Being Prepared to Deep Fry a Turkey

Monday, October 31, 2011 @ 09:10 PM

When you are getting ready to deep fry a turkey, whether it is Thanksgiving, some other holiday, or just an any day, you want to make sure that you are prepared. There is a little bit more to it than just having a turkey fryer, (stock pot and outdoor propane cooker), frying oil, and a turkey. You need to be physically, mentally, and materially prepared.

First things first. If you have never fried a turkey before, read your manual before you begin. Next, use the fryer before the big day. In fact, use it more than once if you can.  Even if you are just boiling water to start, this will help you get used to the nuances of your new outdoor propane deep fryer. This will give a chance to figure out the heat regulator and how to maintain a constant temperature.

When purchasing a turkey for your fryer, you want to make sure that you do not buy too large of a turkey for the size of your stock pot. There may be a suggested guideline in your manual, but here are some suggested sizes:

24 qt. fryer pot- 8-10 lb. turkey

30 qt. fryer pot – 10-12 lb. turkey

36 qt. fryer pot – 12-14 lb. turkey

42 qt. fryer pot – 15-18 lb. turkey

Buying the oil for your fryer may be seem expensive at first, but if you filter, strain, and store your used oil properly it can be used again.

To give you a rough idea, some typical oil amounts are:
26-Qt. – – – – – 2.75 Gallons
30-Qt. – – – – – – – – 3 Gallons
34-Qt. – – – – – – – – 4 Gallons

You want an oil with a high smoke point as you will be keeping your temperature around 350 degrees F for a long period of time. (For info. on smoke points see Frying Oil). Mixing different types of frying oils is not recommended as different oils have different smoke points. Buy what is in your price range but make sure it has a high smoke point.

Decide if you are going to use an injection marinade or rub or both on your bird. There are many recipes out there on the world wide web, but you can always buy a pre-made injection kit, like The Butterball Turkey Seasoning Kit manufactured for Masterbuilt. Inject your thawed bird the night before or early morning. Make sure the turkey is dry of marinade drippings.

Make sure you have enough LP gas. Having a backup propane tank is always a great idea. It is not like it is going to bad, or won’t eventually get used. You do not want to be in the middle of deep frying a turkey and run out of gas.

Get yourself some protective clothing. A pair of good, long, high temperature gloves is recommended. Protective eye wear is an option. Some goggles against spit and splatter is something to keep in mind. Pants, sleeves, and shoes are highly recommended as well.

Get yourself an all purpose fire extinguisher. You never know when you might need one anyway. Hopefully you will never need to use it.

Have a bucket of sand ready to use.Remember: oil & water don’t mix. A hose will make things worse if you have a flare up.

Make sure that your thermometers are working properly.

Be sure that you have a perfect spot to place your fryer. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving Day and find that you have no stable, level surface to cook on. This should be a place well away from any combustible materials, like bushes, but also to include your wooden deck or in your garage. These traditional turkey fryers are meant for outdoors, and not on your patio 3 feet from your house. If it is raining or snowing it is NOT an option to deep fry in your garage. You are only looking for trouble if you go there.

Have a little table set up to keep everything handy: your meat thermometer, gloves, goggles, fire extinguisher, etc.

If there is wind on the day that you are frying, position your tank on the upside of the wind. You don’t want the heat from the flames of the jet cooker blowing right at your propane tank.

Make sure that someone is able to keep the kids and the dog occupied. Let them play inside or just well away from the hot cooker.

Being physically prepared is helpful. If you do not think that you are physically capable of slowly and carefully raising and lowering a 15 lb turkey into a vat of hot oil, then get a lift bar. A lift bar can be slid through the grab hook and two people can do the raising and lowering.

Lastly, you want to be mentally prepared. Relax, but take care. Be sober. Use common sense. Don’t let any drunken friends bully you and try to tell you what to do or not to do. In fact, use the common sense to tell them that they should be out playing with the kids and the dog and you’ll call when the foods ready.

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