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Deep-Fried Cajun Turkey

Deep-Fried Cajun TurkeyCrispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside, there is nothing quite like the taste of deep-fried turkey.

Remember you are dealing with gallons of dangerously hot oil, so make sure there are no kids or pets running around. And you'll 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.

Recipe Ingredients:

Turkey:
1 (8 to 12 pound) turkey
10 gallons peanut oil
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon cayenne
1/4 tablespoon black pepper

Marinade:
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon crab boil
1/4 cup apple cider
3/4 cup honey
1 bottled beer
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 cup Creole Seasoning mix
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Pinch of clove

Equipment Needed:
40 to 60-quart pot with basket, burner and propane tank
Candy thermometer to measure heat oil
Meat thermometer to test turkey doneness
Safety goggles
Fire-safe gloves and pot holders
Fire extinguisher
Seasoning injector*

Deep Frying:
5 Gallons peanut oil

Cooking Directions:

  1. Season and cure the turkey with salt, pepper and cayenne. Rub seasoning on skin and let sit overnight.
  2. In a blender, add all the wet ingredients and then the dry ingredients to make the marinade. Purée on high for 4 to 6 minutes. Make sure all ingredients are completely puréed and add to an injector.
  3. Heat oil to 350°F (175°C). Depending on the amount of oil used, this usually takes between 45 minutes and one hour. (To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey--still in its wrapper--in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches 1 to 2 inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level, using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Pour out water and dry the pot thoroughly. Be sure to measure for oil before breading or marinating the turkey.)
  4. While the oil is heating, prepare the turkey as desired.
  5. Once the oil has come to temperature, place the turkey in the basket and slowly lower into the pot. Whole turkeys require approximately 3 minutes per pound to cook. Remove turkey and check internal temperature with meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 170°F (80°C) in the breast and 180°F (85°C) in the thigh. Turkey parts such as breast, wings and thighs require approximately 4 to 5 minutes per pound to come to temperature.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

*Available at many supermarkets and specialty food shops.

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.