Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Fried Turkey: Well Done!
It's been a rough start to December since I've been in a coma since Thanksgiving when I finally succumbed to my spirit as an adventurous eater (not to mention the peer-pressure of the Nascar bandwagon) and ate a turkey that I had first painstakingly deep-fried in 4 gallons of peanut oil. (That's the bird above, in all its deep golden, crispified glory mere moments before the carnage began.)
Ever since Madden convinced me to try my first turducken back in '03, I've been gathering my courage to take the ultimate step and deep-fry a turkey in gratitude of our nation's founders' willingness to mooch a meal off the Indians in that first Plymouth winter.
Internet research abounds, both extolling the benefits and warning of the substantial hazards of frying a turkey (see: 'Deep-fried Disaster'). So it wasn't lightly, nor without a significant risk/rewards analysis, that I accepted this challenge.
Two things are true with frying turkeys, you need the right equipment and a shitload of oil. In this case the right equipment is more or less a giant-sized bunsen burner which comes some assembly-required in a kit. We got ours at Home Depot and I wouldn't recommend any jury-rigged contrivances as stand-ins since this seems to be how most of the explosively bad endings happen. That, and there are lots of unforeseen tools like the turkey-dunking/retrieval hook apparatus, as well as the long thermometer for keeping your oil in the sweet spot between 325 - 350 degrees farenheit. (Too cold and your bird won't cook, too hot and it's fireball time!)
But the best part is that when you get it right, as we did, you spend minutes (45 of them), not hours, waiting for your bird and when it comes out the skin is crispy and tastes like bacon, while the interior is moist and delicious.