Deep-fried Turkey

Having sort of a lazy day around here. We got so busy yesterday that we forgot to stop by the meat locker to pick up ground beef. Not sure it would matter anyway, no one seems to have the energy to start up the grill and cook out.  Fortunately for our lazy behinds I still have the carcass from our Thanksgiving Turkey and I was able to hack it up and stuff it in a pot and now I have a pleasing pot of turkey noodle soup started. Smells so good!

The kids are pretty happy about this too. Seems their Thanksgiving in EPCOT was not as good as mom’s. (Yes, I’m still bustin’ buttons over that one). I guess the mouse cooks up a rather dry bird. Both kids said that the thing they missed the most that day was not family, no, it was the turkey!

We love the deep frying method because it is so fast (just 3 min. cooking time/lb), simple and so tasty. Skin is light and crispy and the meat is juicy. Many people think that it will be greasy but it is not. So, I thought that in case any of you desire a turkey that’s better than Disney’s I’d share how we do it:

Start by rinsing your turkey and removing the giblets, any other things they have stuffed into the cavity, and the pop up timer if you have one. It’s also a good idea, if you can get it out, to remove the plastic binding for the legs at this point too as the legs really do not need to be bound so closely to the body.

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The key to keeping the turkey nice and moist and tender and OH SO flavorful, no matter your cooking method, is to brine it. We have been using the same recipe for brine for years now and it works quite well:

2 C. Kosher Salt

4 gal. of cold water

2 C. Bourbon Whiskey

1 onion, halved

2 to 3 T. Whole peppercorns

Bundle of Dill

3 to 4 bay leaves

Parsley

1 CLEAN 5-gallon bucket. We buy one from the home center and it is dedicated solely to brining the turkey.

Combine 1 gallon of water and salt in the bottom of a large 5 gallon bucket. Stir until the salt dissolves.

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Add in the Bourbon.

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Add in the onion, pepper corns, and herbs.

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Finally, add the bird and pour in enough cold water to cover.

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Put a cap on this and store it in a cold place. We use our extra refrigerator but in the past we’ve kept it packed in ice…you have to be very careful to watch it though and make sure it stays cold. Let it brine for a day or two.

On the big day, take the turkey out and once again give it a good rinse. Once it’s rinsed well, set the turkey in your fryer pot and fill the pot with water using a measured container. We use a 1 gallon pitcher filling until the water just covers the bird. Keep track of the number of gallons you pour so you will know how many gallons of oil you will need in your fryer. This will help to save you “boil over”, and thus the burning-down-the-garage horror story we’ve all heard or read about.

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Remove the turkey, pat dry and return to the refrigerator, or if you are traveling like we did, wrap it in a plastic sack and put it in an ice-filled cooler. Clean and dry the frying pot.

Set up the pot on the fryer stand and connect your propane. Fill with the amount of oil previously determined, then strike a flame and begin heating your oil. We use a blended oil that we get at the local hardware store. We’ve used peanut oil before with pleasant results, but it’s more expensive and the blended oil, which has peanut oil, tastes and fries just as well.

Once your oil reaches 350-degrees on your deep fryer thermometer, it’s turkey time! Pat the turkey dry again and place it on the stand that comes with your fryer unit.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: TURN OFF THE GAS TO THE FLAME ON THE FRYER BEFORE YOU PUT THE TURKEY IN THE OIL!!! THIS WILL PREVENT ANY FLARE-UPS SHOULD ANY OIL SPILL OVER THE SIDE AND ONCE AGAIN HELP YOU TO AVOID ENDING YOUR STORY WITH “AND THEN THE FIRE DEPARTMENT SHOWED UP, BUT THE HOUSE WAS A TOTAL LOSS!”

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Now you can carefully, slowly and safely lower the bird into the oil.

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Then you can safely turn on the gas and relight the flame.

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It is important that you maintain a temperature of 325-350 degrees throughout the cooking process. Once your oil temperature recovers to 350 or so, you can begin timing the cooking process. The bird should cook at 350 for 3-minutes per pound. That means that a 20 lb bird, like we had should be done in 1 hour!

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Take THAT Mickey!

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