Enjoy Fried Turkey for Thanksgiving

Frying your bird for Thanksgiving is a popular (and delicious) way to enjoy your feast. Nonetheless, as with any cooking, there are some guidelines to follow to avoid a turkey disaster.

Here are some tips from the USDA:

  • Don’t buy your bird too early…
    • If bought fresh, keep it in the refrigerator (40ºF or less) and cook within one to two days.
    • If bought frozen, it takes 4-5 lb. per day to thaw safely in the refrigerator. Once thawed, cook the turkey within one to two days.
  • Smaller turkeys work best for frying. The bird should be no larger than 12 lb. Or you can fry it in parts, instead, such as breasts, wings, or legs. It should be fresh, completely thawed, and not stuffed.
  • When working with large amounts of hot oil, select a cooking vessel large enough to completely submerge the turkey without it spilling over. The oil should cover the turkey by 1”-2”. 
  • If you bought a frozen turkey and don’t have time to thaw it in the fridge, use the quick-thaw water method. 
    • Submerge the frozen bagged bird in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes, so it continues to thaw. Estimate about 30 minutes per pound. Remember, when thawed completely, the bird must be cooked immediately.
  • Select a safe location outdoors for deep fat frying a turkey. Heat the cooking oil to 350º. Very slowly and carefully lower the bird into the hot oil. Monitor the temperature of the oil with a thermometer during cooking. Never leave the oil unattended.
  • Allow approximately 3-5 minutes of cook time per pound. When reaching the approximate time needed, check to see if the turkey is safely cooked. 
    • DO NOT test the temperature while the turkey is submerged in the oil. Remove the turkey from the oil and drain the oil from the cavity. 
    • With a food thermometer, check the internal temperature of the bird in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safely cooked when it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF. If the turkey hasn’t reached 165º in all three locations, return it to the hot oil for additional cooking.
  • When the turkey reaches 165º, place it on a sturdy tray lined with paper towels. The skin can range in color from golden to dark brown to black. Let it rest about 20 minutes before carving.
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