and the turkey’s internal temperature will rise slightly, thus resulting in less splattering during the process of frying the bird.

Frying the Turkey

Set your deep fat fryer up on a level area with a dirt or grass surface.  Do not deep fry a turkey on a wooden deck, as it could catch fire; also, if you’ve got a concrete surface, avoid frying the turkey there, as grease spillage will cause staining.

Preheat the oil to 375 degrees, then turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil.  Do not skip this step as a fire could result! Once the turkey is safely into the pot, relight the burner.  For whole turkeys, allow the turkey to cook for 3 to 4 minutes per pound, and for larger turkeys cut into sections, allow 4 to 5 minutes per pound.  As the bird is cooking, watch the oil temperature closely.  It should never dip below 350 degrees, and it should never rise above 375 degrees.  The closer you can stay to 350 degrees, the better your turkey will turn out.

Once time’s up, remove the turkey carefully.  Allow it to drain over paper towels for about 15 minutes, then carve it and serve it.  By following these instructions, you’ll prepare a deep fat fried turkey that is certain to be enjoyed by all.

This is a guest post from OutdoorCookingDepot.com. Visit for more information on turkey fryers, outdoor woks and other cooking accessories.

Photo by Jesster79.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://www.burgermeister.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/deep-fried-turkey.png

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