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Deep-fried turkey easy if prepared properly
Deep fried turkey is becoming a popular holiday dish cooked
at home. But improperly prepared, it can have a less than
desirable taste and can create a safety hazard to your home
something you always need to think about when deep frying
anything," said Dr. Clay King, professor of nutrition
and food sciences at Texas Woman's University. "Commercial
kitchens have hoods and built-in fire extinguishing equipment
if things get out of hand. Most residential kitchens don't."
While water boils at 212 degrees, frying oils don't even look
hot at 300 degrees. With that in mind, Dr. King advises anyone
who deep fries this holiday season to keep children, guests
and pets out of the cooking area — be it indoors or
burns, but hot oil not only burns, it sticks to your skin.
No one wants a holiday gathering to turn into a holiday tragedy,"
Dr. King said.
Most deep fryers
designed for turkeys are intended for outdoor use. Follow
the manufacturer's instructions on the recommended distance
from the fryer to overhangs and buildings. Use the fryer on
a flat surface, but not on a wooden deck. Using a fryer on
a concrete surface is fine, providing you don't mind oil stains.
keep a fire extinguisher close. Oils do have a flash point
and if they reach that temperature they can burst into flames,"
Dr. King said.
It is possible to deep-fry a turkey on a kitchen stove, but
it is usually inadvisable because of the logistics of lowering
a large bird into a tall pot of hot oil.
Once the safety
issues have been addressed, the next consideration should
be the oil used for the frying.
think cooking with Canola is healthy. Often Canola oil is
hydrogenated to make it more stable and extend its shelf life,"
Dr. King said. Due to this type of processing, there are now
trans fatty acids in the oil, which according to recent research,
means the oil is not heart healthy.
Dr. King recommends
using cottonseed oil or peanut oil to deep fry a turkey. "Cottonseed
oil and peanut oil are non-hydrogenated and healthier. This
is especially important now to avoid trans fatty acids,”
is more expensive than cotton seed oil, but it's easier to
find. You'll find cotton seed oil where commercial kitchens
buy their supplies."
In addition, the frying oils can be purchased at sporting
good stores, along with other items for frying turkeys. For
example, Dr. King said, flavor injections are favorites of
many turkey fryers as they add extra flavor and seasonings.
The pot for deep
frying also is important, and most pots for deep frying a
turkey should be at least 40 quarts — about five gallons
of oil will be needed — and have a basket for lowering
and lifting the bird. A 10-pound or smaller turkey deep-fries
better than larger birds.
Many deep fried
turkey recipes recommend a frying temperature of 350 degrees.
The metal a pot is made from will determine how quickly the
oil will heat and how much it will cool when the bird is lowered
Although a heavy
metal pot, like cast iron, takes longer to heat, once it is
hot it maintains its temperature even when the bird is lowered
into the oil. Stainless steel and aluminum pots heat faster
and cool faster, which means the oil will cool more when the
turkey is placed in them. That cooling factor means a longer
cooking time, which can mean a less desirable taste, Dr. King
Consult the owner's
manual about cooking times, but generally, cook the turkey
three minutes per pound.
And while a turkey
is frying, never leave it unattended. "Safety first,"
Dr. King said.
a turkey isn't as unhealthy as it might sound," Dr. King
fried turkey is moist and delicious and not at all greasy.
The inside of the bird steams, and that keeps the nutrients
and flavors in. When you boil or bake, many of those nutrients
and flavors escape."
Marinades and other
seasonings injected into the turkey and a dry rub on the outside
can provide additional flavor, he said.
Amanda McKeen Simpson
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456