For safety reasons, deep frying a whole turkey should be done outdoors away from materials that burn easily such as your wooden deck.
Hot oil can be hazardous. When overflowing hot oil comes in contact with the open flame, this results in a fire – a large fire.
The turkey fryer is getting popular compared to the oven as the whole process is faster.
On top of that, the food is less likely to dry out compared to baking in the oven.
The fried turkey is full of flavors, juicy with crispy skin.
Besides, you’ll need the oven to cook your other delicious Thanksgiving stuff.
Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post but at no extra cost to you. The opinions are my own
Turkey Deep Fat Fryer – Useful Features
1) What Are The Different Types of Turkey Deep Fryers?
Electric Turkey Fryers
There are 2 types of electric turkey fryers, one uses oil whereas the other one cooks using radiant heat.
The electric turkey deep fat fryer normally comes with thermostat temperature control, timer, auto shut-off and can be used indoors.
This type of fryer uses less oil than the outdoor fryer eg. Butterball XL electric digital turkey fryer uses only 2.75 gallons of oil compared to the 3 – 5 gallons needed for the traditional outdoor propane fryer.
The Waring Pro TF200B electric turkey fryer uses 2.5 gallons of oil and has the useful rotisserie feature whereby the bird rotates constantly in the hot oil.
The oil free turkey fryer such as the Butterball oilless turkey fryer, cooks using radiant heat.
Related post : Charbroil Oil Free Big Easy Turkey Fryer
Propane turkey fryer
There are also 2 types of propane turkey fryers – with or without oil.
This type of turkey fryer is powered by a tank of propane.
For the propane deep fat turkey fryer, you deep fry the bird in a tall pot of boiling oil.
The typical outdoor turkey deep fat fryer consists of a tall narrow stock pot (tall narrow pot uses less oil), tank of propane gas and the burner stand.
A lifting hook to lift up the cooking basket safely is usually included in your turkey fryer kit.
The outdoor turkey support stand provides additional safety feature for the pot of hot oil.
Some pots come with a spigot or draining valve. The turkey fryer with drain spigot makes it easy to drain the used oil from the pot.
Some gas burner come with safety features such as wide set legs for stability and auto shut-off switch.
The pot sits on a base ring that has a slightly bigger diameter compared to the pot. This helps in providing stability to the pot of hot oil.
Besides deep fat frying, the cooker can also be used for steaming and boiling purposes.
The typical deep frying mesh/perforated basket comes with one or two bail handles for easy handling.
This multi-purpose cooking basket is used to hold the turkey while deep frying in the hot oil.
It is also used to hold large food items like lobsters, shelled seafood, clams, corn, mussels etc when boiling or steaming.
The basket should have sufficient depth and diameter to hold your whole bird.
Normally, you’ll require about 3 – 5 gallons of oil to deep fry your turkey.
Related post: Electric Turkey Fryer Vs Propane
Oil less turkey fryer
You do not have to add oil to fry your turkey. Radiant heat is used to cook it. Resulting turkey is low fat, moist and tasty. It can run by electric power or a tank of propane gas.
There is no expensive peanut oil to buy, no used oil to store and no oily mess to clean up.
It is very hands free. You do not have to constantly monitor the correct oil temperature as in the deep fryer that uses oil.
The Charbroil Big Easy oil less turkey fryer is a good example of an oil free fryer that is powered by propane.
The Masterbuilt oil free turkey fryer uses electric power to cook the turkey – no oil, no open flame.
Related Post : Best Turkey Fryers For Home Use
2 Important Turkey Fryer Accessories You Should Have
With the instant read thermometer, you can cook your turkey to perfection.
No more overcooked turkey with dry and tough meat.
The Charbroil instant read thermometer measures temperatures for seven different types of meat.
Get the Stainless Steel Thermometer that comes with a long thin probe and side clip. This long stem stainless steel thermometer makes it especially suitable for use when deep frying a whole turkey submerged in oil in a tall pot.
Heat Resistant Oven Mitts
An extra long 5 finger ribbed design heat resistant gloves offer protection against heat and oil splatters.
Those with extreme heat resistance are perfect for deep frying purposes.
The Gearonic BBQ Long Large Heat Resistant Grill Gloves are made with premium quality insulated and silicone lined Aramid Fibers.
This is a type of high performance, heat resistant, and heavy duty synthetic known for its ability to withstand high heat and repeated use.
2) What Are The Best Ways To Thaw Your Frozen Turkey?
Between the 3 methods mentioned below, you’ll have to cook the turkey immediately after thawing if using the cold water or microwave option.
As for thawing in the fridge, you can still wait for a day or 2 before deep frying the turkey.
Thawing In The Fridge
- According to USDA, you’ll need about 24 hours for every 4 – 5 pounds of the whole bird when thawing the bird in the refrigerator. Make sure it’s completely thawed and wiped dry inside as well as outside before deep frying the bird. When water mixes with hot oil, vigorous splattering occurs and can cause a large fire if oil overflows onto the burning flame.
- For a 12 – 16 pounds turkey, it’ll take about 3 – 4 days thawing in the refrigerator set at a temperature of 40°F.
Thawing In Cold Tap Water
- Another way is cold water thawing. Put the wrapped turkey (sealed inside plastic bag) submerged in cold tap water.
- Water has to be changed to maintain the coldness.
- Estimate about 30 minutes for every pound of the bird. The 12 – 16 pounds turkey will be thawed in about 6 – 8 hours time.
Thawing In The Microwave
- This method is more for a smaller size turkey.
- Check the manual’s instructions for per pound thawing time.
- You’ll have to cook the bird immediately after thawing as certain parts might be warm and slightly cooked.
3) What To Do With The Used Oil After Frying Turkey?
- Don’t pour oil down the kitchen sink or drain – Oil can solidify inside your plumbing system, blocking your pipes as well as your sewer lines
- Don’t pour it into your home compost pile – The fats cannot break down properly (not hot enough in the home compost pile) resulting in stinking rot instead
- Filter the oil and store in original container for reuse – Can keep up to 6 months in the refrigerator or about a month in a cool dark place
- Throw it out with the trash – Freeze it first and throw it out on garbage collection days
- Recycle the oil at your local recycling center – used cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel – can also use it for making homemade soap etc.
Related Read : Sausage Making At Home
Useful Turkey Frying Notes
Maintain oil temperature at around 350°F – check the oil temperature often. Higher temperatures can cause oil to burn or ignite.
Make sure there’s enough space between the oil level and top of pot for the bubbling oil to rise. Overflowing hot oil onto the open flame can cause a large fire.
Peanut oil with its high smoke point is the recommended oil for deep frying. In case of allergies, choose other vegetable oils with high smoke points
Estimated cooking time for your whole turkey when deep frying in oil is about 3 – 5 minutes per pound of bird. Turkey parts such as breast or wings should be about 4 – 5 minutes per pound
Make sure temperature is about 165 – 170°F in the cooked breast and 180°F in the cooked thigh – make use of the meat thermometer.
Inject marinades in several parts of the turkey (breast, thighs, drumsticks) for more moist and flavorful turkey meat.
Leftovers should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking
Oven mitts that reaches to the arm or heat resistance gloves are necessary to prevent burns and scalds from the bubbling hot oil.
Do not forget the fire extinguisher