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The basics to frying a turkey :
1. Buy a frying kit. Basically it consists of a burner, pot, and basket. Decide whether you want electric or propane. Electric is easier to set up, while propane is easier to control. You can also use your grill if you understand its temperature ranges. Then you just have to buy the pot and the basket. Figure out the size of the bird you'll likely fry and buy accordingly. Or buy a big bird and make sure the basket can hold it.
2. Controlling the temperature is the most important part of the fry. Get a good thermometer or test yours by boiling a cup water. Remember water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit but depending on your altitude it could be any where from a little under 210 to 215 degrees Fahrenheit. That's accurate enough.
3. You'll need anywhere from 2 to 4 gallons of peanut or safflower oil depending on the size of the bird and your pot. A good way to figure out how much oil you'll need is by putting the turkey in the basket and pot and then, using a gallon water bottle, filling the pot with water until it covers the bird. The water won't make a mess and you can even do a quick brine. Pat down the turkey when you remove it from the water.
4. (optional) Apply a dry rub to the inside and outside of the turkey.
5. Set up the kit outside. If you use your grill prepare for it to get really dirty. Otherwise, set up the kit outside and away from children and pets. A driveway works really well. Or buy a piece of plywood and set it on the grass. Just remember - you'll be boiling oil. Be safe!
6. Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the reason to be rigorous with your thermometer. Burnt oil leaves an indelible taste. It will take 20 to 30 minutes to heat the oil, but check the temperature every five minutes.
7. Dropping the turkey into the oil is the hardest part. First, turn off the burner. Make sure you wear long sleeves and a good mitt. Don't forget to turn off the burner. Slowly lower the basket into the pot. I mean s-l-o-w-l-y. Take your time. There's no rush and even if there is, this isn't the time to rush. Let each inch of the turkey hiss and splatter as you lower it. The worst case scenario is you drop the turkey into the oil and you'll have a big mess on (and maybe into) your hands, especially if you forget to turn off the burner. Don't do that.
8. You'll notice the temperature of the oil has really dropped. Bring the oil temperature back up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then turn the heat down to medium. This might take 10 minutes. Keep checking the temperature as it cooks.
9. Cook the turkey for about 3 to 4 minutes per pound. Use a long meat thermometer, one usually comes with any kit, to check the temperature inside the bird. Stick it a good two or three inches into the fattest part of the breast. It will be ready once that internal temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit. The secret is to test it only once or twice so the juices are properly sealed into the meat.
10. Once done, turn off the heat and pull the basket out. Set the turkey on a platter or cookie sheet to rest for 15-20 minutes. The inside will continue to slowly cook and the juices will settle back into the meat. You may have to use the carving knife to defend the bird from overeager eaters.
11. As for the cooled oil after dinner, it will keep for a few days or you can freeze it for four or five uses. Another alternative is a frying party. If you start early, you can get a bird done every hour. What better way to share the tasty love than by frying your neighbors' birds?
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