Nope, not gonna tell you how to fry a turkey. I've never done it myself and so I am hardly qualified to offer the best tips and techniques on the actual frying--but I have a lot of opinions on the preparation since that's always my job when we fry a turkey.
I didn't take a good photo of it tonight, obviously. Hubby and his nephew were doing the cooking and had only taken it out of the oil for a bit to check the bird with a meat thermometer when I shot this photo. By the time it was done and I could have taken a nice photo of it, I was too hungry to care.
Some opinions on preparing to fry a turkey from a fried turkey fan.
#1. Frying makes a store bought turkey edible. I detest store bought turkey. The breast meat is bland, tasteless, and usually has terrible texture. I won't eat the average grocery store turkey unless it's been fried. Frying makes the bird moist and delectable on the inside and crispity crunchity on the outside. Fried turkey is NOT GREASY. The oil drains off the bird like water off a duck's back. There's no breading to hold the oil in or on it. This is not greasy, oily meat.
#2. To prepare the bird (the men cook it, we girls prepare it) I use a defrosted turkey that hasn't been injected or brined or adulterated in any other way that I can help. I put on plastic gloves and rub it down with oil so that when I add the seasoning it sticks. The gloves save me a lot of messiness, yes, but mostly I wear them so I don't burn my skin with the seasoning. I use sea salt and cayenne pepper--LOTS of cayenne pepper--inside and out. The heat from the cayenne burns off but leaves nice color and flavor. You don't have to be afraid of the cayenne when you eating fried turkey.
#3. Fry two birds. Why not? You've bought the oil, gone to the trouble of setting up the fryer, and by the time you've fried the first you've figured out what not to do and so the second will be easier to fry. Besides, cooked turkey freezes GREAT! Freezing it in small packages to use in casseroles, omelets, soups, or salads will save you a lot of cooking time later on and why shouldn't we get to enjoy turkey in April instead of November?
#4. Hubby and his nephew prefer to inject their turkey with various injectable marinades. I don't care for this. For one, if the bird isn't allowed to rest long enough after injection you end up with too much marinade in one bite and none at all in the next. For another, I don't want to eat honey-garlic flavored turkey, I want to eat turkey flavored turkey. Wes is kind to me in that he always fries two turkeys. One sans injection for me and one that's adulterated for everyone else. Inevitably, however, my turkey is usually the one that gets cooked first and that means it's usually the one that everybody eats for the main meal. The second, injected, turkey ends up getting split into Ziplock bags for people to take home after the family dinner. So far no one has ever complained about lack of flavor in the first turkey and, in fact, the first turkey is always demolished.
#5. The oil is expensive (we used four gallons of cottonseed oil to fry our two turkeys tonight--about $30 worth) but you can cut down on the amount of oil you use by frying smaller turkeys. The bigger the bird, the more oil you will need. Use peanut or cottonseed oil. You can reuse this oil if you are willing to filter it, which I am.
#6. If you are going to fry a turkey, be extra careful. Follow every precaution, read all the instructions, and don't underestimate how dangerous it can be. Be careful where you set your fryer. We made the mistake of frying a turkey on someone's back porch a few years ago and they were very upset by the splattered grease on their concrete slab. I could care less about splatters of grease on my concrete porch--but not everyone is so laid back. Making this stuff is messy. It's going to splatter. Clean up is going to be a pain. But it's so worth it.
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