You have all the ingredients for the big dinner—the bread, the sides, the wine, the desserts and the turkey. You got the turkey on sale and it is thawed and ready for frying. How long you fry the turkey depends on the size. With the right cooking time, your turkey will be done and ready for the big dinner.
When deep frying a turkey, it is important that the turkey is completely thawed seasoned like you would if you were going to cook the turkey in the oven. Once the seasoning is done--place the turkey upside down on a poultry rack with the legs facing up. Also, the cooking oil must be able to reach all areas of the turkey, so make sure you have made a 1-inch cut in the skin of the turkey at the leg and thigh joint.
Determining the Amount of Oil Needed
You must measure the oil correctly, otherwise you are at risk for serious injury or catching the turkey and yourself on fire. The recommended oil for frying a turkey is peanut oil. If a peanut allergy exists, use a clear frying oil instead. Use a empty cooking pot to determine how much you will need to use. The procedure is simple--just put the turkey in the pot, fill with water until the turkey is completely covered, then mark where the water stopped. The water line represents how much oil you will need.
Pouring In Oil
When pouring the oil into the cooking pot, fill to the top of your marked water line. Then follow the instructions on the fryer on how to turn on the gas and set the flame. The fryer's temperature should be 350°F prior to placing the turkey into the pot. Make sure you slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the pot. Take it slow—do not drop the turkey into the oil.
While the turkey is cooking, make sure the temperature remains at 350°F. Monitor the thermometer and do not leave fryer alone. A 12-lb. turkey takes about 36 minutes, a 15 pound turkey will take about 52 minutes to cook, and turkeys over 18 lbs. normally take about 60 minutes. The turkey should be golden brown after frying—it should not be burned.
Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.