Project Fried Turkey
Well, the holiday season is upon us and we decided we were going to cook something MotoIQ style, which means it has to be technical and dangerous. What better thing to cook than a fried turkey? Frying a turkey gets the job done in only 45 minutes and leaves you with a succulent and tasty bird with very little hassle and an easy clean up.
Frying a turkey has many technical advantages over roasting in an oven. The first major advantage is that it is fast. It only takes about 3.5 minutes per pound which means our 13 lb turkey was fully cooked in less than 45 minutes. With frying, the meat does not get dry and it has a wonderful crispy skin.
The bad thing is if done wrong you can get third degree burns or worse. Worse means you can get severely burned and burn down the house in the process. If things really go wrong, you can add a huge propane explosion to the mix as well. We like danger and excitement, so watch how we do things the MotoIQ way.
The first thing you need is a portable industrial frying rig. I think we got ours from Target/Harbor Freight or something like that. Yeah I know someone will probably bitch that this is a knock off, but since I am not an expert at portable industrial fryers, I don't know what this could be a knock off of. I have never seen something like this sold in stores. I take that back, I have seen something like this in Chinese restaurants to heat up woks for stir frying, so maybe this is a CDM product. When you open the box you get a burner assembly (propane tank not included), a big ass stainless steel pot, turkey hanger with grab-hook, and a thermometer. The pot is tall and the burner base is narrow, so you have something that can tip over real easy. Not too good for safety.
Of course gallons of really hot oil, fire and propane on a rickety, probable knock off of a big ass fryer is sorta a recipe for something bad, so we broke out our big fire extinguisher that we use in the pits for fueling stops. Keep this close enough to be handy, but far enough so it won't get engulfed in flaming boiling oil if something happens! It would suck to add an exploding fire extinguisher to the possible conflagration or to fry your feet wading through burning and boiling oil to try to get the fire extinguisher. Remember that water from the garden hose will only spread the flames in an oil fire, so make sure you use an ABC rated extinguisher. Halon is probably the best, it won't contaminate the food so you could probably wash the turkey off, and plop it on the serving platter after you put out the fire.
The type of oil is really important. You gotta get the oil really hot for long periods of time so the oil has to have a high flash point lest it light off in the middle of cooking, not good. Because of this, you should only use canola or peanut oil. The drawback to peanut oil is you can't find it in mass quantities very easily and people are allergic to it. Since we needed three gallons of oil, we used canola because we could get it in bulk at the local grocery store. The oil alone cost $45 bucks, so make the most of it. Invite your buddies over and cook all their turkeys!
SAFETY TIP: Where most people end up immolating themselves is when they don't calculate exactly how much oil the turkey will displace when it goes in the pot. They fill the pot with oil, heat it up, then dump the turkey in. The turkey causes the oil to overflow and BOOM! To prevent this from happening to you, fill the pot with water. Put your bird in the pot with the plastic wrapper from the store still on. Adjust the water level to fully cover the bird. Take the bird out and note the water level in the pot. This is your safe oil level.
Seasoning is important, so we made a rub out of some crap we found in the pantry. Steak BBQ rub, fresh ground cracked pepper and some poultry seasoning. Some guys put her in with nothing, some people do all sorts of elaborate seasoning. We think any sort of savory type seasoning is good.
Stuff you need for frying safely. Industrial CDM fry rig, cherry picker, 10 lb fire extinguisher. You have to pick your location very carefully. You need to do this on a large, non-flammable surface. Imagine 3 gallons of flaming oil if you screw up, so you don't want to do this on a wood deck, for instance. You also have to consider that flames may shoot 10 feet in the air or more so don't do this in your patio, in your house, garage or near any low trees. If she blows you got to put her out fast before the propane tank cooks off. If that happens kiss your ass and a good part of the neighborhood goodbye, so make sure your insurance is all up to date. Seriously, a lot of people have been screwed up doing this, but if you respect the process, it's really no problem. Sort of like firearms or bomb disposal. Follow procedures carefully and everyone goes home.