In a special week-long Thanksgiving series on “Today,” expert chefs share recipes on how to cook a turkey five ways. Roasted turkey and gravy may be the tradition, but down south a little deep frying goes along way. Here with a recipe that will get your family gobbling is Patrick Mould, executive chef of The Louisiana School of Cooking in Saint Martinville, La. Check them out below.
You’ll need some special equipment to deep fry a turkey. Many people start with a turkey frying “kit” which contains most of the equipment needed for this cooking process. These kits are sold in many supermarkets and other retail outlets. The equipment includes the following:
A burner that hooks to a propane gas tank to heat the oil
A propane tank hose and regulator
A large pot - typically with a 30 quart capacity with stand
A lifting rack to lower the turkey safely into the hot oil and remove it from the pot
A deep-frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil
A meat thermometer
Marinade and injector
Oven gloves or mitts
At least three gallons of peanut oil
Paper towels to remove excess moisture from turkey
A 10 to 12 pound fresh or completely thawed turkey
Always start with a fresh or completely thawed turkey... never use a frozen or partially frozen turkey as it will cause the hot oil to foam and possibly spill. Be sure to remove the giblets and neck from the interior of the turkey before frying.
Mix and load Cajun Marinade into an injector. Use about one ounce of marinade for every pound of turkey. Inject marinade into breast, thighs and drumsticks at several points to evenly distribute throughout the bird. Let stand at least 10 minutes prior to cooking.
Most recipes recommend seasoning only on the outside of the turkey. However, Chef Mould finds it just darkens the outside of the turkey and lessens the eye appeal. Since you’ve injected the turkey, you’ve already captured the seasoning on the inside.
If you are not ready to fry the turkey, cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
Heat the oil
Heat the oil to 350F. This typically takes about 45 minutes. Make sure to use the deep-frying thermometer to monitor oil temperature. Never leave the oil unattended. Peanut oil will begin to smoke at about 425F. If the oil begins to smoke, check temperature and lower the heat immediately.
Once the turkey has been prepared and marinated and the oil reaches 350F, it is time to place the turkey in the pot and fry it.
STEP ONE: FRYING THE TURKEY
Place the turkey in the basket, breast side up. Lower the turkey into the hot oil very slowly and carefully while wearing thick gloves or oven mitts. The oil will froth and bubble as it goes in. Be careful the oil doesn’t spill over.
Keep the oil between 325 and 350F. Allow the turkey to cook four minutes per pound (48 minutes for a 12-pound turkey).
STEP TWO: REMOVING THE TURKEY
After the turkey has fried for the allotted time, shut off the gas to the fryer. Using the oven mitts, lift the fryer basket from the oil. Allow the oil to drain from the bird while holding the basket over the pot.
STEP THREE: INSERT MEAT THERMOMETER
Move the basket quickly to a nearby area that has been lined with paper bags or a pan catch in order to avoid dripping oil. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and thigh. It should register at least 180F. You can return the turkey to the fryer if necessary, and cook for an additional five minutes to bring it up to the required temperature. Step Four: Wrap the fried turkey in aluminum foil and let stand for about twenty minutes before carving.
Carry-over cooking will finish cooking the turkey outside the oil, bringing it up to the proper temperature and allowing the juices to circulate back through the meat.
STEP FIVE: CLEAN UP
Allow the oil to cool completely before moving the cooking pot or attempting to strain or store the oil.