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How To Fry a Turkey

How To Fry a Turkey

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s turkey season. Although you can roast or smoke a turkey. However, deep-frying a turkey is the ultimate way to cook a turkey.

Safety First

There’s no way we can speak about deep-frying a turkey without addressing safety. After all, deep-frying a turkey is a dangerous process as it involves hot oil.

Yes, you can take many safety precautions to reduce the chances of an accident occurring, but using a large propane burner to heat oil 350°F and frying turkey in it, there is are no assurances that an accident will not occur.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take.

Before you start the process of prepping your turkey for frying, read the fryer manufacturer’s instructions, including any warnings included in the manual.

Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions to a tee while you are frying your turkey.

Make sure you keep all children and pets away from your turkey frying station. Select the most remote part of your yard to set up the turkey frying equipment.

This will ensure that your children or pets will not come close to it.

Furthermore, do not use outdoor fryers indoors or any covered spaces. In the same way, do not use indoor fryers outdoors.

These machines were designed specifically for indoor or outdoor use, do not deviate from this.

The last safety consideration is never to drink and fry a turkey. As mentioned above, frying is a dangerous task, and having an impaired state of mind could lead to an accident.

Why Deep-fry a Turkey?

Besides the excuse of gloating to your friends and family that you fried a turkey, there are many benefits associated with frying a turkey.

The main idea behind frying a turkey is that it yields a juicy bird with super crispy skin.

In addition to this, some people also suggest frying a turkey is quicker than roasting or smoking it.

However, this only applies if you include the cooking time, which is 1 hour at best, even for a large turkey.

Nevertheless, the time the oil takes to heat up and the cleanup time, but if you factor in oil-heating time and cleanup time once the bird has been cooked, frying a turkey is not any quicker than roasting or smoking it.

In addition to this, it can also be a pain to find a way to dispose of the grease.

Additionally, frying a turkey can be very forgiving. For example, if you overcook a fried turkey, it will still be juicer than an overcooked roasted or smoked turkey.

What Size Turkey Is Best?

The answer to this particular question depends on how many people you intend to feed. Check out our in-depth guide if you need to determine how much meat per person while planning your meal.

Smaller turkeys will cook more evenly than larger turkeys. In addition to this, frying a large turkey also increases the chances that the bird’s exterior will burn before the interior is cooked.

A large bird also increases the oil’s chances of spilling over the fryer and creating a huge mess, especially if the oil was not measured correctly.

Even if you were to fry a large turkey in an indoor fryer, the turkey might get jammed in the fryer, which will ruin the birds’ appearance.

Ultimately, you should choose a 12-14 pound turkey. However, do not exceed a 15-pound turkey. You can always fry 2 turkeys if you need more turkey.

How Much Oil Is Required To Fry a 12 Pound Turkey?

The amount of oil you use is important when it comes to frying a turkey. If you do not have enough oil to cover the turkey, part of the skin will not be crispy. In addition to this, the turkey will take longer to cook.

On the other hand, if you use too much oil, it will spill over the sides of the frying pot once the turkey is lowered into the oil.

This in itself will create a hazard, as you or someone else could slip and fall.

You will need 4-5 gallons to fry a 12-14 pound turkey in a 30-quart pot.

Can I Use Corn Oil To Fry a Turkey?

Some types of oils are not suitable for frying. Some oils, such as olive oil, have a high smoking point. This means the oil will burn and ruin the turkey.

The turkey will absorb a small quantity of oil as it fries, which means it will ruin the flavor of your turkey.

Do not use solid or hydrogenated oils, shortening, lard grapeseed oil as they have a high smoking point.

In addition to this, do not combine different oils as they have different smoke points.

The ideal oil for frying a turkey is one that does not have high levels of saturated fats.

Corn oil is suitable for frying a turkey as well as soybean, vegetable, peanut, or canola oil.

Some people also suggest that peanut oil is the best for deep frying turkey.

Peanut oil has a high smoking point which means it is unlikely to burn or catch on fire.

Should You Inject a Turkey Before Frying It?

Customarily, turkeys are injected with a marinade before it is cooked, and frying a turkey is no different.

There is debate about how long a turkey should be injected before it’s cooked; the time frame is up to you.

You can inject your turkey 24 hours before it is cooked or 5 minutes before it is fried.

How Do I Know if My Fried Turkey Is Done?

The best way to tell if a turkey is done cooking is by using a thermometer. If you are in need of an infrared thermometer, check out our review guide.

Turkey is officially done when it has a temperature of 165°F.

However, if it is best to remove the turkey before it reaches that temperature as it will dry out.

It is best to remove the turkey when it has an internal temperature of 145°F to avoid having an overcooked steak.

There’s no need to panic because the turkey will continue to cook as it rests and reach a final temperature of 165°F.

This will give a moist and juicy fried turkey. Remember to stick your thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey to get an accurate temperature.

How To Fry a Turkey

There are two ways to fry a turkey: outside or indoors. However, before you prepare your turkey, you must make sure it is fully defrosted.

You do not want to lower a wet or icy turkey in hot oil. This could cause an accident as the oil will bubble and pop everywhere.

Ice can also hide in the turkey’s cavity between the rib bones. This may cause the turkey’s cavity to be ice cold, which will cook the bird unevenly.  

Once your turkey defrosts, make sure there is no ice in the cavity.

How To Fry a Turkey Outside

Many persons will argue that frying a turkey outdoors is hands down the best way of frying a turkey.

However, many individuals have had terrible experiences frying turkeys that may have landed them in the hospital.

Nevertheless, if you choose to deep fry a turkey outdoor, proceed with extreme caution.

Brine your turkey, season it with a BBQ rub, or inject it with a marinade before frying the turkey.

To fry a turkey outdoors, you will need a turkey frying kit. Do not try to make your own makeshift turkey frying kit.

Most kits include a burner, stand, pot, thermometer, hanger, and a device to lower the turkey into the oil.

In addition to this, you’ll also need a propane tank to cook the turkey.

Before setting up your turkey frying kit, make sure you dress appropriately. Wear solid shoes and heavy oven mitts.

Furthermore, ensure you do not have any skin showing. If the hot oil spills and happens to land on you, you will be somewhat protected from the oil if you are fully clothed.

One of the most critical mistakes people make when frying is a turkey is placing the turkey too close to their home or next to a combustible item.

Set up your turkey frying kit 10 feet away from your house or flammable materials.

In addition to this, always keep a fire extinguisher on hand if a fire occurs. Never extinguish a grease fire with water.

Another critical mistake most people make while frying a turkey is adding too much oil to the pot.

This mistake can easily be avoided by placing the turkey into your 30-quart pot. Fill the pot with water just until the water covers the turkey by 1/2-inch.

Remove the turkey from the 30-quart pot and dry it with paper towels. The water in the pot should fall below the fill line; mark the waterline with a food-safe marker.

Remove the water, dry the pot thoroughly, and fill it to the marker line with oil.

Once you’ve added the oil to the pot, do not walk between the propane tank and the pot of oil.

You may trip on the gas line, causing the pot of oil to fall over and cause a severe accident.

Once your oil reaches a temperature of 350°F, thread the hanger through the turkey, making sure it is fastened securely.

One way to add the turkey to the hot oil is by shutting off the burner to eliminate the oil’s chances of flaring up while adding the turkey to the oil.

However, this does require you to relight the burner under a hot pot of oil, which is also dangerous.

Whether you choose to turn off the butter or not, carefully lower the bird into the pot slowly. Some experts suggest lowering the turkey in thirds.

This way, if an accident occurs, you can easily remove the turkey from the fat.

Never drop the turkey into the hot oil. The hot oil will splash and may burn you.

Once the turkey is successfully placed into the oil, it will fry in no time. The equation for calculating cooking time is 3 minutes per pound of turkey. However, you can check your bird sooner if necessary by using a thermometer.

Once your turkey has a temperature of 145°F, carefully use the hook to remove the turkey from the oil and lift it out slowly, allowing excess oil to drain from the turkey.

Let your fried turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving it.

If you want to know how to carve a turkey, check out our in-depth guide.

How To Fry a Turkey Inside the House

Alternatively, you can also fry your turkey indoors. Although it is a less known method, it yields the exact same results.

Most people would consider this a safer way to fry a turkey.

All you need is an indoor turkey fryer. Essentially, an indoor turkey fryer is a large tabletop fryer that can fry a turkey or a large batch of crispy fried chicken.

Even though indoor turkey fryers are double the cost of their outdoor counterparts, they are extremely versatile.

You can stream, deep-fry, and even boil foods. All that’s needed is following the manufacturer’s instructions to cook the turkey.

Fill your indoor turkey fryer with oil and allow it to come to 350°F, lower the turkey into the hot oil and let it cook.

Once the turkey has a temperature of 145°F, lift it out of the frying basket.

Let the fried turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.

What Do I Do With the Oil After Frying My Turkey?

Allow the oil you fried the turkey in to cool, then place it into an indestructible container that can be sealed.

Place the lid on the oil and discard the oil along with the rest of the trash. You can also deliver it to your local garbage collection agency.

Final Thoughts

Frying a turkey can be a beautiful experience. Luckily you’ve got two ways to fry your turkey this holiday season. Happy frying!