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Off Skillet Empire: Fried Turkey

First off, I apologize for the long absence from the blog. This time of year is quite crazy, especially with my team doing as well as they are (we all have our critiques, but a #1 ranking is good enough for me). So this year, I've decided to share my annual fried turkey ventures with everyone.

Once I started renting my own house in 2011, it didn't take long to start what's become a Wednesday-before-Thanksgiving tradition of frying a turkey and having a big party for my friends to attend. This year, you get to follow along (and since this is a Wednesday deal, you'll be prepared for Thanksgiving on Thursday).

I'll be updating this each day so everyone can follow along.

Let's start with the essentials, shall we?

Ingredients:

-Frozen turkey (or thawed, if you're starting late), 15 lbs
-Tony Chachere's butter injectable marinate
-Frying oil, 3 gallons

Go ahead and start thawing that turkey. The last thing you want to do is dip a frozen turkey in boiling-hot frying oil. Updates to follow tomorrow.

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Update time! Okay, now that bird should be thawed, so let's get to the cleaning portion. Clear out the sink and rinse in cool water.

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Now, for the outer seasoning. Make sure the inside and outside of the turkey is dry, and coat lightly with a little olive oil. Season with whatever your preference of spices is (I used Lawry's and Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning).

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Injection time! Pour out about half the marinade into a disposable cup (don't draw directly from the bottle, or you'll contaminate it), and use the injection needle to inject the breast, thigh, and legs.

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Once you've used up about half the bottle, wrap the turkey up in saran wrap and put back into the fridge.

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The fun part starts tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Well, I meant to update this Wednesday night, but I never got around to it. So, maybe you can use this one at a later time.

Go ahead and fill the pot up, no more than half-way (should use almost all 3 gallons of oil - use 2.5 gallons if the turkey is heavier than around 16 lbs).

First off, don't do this on your deck. The reason I'm doing this is because I'm using a natural gas deep fryer, and my natural gas connection is on the deck. Notice I picked up an automotive oil drip tray (available for $10 at advance auto parts) and have baking soda and a fire extinguisher on hand. The baking soda should be used if there's any small flare-up (or sprinkled on the pan to catch any oil), since it won't destroy the food. If it doesn't work, then you'd want to bust out the fire extinguisher.

Start the fryer and put the thermometer in the oil and watch the temperature.

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When the oil hits between 325°F and 350°F, that's when you want to put the turkey in, so plan accordingly.

Oil the bottom of the poultry rack and put the turkey on it, legs down. Here's where people make mistakes - they drop the turkey in too quickly and an 'oil fountain' shoots up through the center, flowing over the pot and catching on fire. That, or they feel hot oil splash their arms and drop the turkey in (much like jumping back when hot bacon grease splatters your arm).

So this is why it's good to have someone else working with you. Grab a broomstick and hold the turkey up with that.

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Now VERY SLOWLY lower the turkey in. All in all, it takes a minute or two. If it starts to pop or splatter, slow down. Once it's in the pot, the temperature will drop, so you've got to very quickly get the temperature back up in the 300°F to 325°F range.

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Now that you've got the turkey in there, cap it and put the thermometer back in. Crank up the heat to get the temperature back up, but do not exceed 350°F.

You'll want to cook for around 3.5 minutes per pound. After that time, pull the turkey out and check the temperature in at least 3 places in the turkey (breast, thigh, leg). The temperature should be 165°F or above. If it's done, take it out and place in a turkey roasting pan upright and let any oils drip off.

Sorry I didn't get a picture here, but I had turkey-carving on my mind. At this point the skin will be a nice crispy brown color, so remove the poultry rack, carve, and serve!

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Questions, comments, etc. please leave below. Happy Thanksgiving!