A perfectly deep fried turkey is tender and juicy with a beautiful chestnut colored skin. Like everything fried this phenomenon started in the South. Many deep fried turkeys are made with spicy marinades since Louisiana is the original home of the deep fried turkey.
In order to safely fry a turkey you can buy a set up that includes a pot that is at least 40 gallons in size that fits on a propane powered burner. You should have a deep fry thermometer, peanut oil, marinade or rub, potholders, a sharp knife and aluminum foil.
For safety only fry a turkey outdoors and on the ground, not on a wooden porch or deck. Keep pets and kids away from the cooking area and have a fire extinguisher ready.
You have to test the amount of oil you need since it varies depending on the size of the pot and the size of the turkey. Lower the turkey into the pot and then add water until it covers the turkey by a couple of inches. Take the turkey out. Mark the level of the water by measuring how many inches it is from the top of the pot and then dump out the water. Put oil in up to that level. Dry the turkey well inside and out.
Choose turkeys that are smaller, 12 to 14 pounds, and will fit easily into the pot. Thaw the turkey completely. It can take up to 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator. Remove the neck and giblets from the inside cavity of the turkey. Cut off extra fat around the neck so the oil can get inside to cook it. Remove the wing tips, any plastic or metal truss holding the legs together, and the pop up timer in the breast if there is one.
Many cooks like to rub a marinade on the turkey or inject it with a marinade before cooking. If you use an injector for the marinade strain it so that it will not clog the injector needle. Many of the marinades used are spicy Cajun seasonings since Louisiana is the original home of the deep fried turkey.
Heat up the oil for about half an hour. Measure the temperature with the thermometer. Once it is between 325 degrees and 350 degrees lower the turkey into the pot. The turkey will take about 3 minutes per pound to cook. Take the turkey out of the oil and wrap it in foil. The turkey needs to rest for at least half hour to redistribute the juices and continue residual cooking that brings the meat to the right temperature throughout the bird.
Let the oil cool in the pot for at least 3 hours. Strain the oil with a fine mesh strainer. Store it in a cool place and it can be used up to 3 times before it has to be replaced. If it begins to break down or smell rancid sooner then dispose of it and use fresh oil.
A deep-fried turkey is not just for thanksgiving. If you have a large group of people then fry more than one turkey. It is great picnic, tailgating, and holiday food.