Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, the Food Network and countless Turkey Day connoisseurs swear by succulent deep-fried fowl. Apparently, the old-school roasted bird has become passé. So if you want to go down the deep-fried route this Thanksgiving, all you need is the bird, a propane burner, a vat of peanut oil and a little patience.
Not to mention a fireproof outfit. Learning “How to Make a Deep-Fried Turkey” may seem simple enough, but don’t be fooled, there are many ways your fry can go awry. Before you gas up the propane, take a few turkey-handling tips from The Root or else Tom Turkey will be on fiyah—literally.
1. GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN
The first rule of thumb for frying turkey on Thanksgiving is going outdoors with your recipe of choice. A fricasseed bird can be mighty hard to clean up after.
There is such a thing as showing too much skin, especially when it comes to frying a turkey. Don’t get too close to the pot of oil with clothes that expose your arms … or even your toes. That is, unless you want to be nursing wounds when it’s time to eat.
If Tom Turkey is wet when he takes his oil bath, you can count on feeling the heat, too. Turkeys are typically fried at about 400 degrees. Do you really want to go down with your dinner?
Using too much oil or too small of a pot can cause problems during the cooking process. Turkey size should be proportional to the vat used for deep frying. Bigger isn’t better—it can just be trouble. So always be prepared: Forget stop, drop and roll. Stop, drop and run!
As fun as it may seem to document your adventures with deep-fried fowl, resist the urge to grab a friend with a video camera. You want to stay focused on the job at hand and give Big Tom all the attention he deserves. Carve out an hour or so to explore your frying skills, and leave the kids inside.
Saaret E. Yoseph is assistant editor of The Root.
Saaret Yoseph is a writer and Assistant Editor at TheRoot.com. She manages and blogs for \"Their Eyes Were Watching …\"