Extreme cooking – deep fat frying a turkey

PotOn Thanksgiving Day, we had the opportunity to watch a neighbor fry a 13 pound turkey in deep fat. The results were spectacular, but I would rather watch someone do this rather than try it myself. This is a highly dangerous procedure. Any carelessness can result in serious bodily harm.

This gas-fired cooking pot holds several gallons of peanut oil heated to 350 degrees F. The trick is to lower a 13 pound turkey into this hot oil without getting splashed and severely burned. The task is made more difficult by the fact that the turkey contains moisture which generates steam when it hits the hot oil.

The chef must lower the turkey very slowly and ignore the spatters of hot oil which are ejected when moisture bursts into steam.

Dave Raymond, pictured here, has at least five deep-fried turkeys to his credit. He demonstrated flawless turkey handling technique, never flinching when eruptions of hot oil shot several feet into the air.

DuringHe carried it off beautifully, but I would suggest wearing a heavy, long-sleeved jacket if you were to attempt this stunt yourself. Dave is wearing long barbecue gloves, but his arms are bare. One good splat of searing hot oil and his grip on the turkey hook could have been severely tested. If he had dropped the turkey instead of lowering it slowly, he would have been hard-pressed to avoid the resultant shower of hot oil.

Once the bird was in the oil, Dave said cooking time would be about three minutes per pound, which meant the thirteen pound bird would be done in 39 minutes.

We returned just in time to see the turkey come out of the oil as scheduled. As you can see, the skin is quite brown and appears to be well-done. Dave’s father tested the bird’s internal temperature and pronounced the bird done. Three minutes per pound is an amazing acomplishment!

Here you see Dave holding his turkey aloft in a final victorious gesture. Once again, man has overcome all obstacles to achieve the perfect Thanksgiving turkey!After_1


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0 Responses to Extreme cooking – deep fat frying a turkey

  1. Bob Martin says:

    Very nice story and pictures, David. I have always wanted to deep fry a turkey, or at least taste it. I used to live in Louisiana, where I believe the whole deep frying a turkey process was invented.

    Since moving to the Philippines, we have had to look for new ways of cooking turkey, because the ovens here are just not big enough for an entire bird. The best way that we have found (an actually superior to an oven cooked turkey IMHO) is to cook the turkey over an open pit of charcoal, turning it over the heat. The meat stays very juicy and tender, and the flavor is excellent. When we first moved to the Philippines, we had to find people who raised turkeys and have one butchered for us. Now, though, you can get a butterball in the grocery store!

    Thanks for the nice pics David.

  2. Steven says:

    David, please also make a note that the oil has to be measured carefully – if there is too much oil then when the turkey’s lowered in then the oil will overflow the pot. It cascades quite nicely down onto the flame and then burns bright, hot and big – many garages & decks and some entire houses have been destroyed because of this spectacular effect.

  3. This would be a definite case of “do not try this at home” as I have seen the video of professional firefighters demonstrating just how many ways this can go wrong and start a large fire.

  4. Stephan F says:

    The easiest way to measure the oil is to put the bird in and then fill while cold. Then pull out the bird and then light the fire. And any Boy Scout will tell you to keep fires >10 feet from any trees or buildings.

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