The key to using a turkey deep fryer is preparation. And, not just preparation of the turkey but also preparation of the deep fryer as well. It’s always a good idea to become familiar with your deep fryer by reading the manual that comes along with it. Then you’ll be ready to prepare a tasty deep fried turkey without stress – and – without setting fire to your house.
Part of the preparation is to also get ready for all the compliments you’re going to receive when your family and guests enjoy the meal you’ve prepared. Deep frying is not only quicker than a traditional roast turkey, it’s also more flavorful and moister. No more dry turkey for you!
Start With a Completely Thawed Turkey
If you have purchased a frozen turkey, rather than a fresh turkey, then you’ll need to make sure that it has completely defrosted. You can thaw it in your fridge. This can take a couple of days or more. Or, you can thaw the turkey in cold water. Just fill the kitchen sink with lots of cold water and put the still-wrapped frozen turkey in the water. Change the water every 30 minutes or so in order to thaw it effectively. Never use warm water. That could encourage bacteria growth on the already thawed bits.
Determine the Volume of Oil Required
The next step is to figure out just how much oil you’re going to need. Remember, you need to submerge the turkey but not have the oil overflow. So, you need to determine, in advance, just how much oil to put in the pot.
The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to put your turkey into the pot you’ll be using and add water until the turkey is completely covered. Remove the turkey from the water. Then, measure the volume of the water in the pot. – OR – You can use a measuring stick to determine the depth of water left in the pot. Use the same measuring stick when adding the oil.
After tipping the water out of the pot, wash and dry the pot thoroughly.
You’ll need to make sure that the turkey completely dry as well. First rinse it well in cold water and make sure the water runs clear. Then dry it, inside and out, with plenty of paper towels. You want it well dried before you put it in hot oil. If it’s still wet, the oil will sizzle and pop and you’re likely to get some of the hot oil on your skin. Not a good start to your cooking process.
Picking the Best Spot for Your Turkey Fryer
Put your propane turkey deep fryer in an open area outside. The best location would be in a level area, preferably on concrete, a minimum of ten feet away from any buildings. Remember – safety first.
Connecting the Propane to the Fryer
Be sure that the shut-off valve is securely closed. Next, connect the hose to the turkey fryer base. Always maintain a distance of at least twenty-four inches between the propane tank and the fryer.
Time to Add the Oil
Okay, you know how much oil you need. You’ve cleaned and dried the turkey and the pot. Now, carefully and s-l-o-w-l-y add the oil to the pot being sure not to get any on the outside of the pot. The best choices for deep frying oil are peanut oil or canola oil.
Make sure that the pot of oil is sitting evenly and securely on the heating base. Adjust it if necessary.
Time To Heat Things Up!
Before turning on the heat, let’s recap. The propane tank is attached properly to the fryer base – check. You have the correct amount of oil in the pot – check. The pot is sitting properly on the fryer base – check.
Now, slowly turn the valve on your deep fryer propane tank. It’s best to use a long butane lighter, rather than a match, to carefully light the burner. There’s always the possibility for your deep fryer to catch on fire, so be careful.
Safety tip: Always keep a type BC fire extinguisher close at hand. Putting water on an oil fire will only make it worse.
Checking and Maintaining the Temperature
Clip a thermometer to the top of the pot. The probe end of the thermometer should be immersed at least one inch into the oil. Bring the temperature of the oil up to 350 degrees. Make sure it doesn’t get any higher. If the oil reaches over 400 degrees its temperature can then increase very rapidly and the danger that it may spontaneously combust is very real.
Lowering the Turkey
Put the turkey on the rack that was provided by the manufacturer of your deep fryer. Secure the legs and the wings to the body of the turkey.
Once the oil has reached 350 degrees, lower the turkey into the hot oil very, very slowly using the hook provided with your deep fryer. You want to avoid splashing any of the hot oil either on you or the heat source.
We’re Cooking Turkey Now!
As a rule of thumb, it usually takes about 3 minutes of frying time for each pound. Given that estimate, a ten-pound turkey will take about 30 minutes.
However, the only way to be certain that your deep fried turkey is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, being careful not to hit any bone. When your bird is fully cooked you will get an internal temperature reading of between 165 and 170 degrees.
It’s Turkey Time
Once the turkey is fully cooked, turn off the propane tank. It may take a minute of two for the burner flame to go out.
Using the hook supplied by the manufacturer, slowly lift the turkey out of the oil being careful not to splash any of the hot oil. Place the turkey on several layers of paper towels and let it drain. Cover it with foil and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
Be sure to continue to monitor the temperature of the oil as it cools. It can take a fairly long time to cool completely.
All that’s left is to enjoy your crispy, moist deep fried turkey.