Most people do not realize the terrible mess it makes, and the dangerous consequences that ensue by working in an enclosed space. I know the old pros like to take it outdoors and have a friendly game of horse shoes or washers while enjoying a cold one talking about the football games that are to be played later that day.
How to Deep Fry a Turkey:
You will need a completely thawed turkey, a couple gallons of oil, and a very large cooking pot. You can use canola, vegetable oil, but it is better if you use peanut oil. You will also need to truss the turkey, meaning you need to secure the legs, neck flap, wings and tail to the body of the turkey. Make sure that there is not any type of thermometer or device that will pop out on the turkey. It would melt into the oil, not a good thing.
To determine the perfect amount of oil you are going to be using, place the turkey in the pot and add water until the turkey is completely covered plus an inch or two left from the top. If you do not have any room for extra water you will need to get a larger pot. You will then remove the turkey and measure the amount of water left, and this is the amount of oil you will need to fry your turkey.
You will now dry and season your turkey, and make sure that your frying pot is completely dry. You can add any seasonings you like; I prefer to inject my seasonings directly into the bird. You can also add you cooking pot to your stove top and heat to make sure all water is gone before adding to your outdoor fryer heating source. Once completely dry you will add the oil to the pot and bring it to a temperature of about 375 to 400 degrees. Make sure that you are able to get a good read on the temperature. It may fluctuate a few degrees depending on the weather while cooking outside but it should not be that big a deal. You just want to make sure that you are cooking in a covered but ventilated are. If it is raining or snowing it will make your Turkey frying experience for a really bad day.
This is where it gets tricky. The turkey needs to be room temperature and dry. Turn off the burner when you put the turkey in. You are going to lower the turkey into the pot of very hot oil 400 degree oil. The oil is going to splatter some and you will need some very good cooking gloves. They sell different styles of racks to lower your bird into the oil at Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Home Depot. Just remember to very, very slowly lower your turkey into the hot oil. A good method here is dunking your turkey, and I do not mean cannon ball either. When you lower your turkey into the hot oil it will boil up. This is why I suggest turning off the burner or heat source when you do it. You may have to do this multiple times and then one time might do the trick. Just make sure that the oil does not overflow the cooking pot.
Once the bird is safely resting in the oil, turn the burner back on to get to a temperature of 350 degrees. At this point you can go take a breather. But don't wander too far because that turkey will be done soon. A deep fried turkey cooks at a rate of about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes per pound. A ten pound turkey should take 30-35 minutes. If you have a bio thermometer you will need to test the turkey for doneness. The internal temperature needs to read 160 to 165 degrees. Make sure you are testing between the thigh area, and not hitting a bone to get a correct read.
Remove the turkey from the oil when it's done. Do this slowly and after you have turned off the burner. Let the turkey drain a little bit and you're set to go. Let it rest for about 15 to20 minutes and then carve and enjoy this crisp and delicious bird.
Chef Shelley Pogue, a Cum Laude, Le Cordon Blue graduate and Executive Research and Development Chef, for Vertical Sales and Marketing, San Ramon, CA. Chef Pogue's website is http://www.chefshelleypogue.com
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Chef Shelley Pogue is a Le Cordon Bleu graduate from The Texas Culinary Academy located in Austin, Texas. Chef Pogue graduated with honors of cum laude with a GPA of 3.71. Shelley went to work for The Hills Fitness Center in Westlake Hills after graduation and stayed the for one year as the Executive Chef. She then left The Hills and went to work for a company Vertical Sales and Marketing, San Ramon, CA. CHef Pogue is currently developing sauces and meal concepts for large retail markets in the US. Chef Pogue lives in Austin, TX, and is also a personal chef and caterer, and also working on developing a recipe and cook book.