Deep-fried turkey is a popular delicacy in the southern United States. Over recent years, it has become famous in other states, as it is easy to prepare it with a deep fryer. However, some people struggle to fry their turkey well. It is vital to choose the right fryer and to prepare your turkey properly. In this post, we explore various ways to slaughter and prepare turkey and the best turkey fryer .
Slaughtering turkeys is an exciting experience for some people. It can, however, be messy if you are inexperienced. USDA should assess and approve your facility first if you intend to sell your turkeys to restaurants, . Also, it should meet state and local poultry processing requirements.
Nevertheless, if you want to sell them directly to clients, it is not compulsory to seek approval from USDA. Instead, a nearby extension service can approve the facility. Slaughtering a turkey comprises two major activities.
- Gather Supplies
Ensure that you have all the necessary supplies before you start slaughtering the turkey. Set up the slaughter area properly. You can mount a huge killing cone to the side of your facility. Choose several sharp knives which are four or six inches long. Purchase the killing cone from a butchery or a supply store.
You need a bucket to collect blood beneath your killing cone. Other major supplies include fresh water, a table to process the turkey, a scalding tank to dunk the turkey, a cooler to chill the birds, paper towels, plastic bags and a cutting board.
- Process the Bird
Grab the turkey’s feet and hang it upside down to calm it by letting blood flow to its head. Place it gently in your killing cone. Pull the head through the lower part of the killing cone and hold it firmly. Use a sharp knife to cut the tendon which attaches its tongue and beak. Aim at the carotid artery and jugular vein.
Make tow deep cuts at the sides of the turkey’s neck and pull its head down. Let the blood collect in the bucket. Boil some water to over 130 degrees Fahrenheit and dip the turkey inside. Hold its legs and insert the headfirst. Rotate the bird sideways, and vertically. Check it regularly to determine whether you can easily pluck the feathers.
Once they soften, remove the turkey and hold it firmly on a board using several nails to remove the feathers.After plucking it, rinse the turkey thoroughly. Dismember its feet by cutting the joints. Cut off the head with a cleaver or a steak knife. Slit its neck to loosen the esophagus and trachea. Loosen its crop before detaching it from the rest of the body. Insert your knife above the tiny vent and carefully slit the skin up to its breastbone.
Do it precisely to avoid cutting the intestines. Cut both sides of its vent to remove it fast.
Gently rub your hands over the ribs to remove the entrails. Remove the gizzard once you locate it and remove the crop, esophagus and trachea after loosening them. Use lung scrapers to remove the bird’s lungs. Alternatively, you could just pull them. Remove its neck by detaching adjacent muscles and bend it through its bone.
Rinse both the inside and outside parts of your turkey and place it in a cooler with ice and water. Ensure that you have submerged it completely. Remove and dry the turkey after it cools for 30 minutes. Afterwards, you can package it in a vacuum sealer or a zip-close bag. Generally, fresh turkey should be kept for several days before freezing to prevent it from hardening.
What is a Turkey Fryer?
A standard turkey fryer comprises a burner, basket, a lifter, a thermometer and a stockpot. The burner usually uses a propane tank which you can buy separately. Modern units are lower than traditional burners. They are more stable thus preventing the fryer from tipping over. Some burner units have a steel burner and an aluminum pot. On the other hand, high-tech units have a burner and a stain-resistant steel pot.
Some pots have a special valve to discharge the oil. A typical poultry holder has a steel or aluminum disk. It has a coiled metal rod whose ends are attached to the middle of your disk. Place the loop through the vent and use a lifter to remove or lower the bird. If you prefer using a basket, you grab the bail to lift it up. The thermometer may have an extended probe and it efficiently monitors the temperature of the frying oil.
You can also use the fryer to cook seafood or different poultry. Cover the pot with a stock lid when it is not frying. It is recommended to wear an apron and gloves. Some retailers include a separate temperature control valve consisting of a valve which extends near the burner and propane tank. The lead has a temperature sensor that is immersed in the oil. The valve regulates the flame to get the right temperature.
Electric fryers are ideal for indoor use. Although they have a slow heating up rate, they contain a thermostat and a safety shut-off device. You can use them to prepare different meals by boiling or frying.
How to Prepare for Deep Frying
After slaughtering and processing the turkey, deep-frying it is the next activity. However, you need to prepare it and the fryer first.
- Prepare the Turkey
Ensure that theturkey is dry and it has a hollow cavity by removing its giblets and neck. While preparing it, you might decide to season it first. You could inject it with a marinade to make a moist and delicious meal. Prepare an injector and a thick marinade sauce.
Marinade sauces and injectors are available in different grocery stores. Inject the marinade evenly to spread the flavor in your steak. Put the meat in a refrigerator for several hours avoid reusing the marinade.
- Prepare the Turkey Fryer
Prepare your fryer once you have marinated the turkey. An ordinary deep fryer has a stand to put inside the cavity of your bird. Put the loop through the bird’s neck and let it run to the body cavity between its legs. Use a thick string to tie the legs together.
Use the fill line to pour oil into your stockpot. It is recommended to use high-quality oil with a maximum temperature of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. And a smoking point including peanut oil or canola. Tie the thermometer at the top of your pot and turn on your outdoor cooker starting with a low flame. Increase it little by little until the oil attains a temperature of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid being far from the cooker for long. At times, it is necessary to turn your temperature control severally to maintain an ideal temperature if the weather is windy. Generally, it takes half an hour to reach the right oil temperature. Also, keep pets and children away from the best turkey fryer to avoid accidents.
Follow the instructions from the fryer manufacturer to use it properly and to avoid damaging it. Do not use an outdoor fryer inside the house or in an enclosed space. It is risky to use an indoor fryer in an open space. If you reside in a chilly area, you might have to spend several hours outside before the turkey is ready.
Why Should You Deep Fry Turkey?
One of the main reasons why many people prefer deep-frying their turkey is that it enables you to prepare a crispy and tasty meal within an incredibly short period. Typically, it takes less than an hour for the bird to be ready. However, extra time is needed to clean up and to heat the oil.
Sometimes, you might overcook your turkey. Although it is not recommended, the meat is normally tasty like overcooked roasted poultry. It is not as dry as most people assume it would be. Pull it before the temperature exceeds 145 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid overcooking the meat.
If you pull it when its coldest part has a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, the internal temperature will be 155 degrees Fahrenheit. You will have a delicious meal. Nevertheless, if you are fond of making gravy from turkey drippings, it is wise not to deep-fry the turkey since it does not produce any drippings.
Most outdoor and indoor fryer manufacturers claim that their products can accommodate an 18-pound turkey. Consider cooking a bird that is less than 18 pounds. Naturally, small turkeys cook evenly compared to large birds. You can easily burn the skin of a huge turkey before it is properly cooked. Besides, an 18-pound fryer might have structural inadequacies in its setup.
If for example, you use an outdoor fryer, it could spill the oil even after you have carefully measured it to ensure that it is below the recommended maximum-fill line. In an outdoor fryer, the bird might get stuck hence jamming its rotisserie mechanism. Deep-fry a turkey that is less than 15 pounds while using an 18-pound fryer.
Check if there is ice concealed in the cavity of your turkey. It is risky to put an icy bird in boiling oil especially if it has huge blocks of ice. A defrosted bird might contain ice inside the body cavity and between its rib bones. Customarily, the cavity remains cold even after you have thawed the other parts of the turkey.
How to Deep Fry a Turkey Outdoors
Outdoor deep-frying is the most common method used to fry the turkey. You require a large outdoor fryer that consists of a burner, a pot, a hanger, lowering mechanism, a stand and a thermometer. There are different types of outdoor fryers such as Bayou Classic and Brinkman. Both models have numerous positive reviews.
Attach the fryer to a propane cylinder. However, avoid inventing your own setup as it might result in a fire outbreak. When applying this technique, most people place the fryer close to their house or combustible substances.
Some of them overfill their pot hence causing the oil to spill when they lower the turkey. It is prudent to place a fire extinguisher which is ideal for grease fires. Avoid extinguishing the fire with water, as it will splash the oil.
First, determine the amount of oil you require to avoid spilling it. Place the turkey in the stockpot and add water until it covers the bird by more than an inch. Measure its quantity before removing the bird and drying it with a paper towel. Normally, the water left inside the pot should not be above the maximum fill line. Pour it and dry the pot properly before you refill it with oil.
An ideal fryer setup is appropriate for outdoor use. It should be far from flammable objects. Avoid walking between your burner and propane tank. You might trip on your gas line thus toppling the pot.
After the oil achieves a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit, insert the hanger inside the cavity of your turkey and ensure that it hooks well. It should hold the bird firmly. Wear thick shoes and oven mitts to avoid exposing your skin when you lower the bird into the hot oil. It is not wise to wear sandals, shorts or t-shirts.
Turn off the burner and relight it after you have inserted the bird in the stockpot to prevent it from flaring up. Lower the bird slowly as you dip it in the oil. If you notice anything strange, lift out the bird rather than dropping it in the pot. Splashing oil causes severe burns.
Oil may spill even if you carefully measured its amount to cater for displacement, even though the bird was dry and even if you lowered it gently. In such a scenario, the oil may splash and ignite down the burner hence forcing you to use a fire extinguisher. Once you lower the turkey, it fries fast. Some people claim that it takes three minutes to deep-fry one pound of poultry.
Initially, the oil will be above the bird but it slowly decreases as the turkey cooks. In the end, a huge portion of the meat will be exposed. However, it does not harden its skin. Use a hook to remove the turkey when you want to check its temperature.
Lift it slowly to allow oil to drain. You can ask a family member or friend to read the temperature. The meat will be ready once it achieves 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow it to cool down for 30 minutes before serving it.
How to Fry Turkey Indoors
Many people are unaware that it is possible to fry the turkey indoors. The Waring’s fryer is suitable for indoor applications. It is safer than outdoor frying. However, it requires a lot of oil.
The fryer has a big countertop to place huge pieces of fried chicken. It has a special rotisserie which makes it ideal for frying turkey. Although it is more expensive than most outdoor setups, it has numerous applications including steaming different foods.
The rotisserie prevents you from fully submerging your turkey in the cooking oil. Instead, it rotates it continuously thereby reducing the amount of oil required.it prevents an overflow from occurring. Skewer the bird on your rotisserie to pass it through the breast, wishbone and thighs. Follow the instructions from the fryer manufacturer to truss the bird.
Tighten all parts of the turkey against its body to prevent them from getting stuck and spoiling the rotisserie. Afterwards, set the bird and place it inside a fryer basket to spin it freely. If the basket catches the turkey, it shows that the bird is beyond the maximum capacity of your fryer. An 18-pound turkey is likely to get caught in an 18-pound fryer.
Use an instant-read thermometer to check if the oil is hot. If it is ready, lower the bird carefully. A standard basket has several spring-loaded clips which you can retract through squeezing their handles. Extend the clips to catch on the sides of the turkey fryer. You could use a control to lower the turkey until it is partially submerged.
Switch on the rotisserie to start spinning. Constantly check the oil temperature since the fryer requires less oil and the turkey will drop it faster than in an outdoor fryer. For example, if you cook an 18-pound turkey, it might be difficult for the dryer to recover its oil temperature. It might remain below 300 degrees Fahrenheit for long.
Use a thermometer to check your oil temperature and lift the turkey if it cannot exceed 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower back the bird one the oil recovers its temperature. You might have to repeat it severally until the oil achieves a constant temperature and the turkey gets heated up. This is a major disadvantage of most outdoor turkey fryers.
You can easily check the temperature of your bird while it is inside an indoor deep fryer. Switch off the rotisserie, pull up the basket before you insert the thermometer. The fryer has a lid that has a spatter.
Once the turkey is cooked, remove the fryer from the basket and allow it to cool down for a while before you remove its rotisserie spit and twine. Normally, turkey which is fried indoors is as tasty as the one which is fried outdoor. It requires the same amount of time. Also, you just submerge the bird partially.
Safety Concerns of Deep Frying Turkey
Deep fried turkey is normally crispy, dark and juicy. Deep-frying it can be risky, as it has caused numerous fires in the recent past. Here are several safety tips to help you deep-fry your bird properly.
- Fill the Right Amount of Oil
The best way to determine the amount of oil you require is to put the bird in an empty fryer then fill it with water. Remove the turkey after several minutes and mark the water line. Typically, the oil should not exceed the maximum-fill line to prevent it from spilling over when you fry your turkey.
- Gently Dip the Turkey in the Oil
Take caution when holding the bird. It tends to be slippery due to the oil. If it slips and you drop it in your oil fast, the oil might splash or overflow hence burning you. Instead, lower the turkey gently and slowly.
- Safety Gear
Wear an apron, gloves and goggles whenever you intend to deep fry turkey. Also, avoid being too close to the fryer. Naturally, oil splatters when it boils thereby causing blisters and burns.
- Measure the Temperature
Ensure you have a functional thermometer before you start cooking the turkey. Use it to check whether the oil is hot before you dip in the bird. However, it should not overheat. Fry the bird until it attains the right temperature and remove it from the fryer. Turn off your fryer.
- Check the Fryer Regularly
Do not abandon your fryer while frying the turkey. If you prefer to cook it outdoor, pick each item you require and put them outside. You could also ask a family member or friend to retrieve items which you forgot. A fire could start within several minutes and spread rapidly. You should stay close to the fryer until the meat is ready.
Set up the deep fryer on a level surface which is far from your home or garage. Do not place it on a wooden deck, under a huge tree or close to a woodpile. Choose an ideal location including the mid-section of a driveway.
- Thaw Your Turkey
As you are aware, oil and water cannot mix. Completely thaw the bird before you place it close to the fryer. If it is still wet, when you dip it in the oil, the oil could boil over resulting in a huge fire.
- Fire Extinguisher
Deep frying turkey has several health and security risks. It is prudent to place a fire extinguisher nearby. Once a fire starts, it could spread rapidly hence damaging your house and property.
How to Clean a Turkey Fryer
Food particles and cooking oil stick to the fryer when you deep-fry the turkey. Unlike other dishes, it takes extra effort and time to clean a deep fryer. We have discussed how to clean a turkey fryer properly.
If you use the turkey fryer frequently, it is advisable to change the oil and clean it after several days to prevent grime from building up. On the other hand, if you deep-fry turkey occasionally, clean the fryer once you fry your turkey. Avoid immersing it in dishwater as it may extensively damage the fryer. Also, avoid cleaning the deep fryer when it is plugged in.
Allow the oil to cool for some time and do not add water to hot oil. If you intend to reuse the cooking oil, pour it in a safe container that has a sealed lid and put it in a refrigerator.
You could throw it away. It is risky to pour oil in your sink as it could clog it. Put several drops of a washing detergent on your basket for a while before you clean it. Use damp paper towels to remove the oil residue and food particles from your deep fryer.
If the cooking oil has solidified, carefully remove it with a spatula to retain the finish. Some lids are easy to clean. Dispose of used oil and scrape it from plastic utensils. Many turkey fryers contain different heating components, which comprise several metal rods. Wipe them with dry paper towels if they are coated with oil. Take caution not to damage fragile parts including thin wires.
Some fryers comprise removable heating components that are easy to clean. Other elements are connected to a hinge which you can lift close to the fryer’s surface. Put four drops of dish soap on the base and four drops around its size. Start cleaning it from the bottom as you scrub to lather. Continue scrubbing in a circular movement.
Pour water in a kettle instead of placing the fryer in a wet sink. Use the same amount of water as you would require when deep-frying the bird. Allow it to cool for half an hour. If the tap water is warm, heat a small amount in the kettle until it boils. Don’t abandon the turkey fryer and fill it with water when it is plugged in. Unplug it after a while and allow the water to cool.
Remove caked up food particles with a scrubbing-brush. Rinse your basket to get rid of soap remnants and dry it with paper towels. Place it on a dish rack to dry up completely. Read the fryer manufacturer instructions to determine whether you can remove or clean the filters. Wash grease-filters in soapy water and allow them to dry while charcoal filters need regular replacement, as it is difficult to clean them once they get clogged.
If you are unable to remove all the filters, it is tricky to immerse your lid in hot water. Wipe it with a damp towel and add a detergent. Remove the oil and soap with a damp cloth after some time. After the water has cooled, pour some of it in your sink. Wipe its bottom and sides with a sponge and water the rest of the water in the sink.
At times, you might see some caked up oil on your fryer even after washing it with hot dishwater. Add baking powder to the warm water to have a thick solution. Soak a sponge in the solution to scrub off hidden parts of the fryer.
Use abrasive chemicals to clean the fryer as the last resort. If you apply an oven cleaner, scrub the fryer with soapy water and rinse it severally to remove all chemical traces before you fry the turkey.
Pour clean water in the stockpot and swirl it severally to remove soap from the base and sides of your deep fryer. Drain the dirty water and refill the cooking pot with clean water until it is soap-free. If there are some grease films, rinse the pot a precise amount of diluted vinegar. For example, you could add 2 parts of vinegar for 20 parts of clean water.
Dry the pot with a paper towel before you use it again. Scrub the outside of your fryer with a dry towel and allow the air inside to dry naturally. Wait until it is completely dry to prevent water from damaging its electrical system. Plug in the turkey fryer once it dries up.
The Best Turkey Fryer
Here is a list of the top turkey fryers in 2018.
Char-Broil TRU Turkey Fryer
Our first best turkey fryers, the Char-Broil TRU applies infrared heat to fry or roast meat. You do not require to purchase oil or splatter. The fryer cooks turkey within a short period. It takes about 10 minutes to deep-fry one pound of poultry. Its oil-less nature makes it appropriate to cook different foods. It has a huge cooking basket that can accommodate up to 16 pounds. Also, it comes with an efficient thermometer to determine when the meat is ready.
Backyard PRO 30 Turkey Fryer
Pure Filters sell Backyard Pro best turkey fryer. It is an all-in-one turkey fryers package that meets your frying and outdoor steaming needs. The cooking basket has a 20-pound capacity and you could use it to prepare seafood broil. The turkey fryers has a robust steel base that has a 55,000 BTU burner. The package contains different accessories including a 12-inch thermometer, a 1 oz. injector and a 3-piece skewer set.
Bayou Classic 1118 Turkey Fryer
Bayou Classic Stainless Steel is a sturdy steel deep fryer with an ergonomic design. This fryer has a turkey rack and a boil basket. The basket perfectly fits in the stockpot and it rests on the internal rim. It is appropriate for turkey frying as well as frying potatoes, crabs and seafood. Usually, it takes 3 minutes to prepare one pound of meat.
King Kooker 1265BF3 Turkey Fryer
If you intend to fry a large turkey weighing 20 pounds, King Kooker Stainless Steel would be the best option. The King Kooker outdoor package comes with two pots, a 12-inch outdoor cooker with a 33,000 BTU high-pressure burner and a 29-quart aluminum pot. Monitor the temperature of your cooking oil regularly with a deep-fry thermometer.
Bayou Classic 3025 Turkey Fryer
A standard Bayou Classic 3024 Fryer kit constitutes an aluminum fryer pot, a poultry rack, a pot lid, 12-inch fryer thermometer, a 1-ounce injector and a grab hook. CSA has approved the 30-quart fryer kit. Bayou Classic is designed for cooking whole turkeys in less than 45 minutes. The poultry rack enables you to insert and lift the bird.
Deep turkey frying has gained popularity in most countries globally. There are two major types of deep-frying, indoor and outdoor frying. Each type of deep frying requires a particular turkey fryer. You need to take certain safety measures to prevent accidents from occurring while frying your bird. They include filling the right amount of oil, wearing safety gear, measuring the temperature in your electric turkey fryer and thawing the turkey properly.