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Fried Turkey (if you dare)

Fried Turkey (if you dare) Related:   gluten-free, Hanukkah, main dish, meat, North America, poultry, Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukkah

Prep time: 20 minutes plus marinate overnight

Cook time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12-14 servings

I couldn’t resist calling a few friends to find out how they do it…and why! In the process, I was given a recipe, some helpful tips and an offer to come over and join in the fun. Everyone raved about the crispy skin, the moist tender meat and the amazing flavor.

I learned that frying turkeys is generally a man’s job (one less thing for the women cooks to worry about). There are a whole set of tools and gadgets…turkey fryers (electric or gas, gas being the more macho), turkey stands, big spear like forks and heavy duty mitts and aprons to prevent serious injury. This is no job for wimps.

They are cooked outside on a driveway covered with butcher paper to catch the splattering grease. No kids allowed. Only men standing around smoking cigars while they watch the turkey boil in oil (more room in the kitchen for the rest of us).

They are done in about 45 minutes. How are these men ever going to appreciate the days spent toiling in the kitchen to prepare a proper Thanksgiving feast?!

I don’t know…maybe next year.


  • 1 12-14 pound turkey, giblets removed
  • 1/2 -3/4 cups Italian salad dressing
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper or cayenne depending on your preference
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh or dried minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of any other spices you like on a turkey*
  • 3-4 gallons of peanut oil
  • * Some people do a Cajun style fried turkey adding cayenne pepper and other Cajun spices


  • Clean turkey and remove giblets. To measure the amount of oil needed to fry the turkey, put the turkey in the fryer pot and add water until the turkey is completely submerged. Remove the turkey and then mark the water line with a crayon or marker indicating the amount of oil you will need to fry the turkey. Remove the water from the pot and thoroughly dry the fryer pot. Having too much oil can cause a fire. The pot should not be more than 3/4 full or the oil could overflow when the turkey is added. The fryer should be dry before adding the oil.
  • Dry the turkey well, inside and out, with paper towels. Mix the salt, garlic, black pepper and any other spices together in a bowl. Add the salad dressing and mix well. Rub the spiced marinade inside the cavity of the turkey and on the skin. Separate the skin from the breast meat and massage the marinade onto the meat with your hands. Put the turkey on a large sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • An hour before you are ready to cook the turkey, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Fill the deep-fryer to the marked line with peanut oil and preheat to 400 degrees F. Once the oil is hot and the turkey is at room temperature, very carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil. Turn the temperature to 350° and make sure the oil maintains its 350° temperature while frying. Do not leave the turkey unattended while cooking.
  • Fry the turkey until the skin is dark golden brown and crisp, or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 155 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, roughly 45 minutes or 3 1/2 minutes per pound. Carefully remove the turkey from the oil and let it rest and drain on a wire rack, about 30 minutes. The internal temperature will rise to 165 degrees F while resting.
  • Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, carve and enjoy!

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