For a deep-fried turkey experience that is safe and produces delicious results follow these guidelines:
You’ll need a 40- or 60-quart pot with basket, burner and propane gas tank, a candy thermometer to measure oil temperature and a meat thermometer to determine if the turkey is done. For added safety, have a fire extinguisher and potholders nearby.
Place fryer on a level dirt or grassy area. Never fry a turkey indoors, in a garage or in any other structure attached to a building. Avoid frying on wood decks, which could catch fire, and concrete, which can be stained by the oil.
Smaller turkeys, 8 to 10 pounds, and turkey parts such as breast, wings and thighs are best for frying. You’ll need approximately 5 gallons of oil; more for larger turkeys. Turkey can be injected with a marinade, coated with breading or seasoned with a rub before cooking. Approximately 1 cup of marinade is needed for an 8- to 10-pound turkey, 2/3 injected in the breast and 1/3 in the rest of the turkey. Don’t not stuff a turkey you intend to fry.
To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the basket and place in the pot. Add water until it reaches 1 to 2 inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level, using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Pour out the water and dry the pot thoroughly. Be sure to measure for oil before breading or marinating the turkey.
Once the oil has come to temperature, place the turkey in the basket and slowly lower into the pot. For safety reasons, it is best to have two people lowering and raising the turkey. Whole turkeys require approximately 3 minutes per pound to cook. Never leave the fryer unattended.
Remove the turkey and check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F in three places – the thickest part of the breast, the innermost portion of the wing and the innermost portion of the thigh.