This year we're hosting Thanksgiving, for about 20 people. My initial thought is to do two whole turkeys, maybe 10-15 lbs each (??). I have many questions, so I'm going to do a test run next Monday on one or maybe even both deep fried and smoked versions (I'd like to do both on Thanksgiving Day for variety and a challenge LOL). I'm wondering what your thoughts are before I start...
Turkey #1 - Deep Fry
Wet brine 24 hours
Dry in fridge for 24 hours
*What temp to get the oil?
*How long to plan in the fryer?
*Is it worth it to inject before deep frying?
Turkey #2 - Smoked
Wet brine 24 hours
Dry in fridge for 24 hours
*Season with ?? (still thinking abut this)
*Brush/baste with seasoned butter (when is the best point in time to start basting?)
*The MES only goes to 275 - will this be ok?
Any other thoughts, precautions, observations? I take a lot of direction from you all here and I've never been steered wrong, so thanks!!
The guys are giving great info!
Just a tip. I'd avoid brining a turkey you plan to deep fry. Water and hot oil = a disaster waiting to happen.
Instead I highly recommend buying and using one of the injectable marinades as they are usually just seasoning, butter, and oil which will be no problem.
Now with a smoked turkey or even an oven roasted turkey I am 200% onboard and recommending you brine it.
Be sure to read up on the process and timing of deep frying a turkey
. It is serious business. It's actually not complicated but can go VERY WRONG very quickly. Like you aren't wearing long sleeves and gloves as you lower the turkey into the hot oil and it starts to spray/spit and burn the hell out of your skin. That can then lead to dropping the turkey and oil hitting an open flame.
OR dropping the turkey and knocking over 400F fry oil everywhere OR onto your legs and feet.
So some HUGE turkey deep frying safety tips
- Wear long sleeves and gloves when lowering into the fry pan
- Use a FULLY DEFROSTED turkey. Ice or water with oil is a nightmare of spewing hot oil
- If you have no help you must be strong enough to slowly lower a 15-20 pound turkey SLOWLY over 3- minutes into hot oil. Unless you want a geyser of oil spraying you and everything around you this is the only way
- Get a wooden rod/broomstick and a 2nd person to help you lower the turkey into the oil. You use the rod through the lowering "triangle" and no one has to get sprayed with oil, no having to perform a workout of lowering a 15-20 pound turkey slowly alone.
- Do this in an open area where above your frying pot you can't burn something above it down... like your garage, a tree, a shed, etc. People have caused a jet of oil flames shooting up when things go badly and they have to flee from dropping a turkey so don't burn down your house or the neighbor hood. DON'T put flammable stuff under the fryer like CARDBOARD. Do this out in the yard or on concrete that you can mess up with frying oil should it spill or spray over.
- Use PEANUT OIL. Peanut oil has a higher flash point, meaning it can get hotter before it bursts into flames. People have deep fried without peanut oil but you don't want to get crazy and think "I have ton of coconut oil to use up" which has a very low flash point for oils. Feel free to blend some Peanut Oil and some other typical frying oil if needed. I have due to being short on Peanut Oil but I highly recommend you use a majority of Peanut Oil if you have to also use any different type of oil just try and have mostly peanut going. Don't use exotic non-typical frying oils. There are very sensible and safety related reasons to use peanut oil so try and use the right tool for the job :)
- Measure your Oil amount properly before hand
- Before you remove the turkey from the bag do an oil measurement for frying!
- put the bagged turkey in your big fry pot and add water until it covers the turkey properly (a few of inches above because oil will fill the cavity of the real bird outside of the bag)
- remove the bagged turkey
- put a measuring tape in the water and measure how high the water goes up and WRITE IT DOWN, then pour out water
- On day of frying put your measuring tape back into the empty pot and use your finger and some oil to mark a line inside the pot where the oil needs to reach
- Pour oil up to the mark you made with your finger and some oil
- Have some extra oil on hand incase you need to add a little more to cover the turkey. Adding a little later won't kill the oil temp. Adding a lot later might. Removing oil when entering the turkey... not an option so this is why we measure :D
So again this isn't difficult but things can easily go wrong if not prepared and going wrong with a deep fried turkey can turn into burning down the house, 3rd degree burns and hospitalizations, and other bad things.
When prepared and executed properly it's simple. Inject and season a fully defrosted bird. Get oil to proper temp and use correct amount (measure before frying). Fry turkey according to time and plan for it to be done 30-40 minutes before you need to eat. Often the weather and oil don't cooperate on hitting max fry temp so it may take longer and extra time is needed.
I hope al this info helps :)