I wrote this article for another blog last year. I thought it would be interesting for anyone thinking about deep-frying a turkey. I made a few minor updates to the article. After this Thanksgiving, I'll post about our turkey day festivities.
Every Thanksgiving, we get together at Jane and Mark's place and cook a big feast. It's usually an East meets West affair, with a combination of traditional turkey day favorites along with a variety of Asian dishes. Over the years, we've had roasted turkeys the conventional way, brined and even a Peking turkey, which is a turkey prepared Peking duck style. Several years ago, we deep-fried a turkey and it was spectacular. Now it's our preferred turkey cooking method.
Most of us are dark meat people and think white meat is dry when roasted in the oven. The white meat of a deep-fried turkey is the juiciest white meat we've ever had, and it's not greasy at all. Even better, you don't have to slave over the oven for a couple of hours. It takes less than 50 minutes (3.5 minutes per pound) to fry a 14 lb turkey. There's no way we would go back to roasting a turkey in the oven again.
If you are apprehensive about deep-frying a turkey, it's most likely due to health concerns and/or the potential fire danger. Prior to having deep-fried turkey, I thought the meat would be on the greasy side, which is not the case at all. From an article previously on Epicurious...
Continue Reading and Get the Recipe »
Today, though everyone from Martha to Emeril has gotten in the act, fried turkey is still a foreign concept to many, who think of it as a comically large, batter-fried, dripping-with-grease bird. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. When dropped in a vat of boiling peanut oil, the turkey becomes a crispy amber beacon of juicy deliciousness — to put it in technical terms. "The hot oil has a flash-frying effect on the turkey, which seals the skin and all the moisture in it," says Aricka Westbrooks, owner of Jive Turkey, a fried turkey restaurant and distributor in Brooklyn, New York, of all places. Since the high temperature of the oil seals the skin, the result is moist, juicy meat with what Westbrooks describes as a velvety texture.
The high temperature keeps it from absorbing much oil — some studies claim a whole turkey absorbs less than a tablespoon. The key is to keep the oil above 340°F. According to the National Turkey Federation, a 5.9-ounce serving of fried turkey prepared with a dry rub has approximately 383 calories and 21 grams of fat. Compare that to roast turkey's 362 calories and 16 grams of fat. (Calories and fat grams of roast turkey vary according to preparation.)