Shopping for turkeys I came across a display of Thanksgiving chef’s aprons that caught my eye. The message printed on it read, “Real men fry turkeys.”

True. Real men and women both fry turkeys,which explains why it has become a popular method to prepare the annual Thanksgiving bird.  Why fried instead of roasted?  It’ saves time and provides a lovely bronzed crisp skin with wonderfully moist meat.

If you’ve never deep-fried a turkey there are few basic rules to follow. First and foremost follow the operation directions on the cooker and check with your local fire department for safety tips.  While electric turkey fryers are available most gobblers are still fried in propane-fueled cookers, a risky method if you don’t take proper precautions.

When using propane fryers it’s vital to always fry outside away from all buildings, large trees or shrubs since boil-over are extremely dangerous. Countless house fires happen each holiday due to people placing turkey fryers too close to the house. Most of these fires happen when the cooker is over filled.

To prevent over filling your fryer with oil try this trick. Fill your fryer with water first and then lower your turkey into the water. Check the water line after the bird has been immersed. Remove bird and mark the water line. Pour out the water, thoroughly dry the fryer and fill with peanut oil to the water line. This will prevent oil overflows when the turkey is added to the oil. Remember never leave a cooker/fryer unattended – no matter if it’s a propane or electric fryer.

“It just takes a little planning to get your turkey done right,” John Weinmann, co-owner Kenrick’s Catering & Meats where thousands of turkeys will be baked, fried and smoked before the holidays end.

Frying a turkey is one way of cooking the Thanksgiving bird.

Frying a turkey takes less than half the time of traditional roasting methods – about 3 – 5 minutes per pound to cook depending on the cooker and turkey size. Give it a try and don’t be shy to ask for help for the guys.  After all, frying turkeys are as manly a holiday activity as watching football.

Southern Deep Fried Turkey

1 (1o- 12-pound) turkey, non-self-basting

2/3 cups prepared vinaigrette dressing

1/3 cup sherry

2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

peanut oil as needed

Thaw turkey completely. Clean out cavity, discarding giblets and neck. Cut off wing tips and tail; rinse under cold running water and pat dry.

In a medium bowl combine vinaigrette, sherry and seasonings. Strain the marinade, then place in an injection syringe. Inject the marinade in the turkey breast, thighs and legs.

Place in a food safe plastic bag and refrigerate for 2 hours. Turn the bag over and massage the turkey to work the marinade into the meat.  Remove form bag, drain and pat dry.

Place fryer/cooker outside and place on level ground in an open space away from the house. Never use a turkey fryer indoors, in a garage or under a covered patio due to potential fire hazard. Add oil to a 7 to 10 gallon pot with a basket or rack. At the medium-high setting, heat the oil to 375 degrees F, (depending on the amount of oil, outside temperature and wind conditions, this should take about 40+ minutes).

When the oil temperature reaches 375 degrees on a deep fry thermometer, slowly lower turkey into the hot oil. The level of the oil will rise due to frothing caused by the moisture in the turkey but will stabilize within about a minute. Maintain frying temperature at 350 degrees. Allow 3-4 minutes pre pound or according to your cooker’s recommended cook times. When the internal temperature of the breast reaches 170 –175 remove turkey from hot oil and allow turkey to drain for a few minutes. Remove turkey form the rack and place on a serving platter. Allow to rest 20 minutes. Before carving.

Cook’s note: Use only the oils with high smoke points such as peanut or safflower oils.














Article by Suzanne Corbett  with another chili recipe: