Here you will learn how to deep fry a turkey and make one of your best and easy camping meals that will impress everyone. We'll also tell you how to brine a turkey.
A deep fried turkey is delicious and moist with no greasy taste and with crispy, salty skin.
When you deep fry a turkey, you do it outside anyway, so it just seems to be a natural fit for camp cooking. Of course, you can do it just as easily at home!
Many times we have taken our turkey fryer camping with us and have made some of the best camping meals ever - folks just rave about it!
A turkey fryer kettle with a propane cooker and a regulator hose
3 gallons of oil
2 thermometers - one for the turkey and one for the oil
Hot mitts or gloves
Lifter tool or deep fry basket
12 to 14 pound turkey, completely thawed
I have used a big stock pot on the campfire to deep fry a turkey and it works well. The only thing is, the pot gets black on the outside from the campfire smoke. I have a pot that I use just for the campfire and I store it in a burlap bag so the black soot doesn’t get on anything else.
You have to be certain that your pot is big enough, so this is what you do - put your turkey in the pot and fill it with water so it is 1 or 2 inches above the turkey. Do you have 2 or 3 inches of space between the top of the water and the top of the pot?
If not, then your pot isn’t tall enough and the oil could boil over, causing a fire.
Then take the turkey out of the water - now you can mark the level of the water on the pot or you can measure the water left in the pot. That’s how much oil you need.
I have used a propane turkey fryer also, and they both work well.
The fryer that we have is a Bayou Turkey fryer - an awesome cooker!
turkey rack with hook
15 inches by 18 inches
16 inch burner
Some people like to inject a marinade into the turkey before they deep fry a turkey.
If you want to do that, here is the process:
Use 1 ounce of marinade for every pound of turkey.
Put it deep into the turkey, not just under the skin.
Divide it so you use 60% in the breast, 30% in the legs and thighs and 10 percent in the wings.
So, for a 12 pound turkey, you use 3.5 ounces in each breast, 2 ounces in each leg and thigh and .5 ounce in each wing.
Put the turkey into a plastic container or heavy plastic bag that will fit in the cooler with lots of ice or refrigerator and marinate for 8 to 12 hours.
How to brine a turkey
Personally, I like to soak my turkey overnight in a brine of 3 gallons of water - 12 ounces of soy sauce - 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of sugar.
You don’t have to do anything before you deep fry a turkey - it will still be delicious!
This is what you do to deep fry a turkey:
Make sure your turkey is completely thawed - oil and water don’t mix and even a tiny bit of ice can cause the hot oil to foam and boil over, causing a fire.
Prop up on end to drain.
Remove the giblets from inside the turkey - don’t forget the neck! Cut off all the extra skin, fat and the tail. You want the hot oil to flow freely through the turkey and that extra skin could stop it.
Remove the wire or plastic truss holding the legs if there is one. Also remove the pop up timer if the turkey has one.
With paper towels, dry the turkey as much as you can, inside and out - the drier the better!
Heat oil to 375 degrees - use a thermometer, don’t guess! You want a thermometer that will fasten on the side of your kettle and reach down into the oil.
Using a turkey lifter or a deep fry basket, slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil with the legs up and the breast down. Be very careful not to drop it - hot oil splashes can burn!
A 10 to 12 pound turkey will take about 45 minutes to cook until the breast meat registers 165 degrees on the meat thermometer and the thigh meat reaches 180 degrees. It is extremely important to monitor the cooking and keep the oil temperature between 350 degrees and 375 degrees. If it gets lower than that, the meat will absorb the oil and if it gets hotter, it will burn before it gets done.
Carefully remove the turkey when it is done and place it on paper towels or a food-safe paper bag to absorb the oil on the outside. Let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
This is a turkey fryer that some friends of ours use:
Brinkman Turkey Fryer
45000 BTU burner
14.5 inches by 18.5 inches
turkey rack and hool
Some tips for deep frying a turkey:
Be sure you have enough propane before starting to cook your turkey - it would not be good to run out part way through.
Set the turkey fryer on a level dirt or grassy spot - a wood deck could burn and a concrete pad could get grease stains.
If you want to deep fry turkey legs or a breast instead of a whole turkey - cook for 4 to 5 minutes per pound.
Keep children and pets away from the hot oil at all times - hot oil can be dangerous!
Peanut oil is the best for deep frying a turkey - but canola, sunflower or corn oil will work.
After the oil cools, filter for another use - first put it through a fine strainer and then through cheesecloth.
To store oil, cover and put it in the refrigerator - it might look cloudy when it gets cold, but it is still okay.
Choose a good turkey. If you have access to fresh ones, they are the best - no thawing and ready to cook. When you buy a frozen turkey, they can take 1 or 2 days to thaw.
If you should have a fire with burning oil - don’t put water on it. Turn off the gas and put a lid on the pot. Don’t pick up and move!
Never deep fry a turkey inside, not even the garage - keep away from any overhangs.
Always monitor the cooking and keep it between 350 and 375 degrees - never leave it unattended.
Don’t use a turkey larger than 12 pounds to deep fry.
Don't stuff a turkey you are going to deep fry - the oil needs to flow freely inside the turkey.
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You might think that to deep fry a turkey is not what you want to do for Thanksgiving - no stuffing and no gravy for the mashed potatoes,
You can bake stuffing by itself - yes, even in a Dutch oven:
Dutch Oven Stuffing Recipe
1 onion, chopped - 3 stalks of celery, chopped - 1/4 cup of butter - 2 cups of chicken broth - 1 tbsp. sage - 1/4 cup dried parsley - 1 tsp. poultry seasoning - 1/2 tsp. salt - 1/4 tsp. pepper - 9 cups of dried bread cubes
Over hot coals, saute onion and celery in butter - add broth and seasoning, mix well - pour over bread cubes and allow to sit for 10 minutes so the bread absorbs the liquid. Stir just until mixed - too much stirring will make the stuffing "weepy". Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour with 10 briquettes on the bottom of your Dutch oven and 14 on top.
If you don't want to go that route - stove top stuffing tastes pretty darn good!
Now for the gravy - have you ever used those little packets of turkey gravy? They make really good gravy! A little secret - even when I make gravy from the roasted turkey drippings, I add 2 or 3 of those packets and everybody raves about my gravy.
So there you have it - no excuse for not deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey and everyone will love the tasty and moist turkey.
You might not have thought about it - but you can deep fry a wild turkey also. They turn out awesome! The only thing different - you should pluck it instead of skinning it, as you might do. You want the skin on the turkey to keep the turkey juices inside.
If you are a hunter and get some wild turkeys - you really should try this - you will be delighted with the results. This is just an awesome way of cooking wild turkey.
I usually boil the turkey bones from a roasted turkey and make soup from them - however, when I did this with the bones from a deep fried turkey, I didn't care for the taste.
However, there are some good recipes for using left-over fried turkey:
2 cups cubed, cooked turkey - 1/2 cup chopped celery - 1 cup shredded cheese - 1/2 cup chopped onion - 2 cups shredded lettuce - salsa - sour cream
Divide among 6 tortillas - add salsa and sour cream to taste.
Turkey Pot Pie
1 pkg. frozen mixed vegetables - 4 cups cubed, cooked turkey - 2 cups chicken broth - 1 cup milk - 1/2 cup chopped onion - 1/2 cup butter - 2/3 cup flour - 1 tsp. salt - 1/2 tsp. pepper - 1 unbaked pie crust
Saute onions in butter - stir in flour, add broth and milk. Whisk while simmering until it thickens - stir in turkey and vegetables - top with pie crust - bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or use 19 briquettes on top with 6 underneath.
There is a Char Broil Big Easy Oil-less Infrared Turkey Fryer that is an amazing alternative to deep frying. The turkey tastes like and looks like it has been fried - but no oil. It is powered with propane, so you can still use it when you are camping.
I have to admit that I was really dubious about using this - I love to deep fry a turkey and I thought in comparison, this just wouldn't cut it.
But I was pleasantly surprised - it turned out really good!
cooks up to a 16 pound turkey
21.5 inches by 24.5 inches
You might be interested in some of these pages:
Easy Camping Recipes - Are you looking for easy camping recipes? You will find many delicious recipes for easy camping meals here with more being added all the time.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork; Find here some delicious and easy recipes that you can make while camping or at home.
KFC Chicken Recipe - Finally the secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken is available - you will love this crispy, tender and juicy chicken recipe!
Shepherds Pie Recipe; one of the easiest and quite tasty meals you can make - whether you are camping or at home!
Best hamburger recipe; Are you working on budget meal planning or looking for some good camp menu ideas? Check out these hamburger recipes for the grill - you will love them!
Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie Recipe; Cut-up cooked chicken, cream of chicken soup, frozen mixed vegetables... - at camp, Dutch oven cooking is so special - this recipe is one of the great camp menu ideas.
Scrambled Egg Recipe; Learn how to make perfect scrambled eggs when you are camping or when you are at home - everyone will love them!
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