The holidays are the perfect time to visit friends and family. It’s also the best time for great food. My family makes a turkey and a ham for every holiday, so for Christmas, we will be deep frying a turkey. Rural King recently had a live video demonstrating how our grilling experts deep fry their birds. We will go over how they prepped, cooked, and carved their turkey. Plus, we’ll give you some deep frying safety tips so you can deep fry a delicious turkey safely.
Safety First: Deep Frying Safety Tips
Before you get out your turkey fryer, you should look through these tips for keeping you and your family safe while frying. If you have any safety questions, please write them in the comments section.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes with the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
- Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it’s in use.
- Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it contacts with the burner.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
- Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
- Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by.
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer always.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface, and cover to let the oil cool overnight. Once the oil is cooled, dispose of it (or strain out the oil and save).
- Do NOT use a fryer while drunk or under the influence of drugs or heavy medications. Be safe!
Preparing the Turkey
Holiday turkeys wouldn’t be nearly as delicious without the prep. Seasonings, rubs, and brines are just a few examples of how you can prep some of the tastiest turkeys in town. Below is a short list describing how our grilling expert, Matt, prepares his turkey for the holidays:
Brining is the process of soaking your meat in a saltwater mixture hours before cooking. This process makes the end product very juicy and allows any seasonings to penetrate deep into the muscle tissue for a flavorful end product.
We went over how brining works and some great brines to try in our Grilling Adventures: Brining post. Read the post and give brining a try for the juiciest, flavor-filled turkey ever.
For the live demo, we coated the turkey with John Henry’s Turkey Seasoning and let it soak in overnight. You must give the seasoning at least 4 hours to get a good flavor in the end.
Try one of these great John Henry rubs any meal!
The rub will go all over the outside of the turkey and in the cavity. This will ensure that each slice of turkey will have a nice full flavor.
Injecting is another way some folks prepare their turkey for cooking and works a lot like brining. Instead of letting the meat soak, you simply inject the bird with an injecting needle. The injector marinade is pumped immediately into the meat. This will make your turkey juicy and give it a great flavor if you do it right.
Some don’t care for injecting because the liquid penetration can be sporadic and leave pockets of juice in your meat. If this happens, some bites of turkey will be exploding with flavor and juice and other parts will be kind of bland.
A lot of deep fried turkey cooks choose to brine and inject, so the choice is up to you!
Frying Your Turkey
Now it’s time to fry your bird. See how much oil you’ll need by putting water in first, dropping in your turkey, and marking the amount it takes to almost completely cover the bird. Don’t overfill!
After you pour the oil into the fryer, set your fryer temperature to about 250-280ºF. Insert the turkey into the oil slowly. Once fully submerged, you can raise the temp. to 350ºF.
At this point, you can just sit back and wait for your turkey to cook. Don’t leave your frier unattended though! A good rule of thumb is to let the turkey cook 4 minutes per pound of turkey.
When the turkey is finished cooking, pull the turkey out slowly and carefully. You don’t want to get any of that hot oil on your skin. We sat the basket and turkey on a cardboard box to allow some of the oil to drip away.
Then, check the temperature of your turkey with a long stem thermometer. Take the temperature of the breast and the thigh. White meat, like the breast, should reach an internal temperature of 170ºF and dark meat, the thigh, should reach 180ºF. If your bird has not reached this temperature, put it back in the fryer for some extra time.
Once the turkey is the proper temp and some of the oil has drained off, allow your turkey to sit for about 20 minutes. After that, prepare yourself for turkey carving.
Grab an aluminum tray to throw the carved turkey in. My family always has the dark meat on one side and white meat on the other. This makes it easier for your guests to get the piece they want.
First, remove the string holding the drumsticks together. Once they have been separated, cut through the skin connecting the breast and the leg using a sharp carving knife. Pull the left down and away from the breast, and use your knife to slice through the joint. Set this aside to cut later.
Then, pull the wing down and away, and slice through the joint to remove the wing.
Find the breastbone in the center of the turkey and cut down the side missing the leg and wing. Use your hand or a carving knife to pull the meat away as you cut. Then, repeat the process of removing the drumstick, wing, and breast from the other side.
Once your cuts are all separated from the bones, you can cut the thigh from the drumstick. Set the legs aside, separate the thigh meat from the bones, and slice it up.
Finally, slice up your breast meat and throw all the pieces into your aluminum tray to stay warm until lunch or dinner time!
Reheating Your Deep Fried Turkey
We always have a ton of leftover turkey during the holidays, so what is the best way to reheat deep fried turkey?
Take the turkey out of the refrigerator and let it get to room temperature. This reduces cook time and the likelihood your reheated turkey will be dry. While the turkey is warming up a bit, preheat your oven to 250ºF. Low temperatures prevent dry, overcooked meat.
Reheat your turkey for up to 30 minutes. The timing will depend on how much turkey you are heating up. The best way to tell if your turkey is done is by checking the temperature. Using a meat thermometer, make sure your pieces of turkey reach 165ºF.
So, we’ve talked about how my family prepares their feast. What about your family? What meats and sides are traditions in your family? Let me know in the comment section below.
You can find tons of great recipes and more by visiting our Recipes category on our blog. If you find a recipe you would like us to spice up, let us know!
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family from Rural King!