If you’re like me, just thinking about being responsible for the main event on Thanksgiving – in other words, the TURKEY – is enough to keep you up at night. I haven’t hosted very many years at my own home, but this year we are having 11 people up north to our cabin, which means I haven’t been sleeping!
Since we have a smaller crowd, it is a perfect year to use the deep fryer. We have done this before, for other Thanksgivings (as a secondary turkey, mind you) or other occasions, like a New Year’s Day meal. But this time, the ONLY option is our deep fried turkey, and the pressure is all on us, so we’ve made sure to plan ahead for our deep frying adventure.
If you’ve decided to take the plunge this year and fry your Thanksgiving turkey, the following are essentials:
- Choose the correct size turkey. The ideal size bird for frying is 8-10 lbs, but you can cook one that is up to 12-14 lbs. in most fryers.
- Cooking time is directly proportional to turkey size. As a general rule, plan to have your bird in the fryer for 3-4 minutes per pound. The internal temperature should be 165-170 degrees (breast) when the turkey is fully cooked.
- The best place to use your deep fryer is on a concrete or brick surface, away from the house. Never use your fryer inside your garage or on your deck!
- The turkey must be completely defrosted, drained and thoroughly dried (use paper towels to pat it) before frying. Excess water of any kind is dangerous in a fryer – and to you.
- Don’t overfill your fryer with oil. Most have a fill line, but if yours does not, place the bird in your empty fryer before cooking and add water to about 3-5 inches from the top. Then take out the bird and make a mark on the side where the water level stands now. This will prevent scorching hot oil spilling over when you’re trying to place your turkey in to cook.
- Heat your oil to 350 degrees before cooking.
Deep frying a turkey is one of the most simple ways to achieve what has long been a laborious and time consuming event for most – basting, temperature checking and oven door-opening will disappear from your holiday kitchen. (And so will the men to the outdoors, leaving you to work in peace!)
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