How to Use a Turkey Fryer and Avoid a Holiday Disaster

Thanksgiving is in a month, and it's time to start planning the menu of your Thanksgiving feast. Maybe you prefer to stick to the classics, opting for turkey, stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes, because why fix what's broken? However, for those looking to revolutionize the way you do turkey, a fried turkey is the way to go, and you'll never go back. Here's how to use a turkey fryer for a delectable fried turkey this holiday season.

Not only is a deep fried turkey crispy, tender and delicious, but it avoids the arduous hours and effort that are normally part of the process of making turkey. It's fast enough that it can be made for tailgating or a BBQ! However, turkey frying can be dangerous if you don't know how, so it's important to read up on it before whipping out your turkey fryer for Thanksgiving dinner.

Safety Measures

Frying a turkey is safest for outdoor cooking, so it's best to use an outdoor turkey fryer than an indoor turkey fryer. Use the fryer far from anything flammable like paper or wood. Use it on level ground, and place your propane tank as far from the turkey fryer as possible.

Before starting, ensure that your turkey is fully thawed and dry, as a frozen turkey can explode and a wet one might cause the oil to overflow. On this note, don't use too much oil! Always watch the fryer once the flame is on, and keep an eye on the temperature. It should cook at 350 degrees the whole time, and if it starts smoking, turn the heat down. It's always best to keep a fire extinguisher on hand as well, and don't ever use water to put out the fire.

Choosing a Turkey Fryer

When choosing a turkey fryer kit, choose one with a basket, temperature regulator, thermometer, lifting hook, and everything else you need to fry a turkey. You can find these turkey deep fryer kits on Amazon, at Walmart, or in the home and kitchen section of stores.

King Cooker Propane Outdoor Fry Boil Package

The King Kooker Fry Boil Package is one of the best turkey fryers on Amazon, coming with a 29 quart aluminum pot, a lid, basket, lifting rack, hook, hose, regulator, and deep fry thermometer. This heavy duty outdoor cooker has 33,000 BTU cast burners and can also be used as a fish fryer, to make fried fish or cajun fried crayfish for a creole feast. This propane turkey fryer is the way to go for a perfectly fried turkey.

Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer

Another great option is the Bayou Classic, which has a 32-quart fryer, basket, poultry track, lift hook, thermometer, injector, and skewer set. The heavy duty handles make it easy to transport, and the stainless steel material is made for durability and easy clean-up. Plus, you can fry seafood, poultry, veggies, and tamales to use this any time of year.

How to Use a Turkey Fryer

1. Heat Your Oil

To deep fry a turkey, you'll need a turkey fryer pot and accessories, a propane burner, propane gas, a turkey, and refined peanut oil. If you're using a rub, brine or flavoring, you'll need that as well. To start, fill your fryer with cooking oil to the line suggested on the pot. Attach your propane tank and turn the heat on. Let the oil temperature get up to about 400 degrees, since when you put the bird in, the temperature will decrease. If the hot oil begins to smoke, turn the heat down immediately.

2. Prepare Your Turkey

As your oil heats up, prepare your turkey. Ensure that it's thawed and dry, and then remove the neck and giblets of the bird. Once all the cavities are clear, tuck the neck flap in so there's not a pocket of air. After your turkey is clean, flavor it however you like. If you're injecting marinade into it with an injector, make sure to get it fully into the skin.

3. Lower the Turkey In

Lower the turkey in slowly, making sure the oil doesn't overflow. To be extra safe, turn off the burner, so that if oil does spill, there won't be a fire. Direct any cavities in the turkey away from you as you lower it in. Turn the burner back on once the turkey is safely in, and get the temperature back to 350 degrees.

4. Fry the Turkey

Leave the bird uncovered as it cooks. For every pound of turkey, fry it for 3 to 4 minutes. So, if you have a 15 pound turkey, it'll be about 45 minutes. You can also use a meat thermometer to check when it's done. Dark meat should have an internal temperature of 175 to 180 degrees F, and white meat should be at 165 to 170 degrees F.

5. Happy Thanksgiving!

Once your turkey is cooked, you can enjoy your Thanksgiving meal! It's a good idea to prep other dishes as the turkey fries, making your sweet potato casserole, pecan pie, or whatever else you're making for the holiday. Enjoy your fried Thanksgiving turkey!

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