I am planning to deep fry our turkey this year. It’s sitting in the brine right now and the fryer is out in the garage just waiting to be fired up. For those of us that have never deep fried a turkey there are a number of things that need to be thought through. These are but a few.
1. How do I keep from burning the house down?
2. How will I know if it’s done?
3. What the heck will I do with all that oil after I’m done?
1. To keep from burning down the house…..make sure your at least 10 feet away from it or anything else that could be damaged by fire. Don’t add the turkey to the oil with the propane burning, turn it off and then re-light it. Make sure that the turkey is DRY inside and out. Hot oil does not like water or fluids of any sort. It will boil out of the pot and splash everywhere. If the fire is lit, it will burn any thing it touches. Have a kitchen appropriate fire extinguisher close by.
2. Most of what you read is that cooking at 325°F to 350°F and that it should take 3 to 4 minutes per lb of bird. I will be using a hand held instant read thermometer and will haul the turkey up and test the temp at the thigh. 155°F is the target then wrap it in foil and let it sit for about 30 minutes. As the bird sits it will rise in temp to continue cooking. It will also lock in the moisture, so that the meat is juicy.
3. What to do with the leftover oil was a great concern for me. Here I have purchased 4 + gallons of peanut oil. What was I going to do with it after? Well, peanut oil has a high smoke point, somewhere around 423°F, which means that it will not breakdown significantly during cooking and may be reused. Most of what I have read states that it can be stored for about 6 months after being opened. Always check it to insure it has not gone rancid.
To get it ready to store for re-use you must first filter it to remove the organic bits. I remember my mother filtering cooking oil through a paper towel over a funnel. This is great when your filtering 4 cups of oil. We will use at least 3 to 4 gallons and filtering this through paper towels can take a LONG time. If you look on line there are a number of gadgets out there to help with this. I am going to use a funnel system that has a cone shaped filter, kinda like a coffee filter, to do the job. My plan is to store the used oil in the container it came in so this means I have to get the cook pot some where I can easily transfer the used oil to the filter. Most probably this will be the kitchen sink.
I have also read that filtering warm oil is quicker than cool oil, so I will allow the oil to cool to just under 200°F before I start that process.
So, use the oil more than once and spread the expense of the Thanksgiving turkey over a few meals. If this years endeavor goes well, then who knows? There may be another turkey at Christmas.