Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Deep Fried Freedom Bird

This year my mother-in-law wanted to host Thanksgiving, but not cook the turkey.  Since I volunteer for assignments, turkey-cooking fell on my shoulders.  Since everything I do must be an over-wrought project, this turkey got deep fried.

The Bird:  The finest 14 lbs. organic turkey that Costco had in stock.

The Brine: An essential step.  This brine was composed of (total 1 gallon):

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • a slug of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • shot of Worcestershire sauce
  • several sprigs of thyme
  •  half an onion
  • a few stalks of celery
  • a cinnamon stick
This was applied to the turkey overnight.

After brining for 12+ hours, the turkey was added to the fryer pot and the displacement level of water measured (just enough to fully submerge the bird).  This is a critical step, as an overflow could = a fire.

Next the bird was dried (another critical step, water + hot oil is a disaster).

Next the turkey was injected with butter, and rubbed with butter and a Cajun dry-rub.

Now to the outdoor setup:

The fryer was set up outside, on a flat surface, away from structures.  Note the fire extinguisher, lighter, and heat glove (also the essential beer).  Once sparked, the ~ gallon of (peanut) oil took about 30 minutes to reach the start temp of 325 degF.  The goal is to cook primarily from 350-375 degF, so once the the bird goes in @ 325, crank the heat up.

Then let the bird cook in the oil bath:

Figure 3 minutes per pound = 45 minutes.  After the time had elapsed the turkey was slooowly pulled out using the reach hook.  Finally, the turkey rested for 15 minutes before carving.

Results: one of the best birds I've ever cooked.