Fried Turkey Recipe

October 30, 2009

Everybody that tries fried turkey loves it.  At least, that is what I always hear.  But what does deep-fried turkey have to do with a grilling web site?  Well, it is outdoors...check.  It's food... check.  It involves fire... check.   All the stuff a good post on our site includes.  And if you're not careful, lots of fire, a trip to the hospital and, God forbid, an oil stained driveway.  Fortunately for us, we wound up with a delicious turkey and only a few spots on our drive.

In this recipe we'll walk you through the basics of frying a turkey.  But you should always follow your manufacturers directions.  Boiling oil over an open flame is no joke, so do what your dad always told you to do, but never those instructions.
First, you need a turkey fryer.  Doesn't have to by fancy.  Aluminum will do.  Stainless is nice, but costs more.  It will likely last longer (or at least look nicer), but we were happy with our aluminum pot.  If you buy a kit, it comes with all the extras and lets the pot serve multiple purposes, such as a fish fryer, gumbo pot, crab pot, etc., etc.  Here is an example of a turkey fryer kit from Amazon.  And you'll need some good oven mitts (that you can also use for your lobster costume).

Second, you'll need a turkey.  Since smaller birds work better for frying, we suggest you don't go over 15 lbs.

  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yields: 5 Servings


14 lb Turkey, fresh or completely thawed

3 1/2 to 5 gallons of vegetable oil

Injection marinade (optional)

Dry Rub (optional)


1Set up in the grass or dirt area away from any structures.  If the grass is very dry, doesn't hurt to wet it down before starting.  If you fry on your driveway or sidewalk, you could wind up with oil stains that you will have a hard time getting rid of (if anyone has suggestions on how to remove oil stains from my sidewalk, let me know).

2As for oil, you'll need lots of it.  Peanut oil is expensive, but it works well due to its high smoke point.  Crisco Frying Oil seems to have started to show up at grocery stores and hardware stores (yeah, next to the turkey fryers) since it is that turkey frying time of year. You will need about 3 1/2 - 5 gallons of oil, depending on the size of the bird and the size of the pot.  Bigger pots need more oil since they are wider.  Bigger bird will displace more oil, but will be taller.  So, get more oil than you think you need so you don't have to run to the store.

3Before heating the oil, the best way to  determine the exact amount of oil is by placing the turkey on the hanger and placing it in the pot. Fill the pot with water until it is about two inches above the turkey. Next remove the turkey and mark the water level or measure from the top of the pot with a ruler. Empty and dry the pot and refill with oil to the mark or ruler measure.

4I suggest you keep a fire extinguisher nearby.  If you do everything right, you won't need one.  But it doesn't hurt to have one handy.

5Using the thermometer that came with your kit or a thermometer bought separately, heat the oil to about 325°F and no higher than 350°F. This will take about 30 minutes, depending on how windy it is, how cold it is, etc. Never leave the fryer unattended while you are heating it.

6Optionally, prior to frying, you can inject the turkey with your favorite marinade or rub it with a dry spice rub before frying.   Even a good brine will enhance the flavor and moisture of the fried turkey.  If you inject, move the needle around, and use multiple injection points to get all parts of the turkey meat flavored.  Inject the marinade as you are pulling the needle from the turkey.

7And remember, unless you want to be a statistic, use a fresh turkey, or completely thawed turkey.  Never NEVER use a frozen turkey.  If you do, make sure someone gets a video and send us a link.

8Once the oil reaches the target temp, put the turkey on the turkey hanger and slowly, ever so slowly, lower it into the pot.  The oil gets pretty violent at first, and you may get some boil over.  Back out a bit if you do and then start to lower again.  Be sure you are wearing your lobster grill mitts at this point.

9The turkey will take about three minutes per pound to cook. Best to check the temperature with a meat thermometer. The temperature should reach a minimum of 165° F  in the inner thigh, according to the USDA. Watch it closely when it gets near that temp. It will heat up quick in the last few minutes.

10Careful with the turkey after you remove it.  It will be quite hot.  Slice it up and enjoy with your friends and family.


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