Make the best holiday meal ever

Ten easy steps to make this Thanksgiving Day one to remember

I n recent years the popularity of Cajun Deep Fried Turkey has grown considerably.

However, most people face a big problem trying to do this on their stove.

Namely, it makes a terrible mess and it’s rather dangerous to do in an enclosed space. The answer is to take it outdoors. Now be warned, this can be a expensive operation, but well worth it. For those of you who don’t know what a deep fried turkey is like, here are the basics of the process.

Step One: Get a turkey, a very large cooking pot and some cooking oil. You can use vegetable oil, but it’s better if you use peanut oil. However peanut oil is very expensive and you are going to need several gallons of it.

Step Two: Prepare the turkey. It needs to be defrosted and washed and make sure there are no pop up tender timer devices or anything left inside. And, most importantly it must be completely dry. Really, really dry. You know what happens when you put water in boiling oil, don’t you. You will also need to truss the turkey, meaning you need to secure the legs, neck flap, wings and tail to the body of the turkey.

Step Three: To determine the perfect amount of oil you are going to be using, place the turkey in the pot and add water until the turkey is completely covered plus an inch or two.

With the turkey and the water there should still be several inches of room between the oil and the top of the pot.

If it’s a close call, then you need either a bigger pot or a smaller turkey. Remove the turkey and measure the water. This is the amount of oil you will need.

Step Four: Dry and season the turkey. Various recipes will call for seasoning rubs or injection mixtures. You’ll find out more on this in the recipes listed on the right.

Step Five: Make sure that your frying pot is completely dry. Water left behind can cause some serious problems once you add the oil and start heating it up.

Step Six: Add the oil to the pot and bring it to a temperature of about 375 degrees. You should really get a good thermometer so you can get the temperatures right.

Step Seven: This is where it gets tricky. The turkey needs to be room temperature and dry. Turn off the burner when you put the turkey in. You are going to lower the turkey into the pot of very hot oil. The oil is going to splatter.

You need some very good cooking gloves and a way to put the turkey in the oil while you are a safe distance. This is the reason why it’s really not that good of an idea to do it on your stove top.

There are now devices to help you like Deep Fried Turkey Lifter for $39.95 that give you a good hold on the turkey.

Now I have heard of people using a wire basket on the turkey and a wooden board to do this. A bit of inventing and I’m sure you’ll find a way. Anyway, slowly lower the turkey into the oil.

A good method here is dunking. When you lower the turkey into the oil it will boil up. This is why you want the burner off when you do it. People have been burned by hot oil hitting the burner.

You might not need to do more than a single dunk but you should be prepared to raise the bird out of the oil it it starts boiling up.

You can greatly reduce the mess and risk of personal injury by lifting the bird up as the oil boils around it.

A couple of dunks and the turkey should be nicely settled in.

Step Eight: Once the bird is safely resting in the oil, turn the burner back on to get to a temperature of 350 degrees F.

At this point you can go take a breather. But don’t wander too far because that turkey will be done soon. A deep fried turkey cooks at a rate of about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes per pound.

A ten pound turkey should take 30-35 minutes. An instant read thermometer can help you test for doneness, but of course you will need to lift the turkey out to test it.

Step Nine: Remove the turkey from the oil when it’s done. Do this slowly and after you have turned off the burner. Let the turkey drain a little bit and you’re set to go.

Step Ten: Carve and enjoy. If you have never had a turkey cooked this way then you have not finished your life requirements. Do this and you may never put a turkey in the oven again. Despite what you might think this turkey is not oily or greasy.

It’s crisp, juicy and delicious.


This recipe calls for a lot of bay leaves. It’s actually about 1/3 cup, so if you have crushed bay leaves you can use that. The real secret to fried turkey is to get the rub well on the surface of the turkey before it hits the oil.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Makes about 3/4 cup
• 25 medium whole bay leaves
• 3 tablespoons hot Creole
• 3 teaspoons dried thyme
• 3 teaspoons dried oregano
• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

In a spice grinder, grind the
bay leaves into a fine powder.
Place in small bowl. Grind
thyme, oregano, peppercorns
similarly. Add all ingredients to
bowl and mix together. Divide
into three equal parts. Rub one
part on the inside of turkey. Rub
the second third under the skin
around the breasts. And rub the
last portion over the outside of
the turkey. Refrigerate overnight.

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2011-11-24 digital edition

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