Fried turkey
Photo by Andrew Cebulka

Food Culture of the South

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6-10 servings

  • 1 (8-12 pound) fresh turkey
  • Approximately 4 gallons oil (vegetable, peanut, or canola) for frying
  1. Fill a 30- to 32-quart stockpot ¾ full with vegetable oil. Do not overfill.
  2. Using an outdoor burner and a 12-inch deep-fry thermometer, heat oil to 375 degrees.
  3. If using a frozen turkey, let the turkey thaw completely before cooking. Remove turkey from refrigerator and dry with a paper towel. Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Cover turkey with dry rub or season generously with salt and pepper. (Alternately, you could use a turkey injector to inject breast, legs, and thighs with brine.) Place turkey on a poultry rack.
  4. Before lowering turkey into oil, turn the burner fire off. While wearing an apron and heavy-duty mitts, use the grab hook to very slowly lower turkey into oil. Once turkey is submerged in oil, relight flame and maintain an oil temperature of 350 degrees. Cook for approximately 3 minutes per pound of turkey.
  5. Turn off flame and very slowly remove turkey from pot using grab hook. The meat should register 175 degrees on a meat thermometer. If it hasn’t come to temperature, return turkey to oil using the same method as earlier. Let turkey rest at least 30 minutes before carving.

Safety Tips

  • Always fry a turkey outside, away from buildings and other structures.
  • Always wear heavy-duty mitts and an apron while lowering the turkey into or pulling it out of hot oil.
  • Hot oil will splatter as it makes contact with the turkey, so place the fryer on a surface that is resistant to hot oil.


  • From the TLP Test Kitchen

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