Southern Fried Turkey

deep fried turkey

Of all the wonderful Thanksgiving recipes and Christmas recipes we prepare for the big days, fried turkey is number one or two on my family’s list. It vies with my smoked cured ham for the top position. Deep fried turkey is like no other turkey you’ve ever eaten. It’s crispy and crunchy on the outside, and it’s extremely juicy on the inside. With fried turkey, you’ll never again have to worry about serving a tough, dry bird.

The first thing you have to do, obviously, is to purchase your turkey. Depending on the size of your turkey fryer, you want to get one that’s between 10 and 14 pounds. Place the turkey in your turkey fryer and cover it with water. The level of the water should be about an inch or so above the turkey. Remove the turkey from the frying pot and mark the water line. This is how much oil you’ll need for frying. Peanut oil works best!

Once you get the gobbler inside, unwrap it and remove the giblets. If the turkey has one of those pop-up timers, remove it. Rinse the bird well under clear, cool running water  – inside and out – and pat it dry. If you buy a frozen turkey, allow it to thaw completely in the refrigerator before doing these steps.

Next, make a dry rub for the turkey. Combine brown sugar, salt, black pepper, ground red pepper, paprika, sage, and rosemary. Rub the turkey all over, including inside the cavity. Be sure to force some of the rub under the skin. Wrap the rubbed bird and leave it in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, make sure your fryer is completely dry. Brush off any loose rub ingredients. Fill the oil to the line you made, and turn on the heat. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Once the oil is at the right temp, ease the turkey into the fryer, using the handle that came with your fryer. Place the lid on the fryer and fry the turkey for about four minutes per pound. A lot of folks will tell you to fry turkeys for three minutes per pound, but we’ve fried a veritable barnyard of turkeys our way, and they’ve all turned out great!

This next step is the most difficult: keep prying fingers away from the bird! If you’re not careful, the carcass will be picked clean before it ever makes it to the table. Believe me, I know whereof I speak.