3 Non-Traditional Ways to Prepare Your Holiday Turkey
3 gallons peanut oil for frying, or as needed
1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
1/4 cup Creole seasoning
1 white onion
In a large stockpot or turkey fryer, heat oil to 400 degrees F. Be sure to leave room for the turkey, or the oil will spill over.
If you deep fry a turkey be sure that the turkey is completly thawed and be sure that you do not over fill the turkey fryer with oil. If you try to fry a frozen turkey or you over fill your turkey deep fryer you can have a fire. Fry your turkey out in the yard away from any building, car port, or your house. Have a fire extinguisher ready. Every year many people start a fire deep frying their turkey. Some people burn down their houses. So use caution deep frying your turkey.
How to determine the amount of oil you need:
The easiest way I've found to determine the amount of oil you need is to place the turkey into the fryer and fill with water until the turkey is just covered. Remove turkey and allow to drain, pat dry with paper towels as well. Make note of the level of water in the fryer. Discard water and dry throughly. Fill frying vessel with oil to the level as noted above. This should help in preventing hot oil spill overs.
Layer a large platter with food-safe paper bags. Rinse turkey, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub Creole seasoning over turkey inside and out. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird. Place the whole onion and turkey in drain basket. The turkey should be placed in basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil to completely cover turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F, and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 45 minutes. Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F.
Finish draining turkey on the prepared platter.
Grilled Whole Turkey
12 pounds whole turkey
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium heat, and lightly oil grate. Rinse turkey, and pat dry. Place turkey breast side down on the prepared grill. Sear turkey on both sides until skin is golden to dark brown. In a large roasting pan, mix together the water, bouillon powder, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, parsley, and paprika. Place turkey breast side down in the roasting pan. Scoop the pan mixture over the turkey. Cover tightly with foil and place on grill. Grill 3 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180F. Remove turkey from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving.
1 turkey 8 to 22 lbs., fresh or completely thawed
Sweet Pickle Brine (recipe to follow)
Sweet Pickle Brine:
1 gal. water
2 1/2 cups salt, rock, pickling or canning salts are recommened
1/3 cup of light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Liquid garlic
1 oz. pickling spices
Mix well. You may need to adjust the amounts depending on the size of your bird. This recipe should suit you fine for an 8 to 12 lb. turkey.
Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water, drain and pat dry. Prepare sweet pickle brine. Brine turkey according to the following schedule, 8 to 12 lb. bird 3 days, 13 to 16 lb. bird 4 days, 17 to 22 lb. bird 5 days. Remove from brine; rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. Allow to dry in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Lock wings behind back and tie legs and tail together. Baste turkey with maple syrup before putting in smoker and every 2 hours while smoking. Position turkey on cooking grill. Smoke cook until done.
The best way to determine doneness is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey (the breast) the internal temperature should read 180 degrees F.
Smoking food is more an art than a science; this recipe is not intended for the novice. A lot of factors go into determining the cooking time for a particular food when smoking.
Cool turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving to enhance the smoked flavor. You may serve the turkey right away if you wish.
While your neighbors are putting up their Halloween decorations and scouring supermarkets for bargain candy, it’s the perfect time for you to deep fry a turkey. If you’ve been thinking about deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving but want to try it first, then October is the perfect time. It’s close enough to Thanksgiving for you to gain some valuable experience but still far enough away that your family won’t get tired of turkey sandwiches.
In October, Thanksgiving is still over a month away. It's the perfect time to get your turkey fryer out of the attic, buy some peanut oil and test out some new dry rubs or injector recipes. Let’s face it once November comes it’s too late to subject your family to a turkey test run when they're going to have it again in a few weeks on Thanksgiving. That’s a lot of turkey. And Thanksgiving dinner is a time to be thankful, not a time to try out new recipes. What if your bird tastes terrible? You don’t want your family to remember this year as the one where Dad ruined Thanksgiving.
Deep frying a practice turkey a month early will increase your comfort level on Thanksgiving. Let’s face it when working with five gallons of boiling oil you can use all the comfort you can get. And you’ll also get to enjoy a wonderful deep fried turkey without all the stress and the hassles that the holidays bring.
Your prep work should include making sure your propane tank is full and check to see if your fire extinguisher is charged and ready for action. Be sure to find your gloves and goggles and collect all the necessary equipment that you’ll need for the big day. Put it somewhere on hand like the garage. This way when Thanksgiving comes you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
And remember when you deep fry a turkey you won’t have turkey drippings to make gravy. October is the perfect time to plan your gravy options. You could fry up the giblets and neck in a pan and use those drippings to make your gravy. Or you could buy your gravy at the store. The deep fried turkey will be moist enough that gravy will be more important for the mashed potatoes but it’s still a good idea to plan ahead.
Here’s an excellent injector sauce recipe to try:
Buttery Injector Sauce
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
4 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
Salt to taste
Melt Butter in a pan or microwave
Mix butter in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients except salt Add salt slowly and taste. The sauce should only taste slightly salty
Whisk or use electric mixer until well blended and ready to be injected Inject mixture into turkey Place turkey in oven bag or in a large bowl with a cover Refrigerate overnight
Whether it’s your first deep fried turkey or you are an old pro, try using October to practice. It will make Thanksgiving a little more relaxed and enjoyable. The more prepared you are, the smoother your day will go and that’s something to be thankful for.
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