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Deep Fry a Turkey
Any cooking vessel large enough to hold both a turkey and enough oil can be used as a deep fryer. For a simpler method, there are also a number of deep fryers on the market that are specifically designed to deep-fry a small turkey. According to the USDA, whole turkeys that are destined to be deep-fried should weigh no more than 12 pounds, be completely thawed and should remain unstuffed for the cooking process.
Outdoor Turkey Deep Fryer
Long handled tongs, cooking forks and spatulas
Set up your deep fryer according to the manufacturer's instructions if using a dedicated deep fryer appliance. Use fresh cooking oil to bring the level of the oil in the fryer to the fill line marked inside the cooking vessel.
Heat the oil in the deep fryer to 350 degrees F. For some propane deep fryers, a dial gauge may be available on the outside of the appliance to alert you to the temperature, for others a thermometer may be necessary to determine temperature.
Place the bird in the cooking basket and lower the turkey into the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per pound. For example, for a 12 pound turkey, check for doneness after 40 minutes of cooking.
Lift the basket and remove the turkey from the hot oil, allowing all oil to drain from the cavities. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of both the breast and the thigh to check for internal temperature. The thermometer should read 165 degrees F. If not, return the turkey to the hot oil for another minute per pound.
Line a heavy platter with several layers of paper towels. Use long handled tongs, meat forks or spatulas to move the deep fried turkey from the cooking basket to the platter.
Allow the deep fried turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Words to the Wise:
If your fryer does not have markings for oil levels for turkey, it is simple to determine how much oil you will need. Place the turkey into the empty fryer, and add water to completely cover the turkey by several inches. Remove the turkey and measure the water. The amount of water measured is how much oil you will need to deep fry the turkey. This method can be used to deep fry turkey in a large stockpot or other vessel other than a dedicated fryer.
When using a deep fryer of any kind, indoors or out, always keep children and pets away from the fryer. Spills can cause severe burns.