Frying a Turkey

Monthly safety article November 2018

Frying a Turkey

Frying a turkey this year? here are some tips:
First off to fry a turkey you need equipment that can be found at your local hardware store this time of year. You will also need cooking oil (to fry a 12- to 14-pound turkey in a 30-quart pot).
Using the right amount of oil is where a lot of people make their first BIG mistake. Too much oil and it will over flow when you lower your bird in it, causing it to catch the flame and BAM! you got a new house coming to you.  To insure you have the right amount, place the turkey in the fryer pot and cover it with about 2 inches of water. Remove the turkey from the pot, pat it dry with paper towels, and set it aside at room temperature. Mark the water level on the inside or outside of the pot with a waterproof marker so you know how much oil to put in the pot, then discard the water, and wash and dry the pot thoroughly.
Turn the burner on, adjust the heat to moderately high, and heat the oil until the thermometer registers 375°F. Starting with the slightly elevated temperature of 375°F allows you to briefly shut off the flame while the turkey is lowered into the oil. Even with the flame off it is best practice to still have a designated Fireman in your group. This person should be the one who either just arrived to the party or is not drinking.
Next prepare your turkey with a spice rub, remember you can not stuff the turkey. Place the turkey on the poultry rack, with the breast facing down and the legs facing up. Once the oil reaches 375°F, turn off the burner. Wearing an apron and long heavy-duty oven mitts, use the hook that attaches to the poultry rack to slowly lower the turkey into the oil using a stop-and-go method: Lower the turkey 1 to 2 inches into the oil then pull it back out a bit, repeating until the bird is fully submerged. This gradual approach keeps the oil from bubbling up too much and overflowing.

Once the turkey is fully submerged, turn the burner back on and return the oil to 350°F. Throughout frying, adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the 350°F oil temperature.

Fry the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the fleshy part of the thighs and the thickest part of the breasts (test both sides, close to but not touching the bone) registers at least 165°F. A deep-fried turkey typically requires 3 1/2 minutes per pound, so a 12- to 14-pound bird will take 40 to 50 minutes to reach 165°F. When checking the bird’s internal temperature, use the hook that attaches to the poultry rack to slowly lift the turkey from the oil. If the turkey has not reached 165°F, use the stop-and-go method to slowly lower it back into the oil to continue cooking.