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Give Thanksgiving a New Twist … Deep-Fry Your Turkey

November 1, 2011 Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta 0 Comments

Give Thanksgiving a New Twist … Deep-Fry Your Turkey

When most of us think about a delicious Thanksgiving turkey dinner, we think about our hot, juicy, and crispy turkey coming out of an oven. More and more people, however, have different thoughts. They think of their bird hanging upside down as it is pulled out of a large fryer out on the back patio.

You may think that deep-fried turkey sounds a little odd, but it isn’t. It may not be the finest in culinary cooking, but it’s delicious. And it’s not greasy either. Basically, you shouldn’t knock it until you try it. What started out as a little known method for cooking turkeys in the South is one of the hottest food trends sweeping the nation. Some restaurants have even gotten in on the act. They may not be teaching how to fry turkeys at Atlanta culinary schools, but maybe it’s time to rethink the curriculum.

While you can find recipes everywhere for how to fry a turkey, we’ve put together some additional information that will be helpful as you fry your first turkey.

What You’ll Need

Most discount department stores, hardware, and sporting goods stores sell complete turkey frying kits. They should be enough to get you started on your first bird. If you’d rather put together your own rig, then you’ll also need these items:

  • A turkey, 12 lbs. or smaller
  • 40 to 60 quart pot
  • A basket or turkey frying hardware (again check those discount, hardware and sporting goods stores)
  • At least a 35 lb propane tank
  • Large outdoor propane burner on a stand
  • Two thermometers: deep-fry and meat
  • Approx. 5 gallons of oil, preferably peanut or canola

Turkey Frying Safety

You may have seen an episode or two of America’s Funniest Home Videos where there is a careless mishap that leads to some flames, a big mess, and some laughter. Don’t let it fool you. Deep-frying a turkey can be dangerous and you must follow safety precautions and have a few safety items on hand.

Here’s a good start:

  • Safety glasses
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Rubber apron
  • Fire extinguisher

Also please follow these safety precautions:

  • Always cook outside at a safe distance from cars or buildings
  • Always cook on a flat surface
  • Always make sure your turkey is completely defrosted
  • Never overfill your fryer with oil. Leave room for expansion when the turkey is submerged
  • Never stuff a turkey you are going to fry
  • Never let children or pets near your fryer
  • Never leave your fryer unattended

Flavor Tips

Culinary cooking techniques dictate that the more flavor you put into your food, the more you’ll get out. And while your turkey will be naturally tender and juicy after frying, you can increase its flavor profile by using brines and spice rubs. Brines are saltwater solutions flavored with seasonings and spice. Submerge your turkey in a brine for at least 24 hours prior to cooking and it will soak up all the flavors of your brine. Spice rubs are spice mixtures that are rubbed directly onto and under the skin of your turkey. When cooked, the rub will turn into a delicious crust. If you purchase a turkey frying kit, it will probably have recipes for brines and rubs. If not, the Internet and your local bookstore will have plenty to choose from.

You can also use injection marinades that are injected into the flesh of the turkey prior to cooking.  You can find wherever you bought your frying kit, at a local gourmet food shop, or on the Internet. You’ll also need to buy the injection tools to use them.

If you still think that deep-frying a turkey weird or sacrilegious or both, we urge you to give it a try before you refuse to try it. If a friend invites you over for a turkey fry, take them up on it. You’ll find a treat like you had never expected. And the best part is you don’t have to attend one of Atlanta’s culinary schools to learn how to do it yourself.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Atlanta, Georgia area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Atlanta for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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