Our Family Fried Turkey

By • October 16, 2012 10 Comments

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Author Notes: About 15 years ago when I was still retailing seafood and we were helping customers make gumbos, jambalayas and etouffees, a customer walked in and bought about 6 containers of a Cajun seasoning that we sold. I asked him if he was stocking up and he replied, "No I'm frying a boatload of turkeys for Thanksgiving". Of course i asked all sorts of questions about process and methods and brought the information home to Tom. We talked about it for almost a year and then went out to buy a turkey fryer. We experimented with rubs, brines and injections and determined that simplest was best. The next Thanksgiving we decided to roast one and fry one and see what the family's reaction would be. Fried turkey won hands down! So now on Thanksgiving day we fry two and since the oil will do five or six, the next day we do three or four more, cool them and then wrap them tight and freeze for turkey dinners later in the winter. Crispy skin and juicy meat make for the best turkeys ever. Please note that you do need some special equipment for this but the fryer can double as a seafood boiler and what's to stop you from frying whole chickens, turkey breasts or even fish?
Note: The photo is of son Matt getting a carving lesson from his "Papa"

Makes one 12 to 15 pound turkey

For the rub

  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed between your fingers
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between your fingers
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  1. Combine all ingredients and store covered until ready to use.

For the turkey

  • 1 12 to 15 pound turkey (NO bigger than 15 pounds)
  • 35 pounds peanut oil or a peanut/vegetable blend (about 5 gallons)
  • 1 Turkey fryer with about a 30 quart capacity (preferably one with a handled basket as opposed to a hook)
  • 1 frying thermometer
  • Safety glasses
  • Heavy duty gloves (welding gloves are great!)
  • Water to figure out how much of that oil you'll need
  • A propane tank to hook to your fryer
  • The turkey rub
  1. All right...let's get started. First you need to figure out how much of that 35 pounds of oil you'll need. To do this place the raw turkey in the basket of the fryer legs up and then place the basket in the fryer. Fill the fryer with enough water to cover the whole turkey.(you want to wash the turkey anyway, don't you?) Pull the turkey and basket out and take a mental image of how far up the fryer the water level is. This will be the amount of oil you'll need. Dry the fryer and fill with the oil. Oh and don't forget...this is an outdoor project away from decks and anything else that might catch fire!
  2. Bring the turkey indoors, dry it with paper toweling inside and out and rub it thoroughly, inside and out with the rub. Let that turkey rest for about an hour. You probably won't need all of the rub, but better to be safe than sorry.
  3. Now hook up your fryer to the propane tank, turn on the tank and wait until the oil reaches a temperature of 360F. Depending on the weather, this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Once that's done place your rubbed turkey back into the basket, legs up, and wearing gloves and glasses SLOWLY lower the basket into the hot oil.
  4. Now set a timer. Standard frying time is 3.5 minutes per pound, so a 15 pound turkey will take between 52 and 53 minutes to cook.
  5. After cooking time is done, slowly lift the turkey filled basket out of the oil and let drain for a few minutes. Let rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

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