Truth be told, my husband and I have cooked our holiday turkeys a number of different ways over the past 6 years that we’ve been together. We’ve smoked them on the Big Green Egg, fried them (without oil) in a Big Easy infrared fryer, and slow-cooked them in a Cajun microwave (which mimics the Cajun way of cooking a hog in the ground under coals). This Thanksgiving, we opted for the most dangerous – yet most delicious – cooking method of them all: deep frying.
Growing up, I actually did not like Thanksgiving turkey and always piled my plate high with juicy, sweet slices of HoneyBaked Ham instead. I’m not sure who in our huge extended family cooked it, or how, but it was always dry and not very flavorful. Now while I don’t think Brent has cooked a bad turkey in 6 years, this deep-fried turkey was truly something special. So much so, our daughter (who, though not picky, is not much of a meat eater) kept running back to him after the first one was cooked, begging for just one more taste (ruining her appetite for the actual Thanksgiving meal!) More than that, we cooked two 9 lb birds, and each one took just about 30 minutes in the fryer, start to delicious finish. That sure beats several hours roasting in the oven!
Now, deep-frying a turkey CAN turn into a nightmare if you don’t take the proper precautions. We bought smallish birds (9 lbs) to save on the actual cooking time, made sure they had NEVER been frozen, and patted them down with paper towels to get each bird as dry as possible before submerging it in the hot peanut oil. Also, make sure to NEVER deep fry a turkey indoors or with any kind of overhang (this should go without saying, but people still do it, with horrible consequences!).
Want to try deep-fried turkey for Christmas? Check out this Creole Deep-Fried Turkey recipe from Southern Living. If you don’t like Creole seasoning, simply substitute your favorite rub or seasoning – we actually used plain old salt and pepper, which worked great!