Frying a turkey may be more trouble than sticking the bird in the oven, but the juicy inside and crispy outside makes it all worthwhile.
: Use caution and follow all instructions: Deep frying a turkey can cause a fire or an explosion if not done properly.
Step 1: Thaw the turkey Thaw the turkey completely. Inserting a still frozen turkey into a vat of hot oil could spark a fire.
Step 2: Gauge how much oil you need Gauge how much oil you'll need by putting your turkey in the fryer and covering it with water until it's submerged with at least three inches left on top. Mark that spot or measure the water you discard. If you can't cover the turkey, you need a smaller bird or a bigger fryer. Never exceed the fryer's fill line.
TIP: Foodies agree that peanut oil is the best oil for frying a turkey, but you can also try canola or safflower oil.
Step 3: Save the giblets On cooking day, remove the giblets and any plastic pieces. Rinse the turkey well under cold running water and then drain the cavity. Pat it dry with paper towels, and let it air-dry until it reaches room temperature.
TIP: Fried turkeys cannot be stuffed.
Step 4: Set up the fryer Set up the fryer outdoors – away from buildings and anything that could catch fire – on a nonwooden, level surface. Set up the propane tank needed to run it at least two feet away. Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Step 5: Rub with spices Rub the outside of the turkey and the cavity with a dry rub – a combination of your favorite herbs and spices. Run your fingers between the skin and the breast and apply rub there as well.
TIP: Don't inject the turkey with marinade; it could cause popping when lowered into the hot oil.
Step 6: Truss the turkey Thread the neck flap to the bottom of the turkey, and twist the wing tips under. Using aluminum wire, truss the legs to the tail securely. Put the turkey on your fry stand or in your basket, whichever came with your fryer. Put on a long-sleeved shirt before you start cooking.
Step 7: Fire it up Put the oil in the fryer, insert the oil thermometer, and fire it up. When the temperature hits 350 degrees Fahrenheit, put on protective gloves or heavy oven mitts and use the lifting fork to lower the turkey into the hot oil very, very slowly and carefully.
Step 8: Keep an eye on it Cook the turkey for three minutes per pound, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the temperature at 350 degrees. Keep children and pets away, and don't leave the cooker unattended.
TIP: If you're frying in a basket, turn the turkey every 10 minutes with a long-handled fork to prevent sticking.
Step 9: Check the temperature When the time is up, put your gloves or mitts back on, slowly remove the turkey, and stick a meat thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. (Don't touch the bone.) If it reads at least 170 degrees, you're good to go. If not, gently submerge it in the oil and check again in a few minutes.
Step 10: Enjoy! When your bird is done, turn off your cooker, drain the bird, and it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
FACT: Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as America's official bird, and was disappointed when the bald eagle was chosen.