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Deep Frying Your “Bird”

Fried Turkey! Motha f*@%#, now this is the “bird” that will surprise everybody! This is by far one of my favorites, relatively quick, flavorful, moist and damn fun to do!  However, the caveat, one slip up can become a holiday disaster that will make Home Alone look like a love story!  The equipment is relatively inexpensive, and it’s done outside during cool weather, which will require liquid heating fluid, aka listening juice and/or libations. Brining is great, injecting flavored liquids enhances this “bird” as well, and it can be done anywhere, which gives you a great reason to get out of the house, in my case the #uglykitchen, and away from “Aunt Madge” and the in-laws whom became outlaws. The selection process for your “bird” is really determined by your set up, “a square peg in a round hole” applies, so you have to buy that bad ass “bird” that will have to fit in your cauldron. Let’s digress to set up.  You’ll need a propane burner, large pot, a shitload of oil, I prefer peanut oil or duck fat, if you can mortgage your humble abode.  The “set up” will need a propane tank with a long hose line, so if some intoxicated sous chef makes a misstep, the tank can be moved with ease. Your cauldron of choice will be a very thick stainless pot, first for heat retention, secondly for quality that will last a lifetime, unless you’re proven guilty for the “Aunt Madge” incident. Money here is what will probably dictate your choice.  Some of the restaurant supplies stores will have a brand called Vollrath.  These huge pots/cauldrons even come with a spigot that will make “easy peasy” work of the removal of oil.  This is my preference, however it comes with a price. You can find very affordable setups at your local sporting goods store such as Academy and even the big box store WallyWorld. You’ll also need a meat temperature probe, tongs or a large hook, etc., and heatproof, oil resistant gloves are a nice accoutrement. A stainless steel basket and a large fryer thermometer are essential!  Now that you’ve got the “set up”, you’ll need a safe place away from the house.  I prefer the 350 mile drive to the ranch in Ozona, TX, but momma put a kibosh to that, so get at least 50’ from any dwelling, tree, car, and much less to say anything combustible, except for “Aunt Madge” (more than likely you won’t find a family member to contest your innocence). Once you’ve found that idyllic cooking space, I recommend to make sure the base is on very level and sturdy, well-packed ground, clear of all debris, combustible leaves, grass, and Madge (if not an innocent consensus). Now here it comes, ”how to” time! 1 12-16 lb Turkey, “bird” 4-4 1/2 gallons of Peanut Oil or Duck Fat • After brining as the aforementioned recipe indicated, remove the “bird”, pat dry and let rest for 30 minutes. Be SURE your “bird” is completely thawed and dry before submerging in the hot oil. • In a 28-30 quart pot, place the oil in the cauldron (if your concerned about the exact amount of oil, take your “bird” and put in the cauldron, add water to cover the “bird” by two inches, remove the ”bird” and measure the water. This is a great litmus test for the amount of oil.) *understand when cooking in the oil, if the oil runs over, you’ll meet your local fire department, much to the chagrin of your guests and neighbors, so take great caution not to overfill your vat. 

• Bring the oil up to 250° degrees, and slowly place the bird in the oil using the stainless steel basket, tongs, large hook, etc., and heatproof, oil resistant gloves.  • Now bring the oil up to 350° and reduce the heat to maintain the 350°. ...This is were the libations and patience comes in handy...  • After 30-35 minutes use a temperature probe and check the internal temperature of the “bird” in the breast, and when it reaches 150°, usually about 3 minutes per pound,  very carefully remove the “bird” from the oil very and let it take that 30 minute nap, and yourself as well, if the libations have taken affect. • Carve as desired and serve with a good ol’ turkey red eye gravy.   You’ll find frying your “bird” results in a moist, juicy turkey with a crispy, flavorful skin, allows a bit of an escape from the Christmas Vacation scene, and leaves the cleanup crew with much less mess to deal with in the kitchen! Now as the French or snooty bastards say, “Bon Appetit”, and don’t burn the house down!

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