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A Deep Fried Thanksgiving

Last week Tucker and I drove to Michigan to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. It was a great time. Tucker loved the road trip. When we arrived I learned that we were going to deep-fry a Turkey. I have done this a couple of time before, so I helped prepare a marinade and we were off to deep-fry.  Deep Frying is quick, easy and delicious.

Deep Fried Thanksgiving

Deep Fried Thanksgiving

Deep-frying gives you crispy skin and some of the juiciest turkey around.

Deep Fried Turkey

  • 10-15lb turkeys work the best
  • Marinade – Made thin as the injector had small holes
    • 2 sticks of butter
    • 1/2 cup water or beer
    • 2 tbs garlic powder
    • 1 tbs Cajun seasoning
    • 1 tbs onion powder
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp cayenne pepper


  • 1 turkey fryer
  • 3 1/2 to 5 gallons of oil
  • meat thermometer
  • meat injector
  • fire extinguisher

Prepping The Fryer

The first step is to setup the fryer.  Place it in a open space away from your house on a level surface.  Make sure to fry on a non-flammable surface.  Yep, stay away from your deck.  A driveway works, but remember there will be some oil spillage and it will stain your driveway.  We chose to fry in the backyard on the grass.

Next fill the fryer up with oil.  A simple way to determine how much oil you need is to place the turkey in the pot and then fill it will water, just until it covers the bird.  Next remove the bird from the pot.  When you remove it, take note of the height of the water remaining in the pot.  That is exactly how much oil you will need.  Sounds like a unnecessary step, but too much oil, will cause the oil to overflow and then you have a giant grease fire.  That is totally not cool.   Remove the water from the pot.  Completely dry the pot and then add oil up to the previous water level.

Light the fryer and bring the temperature up to around 375 degrees.  This is a little hot for frying turkeys, but remember the bird will be cold and the oil temp will drop.

Marinating the Bird

Now it is time to prepare the bird.  A nice flavorful injection will give you a great tasting bird.  You can do a rub, but in my experience the rub usually burns in the oil and doesn’t always give you the best results.  The no fail method, marinating.

In a pan, add the butter, beer or water, and the seasonings.  Heat till the butter is melted and the ingredients are all incorporated.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

Making the Marinade

Making the Marinade

Rinse the turkey and dry it off completely.  Water is not your friend when you deep fry.  Next inject the turkey all over with the marinade.  Make sure to inject the breast, thighs and legs all over.

Inject Inject Inject

Inject Inject Inject

Place the turkey on the deep fry stand and then wipe the outer surface to soak up any marinade that might have oozed out.  Let the turkey sit and marinate while the oil is coming to temperature.

Cooking the Turkey

When the oil is to temperature, slowly place the turkey into the oil.  Take your time.  It took about 2 minutes to slowly lower the turkey all the way into the oil.  If you rush it, the oil will boil over and once again, you have a grease fire.  Not cool people.

Slowly lower the turkey

Slowly lower the turkey

Monitor the oil and make sure the temperature stays around 350 degrees while the bird is in the oil.  Since we started at 375 it should be at or near 350 after the bird is placed in the fryer.

350 People

350 People

Cook the bird for roughly 2 1/2 minutes a pound.  12 pound bird would approximately take 30 minutes.  When this time is up, lift the bird and take the temperature in the breast.  If the bird is at 165 in the breast,  it is done.  If not slowly lower it and cook for 5 more minutes and repeat until the breast is at 165.

Looks like one tasty hot tub

Looks like one tasty hot tub

– Cool tip.  The oil temperature will start to steadily increase as the bird cooks.  When you see a major spike/increase in the temperature of the oil, you can be pretty sure that that the cooking of the bird is nearing completion.

When the temp reaches 165 remove the turkey from the fryer and place on a sheet pan.  Then cover in foil and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

So Tasty....

So Tasty....

Make sure to utilize all of the skin when you carve the turkey.

Safety Tips

  • Never leave the oil unattended
  • Don’t let your kids or pets play around the deep fryer
  • Make sure to pre-measure the oil needed
  • Let the oil cool completely before disposing of it
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case
  • Don’t cook inside your house or garage
  • Don’t cook in the rain – This is a big one people
    • If it is raining, don’t decide to cook in your garage, see the warning above.
  • Start by cooking the turkey for 2 1/2 minutes a pound.  It could take up to 3 minutes a pound, but it is easier to cook the turkey for a bit longer than to explain to your guests why the turkey is overcooked.

Overall had a great time in Michigan.  Like I said, Tucker loves the car rides.  Here is a pic of him getting a little wind in his face and blowing his cheeks out.  I know he shouldn’t stick his head out, but he loves it so much.

Tucker having fun on the road trip

Tucker having fun on the road trip



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  • comment avatar Chris December 5, 2009

    Tucker isn’t just sticking his head out the window……he’s practicing oral hygiene:)

    Turkey looks great!

  • comment avatar Aunt Heidi December 5, 2009

    I love the beers sitting next to the turkey! We deep fried ours, as well. Yum!

    • comment avatar Rex December 6, 2009

      Aunt Heidi, We placed the beers intentionally in the picture. You can't deep fry a turkey without drinking. Haha.

  • comment avatar KS December 7, 2009

    Have you tried deep frying with Rice Oil-it's the best…

    • comment avatar Rex December 7, 2009

      I have never deep fried with rice oil. I have never even used rice oil. I am extremely intrigued. Where does one procure 3 gallons of rice oil?

  • comment avatar Thrifty DC Cook December 8, 2009

    LOL…that picture is TOO funny. I hope Tucker had his seat belt on seeing that the driver was obviously really concerned about keeping both hands on the wheel.

    • comment avatar Rex December 9, 2009

      Thrifty – Things were safe. Although, I may have taken a hand off the wheel to take the picture. Look at that face, somebody had to document that for man kind.

  • comment avatar David Francis November 23, 2011

    Thanks for another great post Rex. I've been frying birds for years, if I may offer one more "cool tip." I always turn off the burner when putting the turkey in the first time. Lots of things happen when 400 degree oil is splattering all over the place and in the off chance you drop the bird or it boils over, if the flame is extinguished the possibility of an inferno is greatly reduced. Just relight it once your bird is safely in the pot. I would post a link to my how to, but I don't want to spam your comments. (grin)

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