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How to Deep-Fry a Turkey

By November 1998Comments

Equipment

1 turkey cooker with a propane burner (also called a catfish cooker or crawfish boiler) 1 36- to 40-quart stockpot and basket 1 large turkey injector with needle 1 deep-fryer thermometer or candy thermometer elbow-length oven mitts

Cinnamon-Chile Rub

1/2 cup cinnamon 1/2 cup pasilla or other red chile powder 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup kosher salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Turkey

4 to 6 gallons peanut oil (depending on size of stockpot and turkey) 3 1/2 cups chicken stock (two 14.5-ounce cans) 1/2 cup Tabasco sauce 1 turkey, 12 to 15 pounds (insides removed) 2 cups cinnamon-chile rub (recipe above)

Place the peanut oil in the stockpot on the turkey cooker and preheat to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the chicken stock and Tabasco. Place the turkey in a shallow pan or bowl. Fill the syringe with stock mixture, inject all parts of the turkey (legs, breast, thighs), and then thoroughly coat the outside of the turkey with the cinnamon-chile rub. When the oil reaches 350 degrees, place the turkey in the basket and, wearing oven mitts, carefully lower it into the stockpot. Cook for 3 1/2 minutes per pound (for example, a 12-pound turkey will be done in 42 minutes). Remove the turkey from the oil and drain well. Place it on your favorite platter and carve away.

Helpful Hints

1. To determine how much oil you need, put the uncooked turkey in the stockpot and cover with water. Measure the water and use the same amount of oil. (The cooks at Reata use a 40-quart stockpot and 6 gallons of oil.)

2. Large containers of peanut oil are available at Sam’s Club, Randalls, Wal-Mart, and Albertson’s.

3. Turkey cookers with pots and propane burners can be bought at large supermarkets, sporting goods stores, restaurant suppliers, building-supply stores, and hardware stores, but availability is unpredictable. A spot-check found them at some Academy Sports and Outdoors stores, Albertson’s food stores, and Builders Square, among others. Injectors are available at cookware stores, department stores, and some of the outlets mentioned above. If you don’t have a cooker and stockpot and don’t want to buy them, they can be rented at party supply stores.

4. The injector is easier to fill if you remove the needle.

5. The oil may be strained to remove food particles and reused. It may also be disposed of with regular garbage.

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