As we prepare to shut the office down for Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share some Thanksgiving Turkey Fryer tips I've accumulated over the years. If you've never tried deep fried turkey, you're missing out. As one gentleman first described it to me, "It's so good it'll make you want to slap your momma." Not sure what that means, but it is good.
-The night before I like to brine the bird in a saltwater bath inside a cooler (about 8 hours).
-Prior to filling the fryer with oil (peanut oil is my preferred), place the bird in the pot and fill with water until it just covers the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the level of the water. This is how much oil to use.
-Make sure the bird is fully thawed and dry before frying (pat with paper towels and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes after removing from the brine).
-Set the Fryer away from any structure, at least 10 feet. Never cook inside a garage or barn, and don't cook on your wood deck.
-When windy, I use a partial sheet of plywood held up by two fence T-posts as a wind block. Make sure the plywood can't fall on the fryer.
-I am not a fan of the "Turkey Fryer Derrick" that people build with pulleys, string, and a ladder. I feel you are more likely to knock the fryer over using this contraption. If you are wondering what I'm talking about, google "alton brown turkey fryer". (For the record, I love Alton Brown's cooking shows and his sense of humor, just not the derrick).
-get some leather welding gauntlets or a silicone oven mitt for lowering the bird into the oil. I don't like padded cloth mitts, I feel they are more likely to absorb oil and hold it against your skin in the event of something going wrong.
-Heat oil to 250 degrees and slowly lower the bird into the oil. Continue heating the oil to 350 degrees. Reduce the heat to maintain this 350 temperature.
-Cook about 25-30 minutes and begin checking internal temperature of the breast. Fry until internal temperature has reached 155 degrees (it should continue cooking after removal to about 165. Don't carve until this temperature has been reached).
Some things to keep in mind...
-Peanut Oil smokes at 446 and has a flash point of 633. DO NOT allow it to get this hot.
-If things start to go badly, shut off the propane/heat source.
-this is grease/oil we are dealing with, keep a class B rated fire extinguisher nearby.
-Avoid Alcohol while cooking and heating the oil.
-Keep pets (and kids) inside not only while cooking, but also while the oil cools. It smells delicious to a dog or cat, and they don't realize how hot it is.
This is an insurance blog, so here is some insurance information. No turkey fryer (to my knowledge) has ever been cleared by Underwriters Laboratory. If you accidently burn your neighbor's house down, it is a covered liability loss. If you only have $100,000 of coverage, that probably will not be enough to cover the loss. Check those liability limits kids!
Finally, no matter what my cousin Mike says, Pumpkin Pie is delicious and should be enjoyed with real whipped cream.
Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving!
Phil Ruth - Insurance agent, husband, father, youth sports coach, boater, outdoorsman, Elgin High and Miami University Grad, Fan of Ohio sports, Usually found at a Ridgedale game rooting for his kids.