Thursday, June 3, 2010

Frying the Turkey

Over Memorial Day we decided to have a cook out (as is tradition). I decided to do something a little bit different this year, though. I received a frying/boil kit for Christmas last year, so I decided to give turkey frying a go. I have deep fried one other turkey in my life, at Em's house for Thanksgiving one year. And it was awesome. So why not?

After watching Good Eats for many years, I have pulled a lot of knowledge from the show, especially when it comes to safety. I bought all the supplies for Alton Brown's Turkey Derrick, which was a great idea. Not only did it make frying much easier, it gave myself and guests a bit of piece of mind when dealing with 4 gallons of 350°F oil and an open flame. Why go to all the trouble? Well, by doing the pulley system, it was much easier to remove the bird, check its temperature, and eventually let it rest. I bought all of the supplies at a hardware store for around $8. Because I figured out how to winch it though, I only needed the rope, cable ties, pulleys, and the D-ring. And I own a ladder. Seriously, so easy! And I can reuse that stuff, so I consider it a wise investment.
So after a brine in the morning, I followed AB's recipe and fried to my heart's content. And oh, it was so good. I love how juicy the meat is, especially how well the white meat holds up. The leftovers make great sandwiches.
Now, I realize as a country we are quite unhealthy. And deep frying is one of those reasons. On this subject though, I disagree. Upon recovery of the oil I found we had only lost 1/2 cup in the entire frying process. And we spilled a little, so I imagine that's a generous amount. Spread over 14 pounds of turkey, that's the same you would use in marinating something for grilling. That's it! Because of its large mass and pretty good frying time, you will not absorb that much oil. So while I don’t plan on doing this every week, deep frying a turkey was quite an experience, and one I hope to continue when the opportunity arises.

Deep Fried Turkey (from Alton Brown)

~24 cups (6 quarts) hot water
1 pound kosher salt
1 pound dark brown sugar
1 13-14 pound turkey with giblets removed
~ 5 pounds ice
4 1/2 gallons peanut or frying oil

Please, please, please make sure your turkey is thawed before frying it.  If you brine it while partially frozen, that's alright, just make sure it is completely thawed when you cook it.  If you do not, chaos will ensue and you will more than likely visit the hospital.

To brine the turkey, combine the water, salt, and sugar in a large bucket/cooler/pot and stir to dissolve.  Add the ice to cool.  Add the turkey, making sure it is covered almost completely with water.  If you need to, weigh down the turkey.  Cover and store in a cool dry place (I used a partially frozen turkey and left it in a kitchen corner as well as added a few sealed bags of ice to maintain a cold temperature.  I recommend this or using a cooler).  Brine for 8-12 hours before frying.  Remove turkey and let stand to drain and come to room temperature 30 minutes before frying.

To determine how much oil you will need, place turkey in the frying vessel (empty) and fill with water.  Remove bird and mark where the water level is.  That's how much oil you need.

Assemble turkey setup, light burner and place pot over the burner (follow instructions of your burner here).  Add oil and heat until 250°F.  Gently lower the bird into the oil and increase the oil temperature to 350°F (this may take quite some time, don't worry about it).  After 35-40 minutes, check the temperature of the turkey using a probe thermometer.  Once the breast reaches 151°F (don't worry, it will hit 165°F by the time it's done resting), remove from the oil and let rest for 30 minutes (you may want to just let it hang for 15 minutes and then transfer to a cutting board for the remainder).  Don't forget to turn the gas off!

Slice turkey and enjoy!


Carol Egbert June 3, 2010 at 7:55 PM  

I admire your bravery and dedication.

Cook with Madin June 3, 2010 at 9:43 PM  

Thank you for your post. You inspired me to make this, hopefully on Thanksgiving. My son has been asking me to make this. Thank you for the tips.

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