You might balk at the idea of deep fat frying a turkey, but is it really that different to making your own KFC? It’s perhaps no surprise that this cooking trend started in the USA, where it is fast becoming a popular alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Aside from its crispy taste, the main attraction of sautéing a turkey is that it saves a lot of time. Whereas a full-sized turkey can take four to five hours when cooked in the oven, it only takes around 45 minutes in the fryer.
However, as you might imagine, dropping a five-kilogram bird into a boiling vat of oil isn’t without its risks. There have been 168 turkey- fryer related fires, burns, carbon monoxide poisonings and explosions in the US since 2002, injuring 672 people and causing $8 million in property damage, according to the American National Safety Council. But there are some simple things you can do to make sure you don’t become another turkey fryer fire statistic, such as wearing protective gear, cooking outside, and having a carbon dioxide or dry powder extinguisher nearby in case of a fire – don’t ever use water. If you fancy finding out what all the deep fat-fried fuss is about, follow our simple guide.
Step 1: Set up your cooking space
Prepare the turkey how you like it, but ensure that it is completely defrosted and dry when it goes in the oil. Set up your pot and camping stove outside as far from you house. Make sure its on a flat surface, so it doesn’t topple over. To know roughly how much oil you should put in the pot place the turkey inside and fill it with water until the whole bird is covered. Once covered remove the turkey and mark the volume of water on the side of the vat.
Step 2: Time to start cooking
Dry the pot and the turkey before actually cooking. Fill the pot with peanut oil up to the point you marked. Light your camp stove and wait for the oil to heat up. Once heated to the correct temperature for your birds weight, between 177-204 Celsius (350-400 Fahrenheit), shut off the heat. This is so you can safely put in the turkey in the pot. Lower the bird as slowly as possible as it will bubble violently. Once the bird is submerged, turn the heat back on.
Step 3: Watch the weather
Using a deep-fry thermometer, regularly check the temperature; when the turkey enters the oil the temperature in the pot will drop a little bit. Always keep an eye on the weather while you cook outside. While rain during a summer barbecue can be a bit of a dampener, cold rain hitting hot oil will make it a spit, which is a health risk. Also, make sure the wind doesn’t rise, as this could also knock over the pot, spilling grease everywhere like a medieval siege weapon.
Step 4: Drain off the oil
The turkey is done when the dark meat is at an internal temperature of 80-82 Celsius and all white meat is at an internal temperature of 74-78 Celsius. When the turkey is cooked through, shut off the heat before removing the bird. Slowly lift the turkey out of the oil and hold it there for awhile to let any oil inside drain out, then serve. If you want, the oil can be filtered and reused several times once cooled.
What you will need
Burnguard Cooking Gloves
These gloves can reach up your forearms to protect you from any splashes, they are machine washable and resistant to grease and steam.
£40 | $50 | burnguard.com
The long sturdy measurer can read between the temperatures of 100-500 Fahrenheit or 40-260 Celcius. The devices comes with a handy clip so you can attach it to pots and leave them.
£5 | $10 | starfrit.com