I think I found the secret to great deep-fried turkey

You deep-fry enough turkeys in your life, and eventually you'll figure out the secret to success.

Deep-frying turkeys has always been an interesting trial-and-error experience. While the meat always ends up juicy (not greasy, but truly juicy), I often lose a layer of meat because the outer eighth of an inch gets cooked to a crisp, literally. This happens because when I deep-fry I am often distracted and let the temperature get away from me. I've also been a little gunshy because early on in my experimentation with deep-frying turkeys twice I undercooked the bird. So I've been overcautious on making sure the poultry is done.

Our neighbors had a bunch of families over for Thanksgiving, and the Reagans were in charge of the bird, stuffing, and pumpkin squares. Due to the amount of people, we decided to drop two birds in the fryer (separately, of course). The first bird came out ok, but again with the burnt/ruined layer of meat. The second bird was magnifique.

So, here's what I am going to do next time (probably Easter):

  1. Heat the oil to 400 degrees. Yes, I know, that's way too high I've been told. Too bad.

  2. Drop the bird in, slowly. If I would have dunked it the entire pot would have probably exploded at that high of heat. So I lowered it in slowly over a few minutes.

  3. Cut the heat. I need the oil to get down to 350 as fast as possible. So cut the heat.

  4. Relight when down to 350.

  5. Cook three minutes per pound. I've heard anywhere between 3 and 3.5 minutes per pound. 3 minutes it is. Trust me.

  6. Keep at 350. This is hard. Or at least requires a lot of attention.

I really lucked out on the last step. I was carving the first bird while the second was cooking, and wasn't checking on the temperature as often as I should have been (at least every 5 minutes, in my experience, if not sooner). Amazingly enough, the temperature remained at 350 the entire time. Wow.

This watched pot boiled... and steamed in the 35 degree weather!

Teaching Spencer the tricks of the trade.


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