Fry a Delicious and Moist Thanksgiving Turkey the Safe Way

Every year as the fall leaves begin to crisp and pumpkins pop up on front porches across town, I yet again begin to ponder the idea of frying this year’s Thanksgiving turkey. Though I have enjoyed a few summertime fried turkeys, I still struggle giving up the all-day aroma of a perfectly roasted turkey day bird. Despite my love for the delicious scent, the speedy process of frying the turkey is all too enticing and just may be the chosen method this year. In light of that, I’ve compiled a few rules and tips to follow when frying this year.

Safety Rules Not to be Broken:

1. Do not deep fry your turkey indoors.

2. Do not deep fry on your second floor, or higher, balcony.

3. Do not fry on a wooden deck.

4. Remove all flammable objects within reach of your fryer.

5. Make sure all children, friends, family, and pets are ten or more feet from the fryer.

6. Do not overfill your fryer with oil. A general rule is no more than half-full.

Turkey Fryer with Fried Turkey

Preparing Your Thanksgiving Turkey:

You’ll want to pick out a turkey between 10 and 15 pounds. Avoid anything larger than this because the heavier birds are more difficult to handle, can cook unevenly, and they often cook significantly faster on the outside than the inside, which can lead to a burnt skin.

Once you have purchased your turkey, it will be necessary to thaw it completely. Check out our turkey thawing guide for more details. After your bird is fully thawed, remove any innards, pop-up thermometers, or plastic pieces.

At this point, if you choose to inject your bird with brine this is the time to do it. Or, if you would like to engage in the full brining process, check out our Thanksgiving turkey brining blog. This step is not necessary it just comes down to personal preference. p>

Preparing the Frying Pot and Equipment:

As mentioned before, the equipment for frying must be located outdoors. To guarantee the proper amount of oil for frying your turkey, you will need to test with water. Fill the fry pot with water and lower the turkey in. If the water covers the turkey with several inches above the water line for splashing, you have properly filled the pot. Once you are satisfied with the level, remove the turkey, drain the water, and dry the pot thoroughly.

Cooking Your Turkey:

When you’re sure you’ve gotten all the water out of the pot, fill it with oil to the previously measured level and bring the oil up to 350 degrees. When the oil has reached proper temperature, slide the turkey onto the turkey rack with the legs pointing into the air, connect the lifting hook, and slowly lower the turkey into the oil. Once in the oil, monitor the temperature of the oil to make sure it does not exceed 350 degrees.

Your turkey will need to cook for 3-4 minutes per pound. Once your turkey has reached the end of its cook time, remove it from the oil and insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Be sure the probe doesn’t touch the bone, which will get much hotter than the surrounding meat. The temperature should reach 180 degrees. After the turkey has cooked, allow it to sit for 20 minutes before carving.

Repeat the process from the start if you are preparing additional turkeys, use the oil to fry up a few sides, or simply sit back and enjoy if you are done.

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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  1. November 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm, 5 Food Safety Tips for Surviving the Holidays - KaTom Blog said:

    […] b. Turkey Fryer – Known to burn down decks and porches and the center of many YouTube sensations, if used properly there is no need to fear your turkey fryer. On the other hand, we were very concerned about this piece of equipment after viewing this BuzzFeed piece and decided to write this guide to Frying Your Thanksgiving Turkey Safely. […]

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