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Asian Style Deep-Fried Turkey

Asian Style Deep-Fried TurkeyBe sure to read the safety tips and helpful hints before beginning preparation and cooking.

Recipe Ingredients:

Brining Turkey:
1 (10 to 12 pound) whole turkey, fresh or thawed if frozen (non self-basting)
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup kosher salt

Deep Frying Turkey:
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons wasabi powder
3+ gallons peanut oil

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Brining Turkey: Remove giblets and neck from both cavities. Rinse with cold water. Cut off wing tips and little tail as they may be caught in the fryer basket.
  2. Combine soy sauce, sugar and 2/3 cup salt in a 40 to 60 quart pot. Submerge turkey in water. Add enough water to cover. Stir liquid to distribute the seasonings evenly. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.
  3. For Deep Frying Turkey: Remove turkey from brine, rinse well, removing all sugar and salt. Pat interior and exterior dry with paper towels. Drain brining liquid, rinse pot and dry it thoroughly (oil and water do not mix).
  4. Stir together salt, black pepper and wasabi powder.
  5. Rub spice mixture all over turkey, inside and out. Make sure neck hole is at least 2 inches in diameter, as oil needs to flow freely.
  6. Set up turkey cooker outside, in an open area on a level dirt or grassy area.
  7. Never fry a turkey indoors, in a garage or in any structure attached to a building. Do not fry on wood decks, which could catch fire, or concrete, which could be stained by the oil. (Safety tip: have a fire extinguisher nearby for added safety.)
  8. Put 3+ gallons oil into pot and set it over medium-high heat. When oil reaches 375°F (190°C), place turkey into basket and lower it very slowly into oil. (Oil temperature will decrease at this point.) The level of the oil will rise due to the frothing caused by the moisture from the turkey but will stabilize in about one minute. (Safety tips: to prevent burns from the splattering oil , wear oven mitts/gloves, long sleeves, heavy shoes and even glasses. It is wise to have two people lowering and raising the turkey.)
  9. Turn heat to high and return oil temperature to 365°F (185°C). Fry turkey for 3 to 4 minutes per pound or about 35 to 42 minutes, or until it floats.
  10. Stay with the cooker at all times as the heat must be regulated.
  11. Carefully remove turkey from oil by lifting handle of basket. Let oil drain for a minute or so, back into the pot. Remove turkey and place on a cutting board. Use food thermometer to make sure thickest part of thigh registers 180°F (85°C); if not, return to fryer and fry 10 more minutes, then repeat removal process.
  12. Let turkey rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

Makes 12 servings.

Fryer Caution Safety Tips:

  • Remember you are dealing with gallons of dangerously hot oil, so make sure there are no kids or pets running around. And you want to wear some old shoes that you can slip out of easily and long pants just in case you do spill some oil on you.
  • Place fryer on level dirt or grassy area. Never fry a turkey indoors, in a garage or in any other structure attached to a building. Avoid frying on wood decks, which could catch fire, and concrete, which can be stained by the oil.
  • Never leave the hot oil unattended and don't allow children or pets near the cooking area.
  • Allow the oil to cool completely before disposing or storing.
  • Immediately wash hands, utensils, equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with raw turkey.
  • Turkey should be consumed immediately and leftovers stored in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking.

(Source for Safety Tips: The National Turkey Federation (202) 898-0100.)

Helpful Hints:

  • Use only oils with high smoke points, such as peanut, canola or safflower oil.
  • To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the pot before adding seasoning and add water until turkey is covered. Take turkey out of the water before marking the oil level. Measure the amount of water and use a corresponding amount of oil. Dry the pot thoroughly of all water.
  • Large containers of peanut oil are available at membership warehouse stores, supermarkets, discount department stores.
  • Turkey cookers with pots and propane burners can be bought at large supermarkets, sporting goods stores, restaurant suppliers, building-supply stores, and hardware stores.
  • Injectors are available at specialty cookware stores, department stores, and some of the outlets mentioned above.
  • If you don't have a cooker and stockpot and don't want to buy them, they can be rented at party supply stores.
  • The injector is easier to fill if you remove the needle.
  • The oil may be strained to remove food particles and reused. It may also be disposed of with regular garbage.

Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of the National Turkey Federation.