Heartstring-pulling ads on TV, cheesy hits blaring from shop speakers, Secret Santa organising at work – there’s no denying that it’s that time of year again.
While Christmas may be just around the corner, to US expats and American culture lovers across the UK, many will still be getting over the gastronomic excesses of Thanksgiving.
We know, Thanksgiving isn’t exactly a widely celebrated holiday here in the UK but, as a nation of food lovers, we can find culinary inspiration anywhere.
Cooking inspiration from a nation of fryers
On the face of it, Thanksgiving dinner isn’t that far removed from our traditional Sunday roast. They share the same Brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots and other roasted veggies, even down to the gravy and cranberry sauce.
While we can ignore the winter squashes and pumpkin pies, it’s the Thanksgiving turkey – or more specifically, a unique cooking method of the festive fowl – that we intend to explore in this article.
Deep frying a turkey
The benefits of deep frying a turkey as opposed to roasting one are two fold. Firstly, it’s a great deal quicker – roasting can take between 3 to 5 hours while deep frying can take as little as 25 minutes to an hour, depending on size. The second and arguably most important benefit is the taste. There’s nothing quite like the crispy skin and succulent white meat that only deep frying can achieve!
At Frymax, while we’re passionate about all things frying, we leave the actual cooking to the professionals. If you want to know exactly how to deep fry a turkey like a pro, there are plenty of great step-by-step guides out there.
Safety concerns when deep frying a turkey
DISCLAIMER – while there’s a certain amount of danger associated with all types of cooking, deep frying a turkey requires particular vigilance when it comes to safe frying practices.
The sheer size of a turkey and the quantity of oil that is necessary to properly fry it means you’ll have to pay special attention to the following safety tips:
- Never deep fry a frozen turkey – as oil has a higher boiling point than water, the ice of the frozen turkey instantly turns to steam. This expanding steam causes the oil to boil over, which can catch fire and cause what is known in fire fighting circles as a ‘turkey bomb’.
- Fry outside – always deep fry your turkey in a fryer that is outside and away from any structures that could catch alight.
- Never overfill your pot with oil – you should only ever fill your pot with enough oil to cover the turkey by around half an inch. The level of oil should leave at least 6 inches between the top of the frying pot and the surface of the oil. This will avoid any splash over and significantly reduce the risk of a fire.
- Make sure that the temperature of the frying oil doesn’t exceed 180°C (or 350°F) – the hotter the frying oil becomes, the more combustible it is. Always use a frying thermometer to ensure you know the exact temperature of the oil (long stem frying thermometers are ideal for the deep pot needed for deep frying a turkey).
- Ensure the turkey is thoroughly defrosted – for the same fire and ice issues mentioned above, allow at least 24 hours for every 10 pounds the turkey weighs.
- Turn your fryer off before introducing your turkey to pot – this precaution safeguards against any oil that may spill out of the pot from catching fire. Lowering your turkey into the pot slowly will also help prevent any splash over.
- Keep a grease-fire extinguisher handy – never attempt to deep fry a turkey without having an approved grease-fire extinguisher within arms reach.
Best oil for deep frying turkey
Now that we’ve directed you to the best cooking methods and covered the key safety precautions, let’s get to the Frymax area of expertise – frying oil.
When it comes to deep frying turkey, the traditional frying oil of choice in the US is peanut oil. With its high smoke point (the temperature at which oil starts to burn, also known as its ‘flash point’) and neutral taste, it’s easy to see why.
However, peanut oil is by no means your only choice and, if you or your guests have peanut allergies, there are plenty of alternative frying oils out there.
Grapeseed, coconut and soybean oil can all be used for deep frying as they have relatively high smoke points but their distinct flavours can impair taste.
Turkey breast deserves the best
For the best oil to deep fry a turkey in, you can’t really go wrong with palm oil. With its high smoke point, very neutral taste and oxidative stability, it’s a frying oil that will fry your turkey to perfection without affecting its taste. It’s high heat resistance also allows you to reuse the oil multiple times, which is ideal if you’re hosting many hungry mouths where one turkey is just not going to cut it!
For the best palm oil in the industry, look no further than Frymax. Long lasting, fully refined and sustainable, it’s no surprise that Frymax has been the deep frying oil of choice for fish and chip shops for the past 60 years. Get in touch with our team today to learn more.