*28-Qt. or larger turkey fryer pot
*Propane burner stove
*Oil thermometer made to withstand over 550 Fahrenheit 300 Celsius
*LP propane tank
*Thick work gloves(flame retardant cooking mitts works best), long and heavy sleeves(such as flannel)
*BC or ABC fire extinguisher, never use water to contain oil or grease fires
Completely thaw the turkey. This is extremely important for even cooking, measurable cooking time, and safety. Allow 1 day thawing time per 5lbs. of turkey in the refrigerator. Thawing at room temperature can breed and spread bacteria and also spoil the turkey. Once thawed, remove giblets and neck. Trim excess fat and skin. Make sure the opening at the neck cavity is wide and clear. Trim the opening larger if needed. Make a 1-inch cut at the leg joints to allow oil to drain after it’s finished cooking.
Next, measure the oil level needed for this bird. Mount the turkey on the poultry rack and insert into the fryer pot. Fill the pot with water until the turkey is fully submerged. Make a mark about a 3/4 inch below the waterline because oil will expand when heated. Pots made for turkey frying will usually have a maximum waterline, do not fill past this line. If there is not a maximum line, always leave at least 3 inches from the top of the pot. If the turkey is too large for the pot, the turkey will need to be trimmed down. It is very important to keep in mind that the water used to measure with will be contaminated. Thoroughly clean after draining the water. Completely dry the pot before adding oil.
Peanut oil is the most commonly used to deep fry turkey. It has a high flash point and is cholesterol free. Any good host should be mindful of peanut allergies of their guests. Any vegetable oil can be used for a lighter taste or due to allergies.
Once the waterline is measured, you may season the turkey. Dry seasoning works best on the turkey’s surfaces. Liquid marinade and or herbs may be injected into the the meaty parts. Mixing orange juice, beer, or wine with dry seasonings works wonders when injected.
Placing the Fryer:
One of the most important safety measure is properly placing the burner.The fryer needs at least 10 feet clearance on all sides from any buildings or flammable structures and should never be under any type of overhang or ceiling. Common dangerous mistakes include placing it on wooden decks, under the garage door, or loose uneven grass and dirt. Concrete or brick are the best surfaces to place the fryer. If using on the lawn, clear the area of grass and make sure the dirt is packed, firm, and even.
Wind and weather can be dangerous factors. Never use if there’s a chance for rain. Never use in medium or stronger winds. Always position the propane tank upwind and at least 2 feet from the burner. There needs to be extra clearance downwind than 10feet depending on how strong the breeze is. If winds are too strong, do not attempt to make a wind breaker or blocker. It’s too dangerous to use a gas burner in strong winds.
Time to Cook: NEVER leave the cooker unattended!
Light the burner before placing the pot on it for better sight and chance of knocking over the pot. Once lit, never leave the cooker unattended. The most important thing for a great fried turkey and to prevent any accidents is to always have at least one adult watching the cooker at all times. Add the oil to the measured waterline before placing the pot on the lit burner. Placing an empty pot on the burner will damage the pot.
Monitoring the oil temperature is important for deep frying anything. If the temperature reaches too high, there’s risk of fire. If the temperature drops too low, the food will stop “steaming” and oil will soak in causing it to become greasy a soggy. 350 Fahrenheit is the target cooking temperature for a turkey with peanut oil. Slight less, around 335 Fahrenheit is target for lighter oils such as canola. 400 Fahrenheit is a good critical limit. This means once 400 Fahrenheit is reached, shut off the gas. It will take more heat to flash the oil on fire than 400 Fahrenheit, but there’s no need to go this high and it will hurt the estimated cooking time. Temperatures under 400 Fahrenheit that are higher than target, should be controlled by lowering the heat on the burner. Turn off the gas if at any point the oil starts to smoke. Keep in mind that reusing oil will lower it’s flash point temperature.
Once the target temperature is reached, about 350 Fahrenheit, it’s time to drop the bird. Reduce the heat of the burner. Wearing thick gloves, long sleeves and thick shoes or boots, very slowly lower the turkey rack into the pot using a long grab hook. Lower the turkey so slow that it’ll take over a minute to completely do. Without gloves or long sleeves, oil splatter could cause “flinching” and might result in knocking over the pot filled with boiling oil.
After the turkey is completely inserted, increase the heat to raise the oil temperature back to target, this could take several minutes. Once the target temperature is reached, adjust the heat to maintain it. Be mindful of the critical limit, once 400 Fahrenheit is reached, don’t attempt anymore adjustments and turn off the gas. A turkey takes about 3 to 3 and a half minutes per pound to deep fry, about one hour for an 18lb turkey.
When the turkey is golden brown and done cooking, turn off the gas. Place newspapers or paper towels close by on a flat surface. Slowly remove the turkey rack from the pot using the same safety clothing as when it was lowered. Make sure the rack is high and clear of the pot before attempting to move to reduce chance of knocking over the pot still filled with boiling oil. Place the rack on the newspapers or paper towels to cool and drain. For several minutes.
Do not leave the fryer pot and burner unattended until it has cooled down which will take quite some time. Do not attempt to move the pot and burner until the oil has dropped down past 110 Fahrenheit. It’s very important to keep in mind that the oil is still boiling after the cooking is done and to keep children away from it.
Congratulations on your beautiful bird. Only problem is that you won’t ever be able to go back to dried oven cooked turkeys again.