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For hundreds of years, the over-sized holiday treat known as turkey has been roasted in dry ovens or turned slowly on a spit near an open fire. In Louisiana and other parts of the southeastern United States, however, deep-fried turkey has appeared on the culinary scene. A deep-fried turkey is prepared exactly as it sounds. A small turkey, usually 12 pounds or less, is marinated or breaded and then carefully lowered into a vat of heated cooking oil. After cooking at a rate of 3 to 4 minutes a pound, the deep-fried turkey is raised out of the vat and plated for carving.
While it may sound like an exercise in grease absorption, a deep-fried turkey is usually not excessively greasy or oily. One reason is the nature of the frying oils used to prepare a deep-fried turkey. Only oils with a high smoking point, the temperature at which oil begins to break down, are used. Although safflower, corn and canola oils can be used for deep-fried turkey, the most common oil used is peanut oil. Peanut oil has a high smoking point, a number of complex flavors, and can be reused 3 or 4 times if properly filtered and stored.
Cooking a deep-fried turkey may not be as economical as roasting, since specialized equipment and gallons of expensive peanut oil must be purchased. This is why a number of families often pool their resources together to finance a deep-fried turkey dinner. Commercial food producers and restaurants may also offer their facilities and staff to customers seeking to cook off a deep-fried turkey safely.
Many deep-fried turkey recipes call for a large 40 to 60 quart cooking pot to contain the oil and a gas burner system to heat it between 325 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit (163 and 177 degrees Celsius). In order to determine the level of oil needed to cover the turkey, many experts suggest placing the raw bird in the empty pot and filling it up with water until the bird is completely submerged. Once the fill line has been marked, the bird and pot should be dried completely to prevent splattering. An equivalent amount of oil should then be added to the pot and heated.
One of the most difficult steps in preparing a deep-fried turkey is the introduction of the bird to the heated oil. Many deep-fried turkey kits include a special winch and hook mechanism used to suspend the bird securely over the oil. The cook slowly lowers the breaded or marinated bird into the oil to avoid splashing and spilling. Contact between the heated oil and the gas burner could result in a flash fire, so a fire extinguisher and heavy oven mitts should be kept on hand.
After the deep-fried turkey has reached an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit in the white meat areas and 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the legs and thighs, it is ready to be pulled out of the oil and transferred to a plate for serving. Many people find that a deep-fried turkey is very moist on the inside and crisp on the outside. There are a number of breading and marinating recipes available for an even better deep-fried turkey experience, ranging from Cajun spice blends to lemon pepper to traditional Southern fried chicken seasonings.
Can anybody give me a good recommendation as far as a suitable marinade for a deep fried turkey? I don't really care what kind, so it doesn't have to be a classic cajun deep fried turkey brine or whatever, I just want a good one.
Also, if you could make it reasonably easy, that would really help me out, because I'm not much of a chef. I try, but I've got whatever the equivalent of a black thumb is when it comes to cooking.
But this year I've decided to give it a go and actually try to cook a deep fried turkey instead of following my yearly ritual or ordering a deep fried turkey from the supermarket, so fingers crossed.
Seriously though, I'll take any help or advice or recipes (especially recipes!) I can get, so please, help me out!
I absolutely love Cajun deep fried turkey -- when I was growing up, at every big holiday a few families in my neighborhood would get together and do a huge turkey fry.
It was definitely an all day affair. In the morning, the moms would fire up the deep fried turkey fryer, and bring over a few turkeys that had been brining overnight in Mrs. Levenson's "celebrated" deep fried turkey brine, and an absolutely enormous drum of peanut oil.
They would fire that thing up, and fry the turkeys all day long -- all the families there had over five kids, so we could put away a lot of turkey!
So now, even though we no longer have those
huge family gatherings, whenever my spouse and I have a large party, we order a deep fried turkey from the shop down the road. There's just something about that kind of food that feeds your soul, not just your body.
You all know what I'm talking about?
I don't know how I feel about deep fried turkey -- that does sound really, really oily. Besides isn't it hard to get the turkey up and down in the pot so you can check on how done it is?
This sounds almost like more trouble than its worth to me! I think that I'll just stick with my good old roast turkey, since I have enough trouble getting that done each year.
I can't even imagine if I had to find a deep fried turkey fryer and hook a turkey up and worry about it catching on fire, etc. Besides, with a fried turkey you can't even really do stuffing or anything, right?
Just another reason to stick with roasting it...at least in my opinion.