We carefully dried our turkey after thoroughly thawing it out by patting it with paper towels inside and out. Next, we applied our dry rub generously inside the body cavity and on the outside skin, and rubbed it into the meat with our hands. Moisture makes boiling oil splatter, so you want the turkey to be as dry as possible. To really make sure it was thawed out, we immersed the turkey in an isotonic brine solution which was 1/2 cup of sea salt, a gallon or so of water and a quart of orange juice overnight in the refrigerator. You don’t have to do this step, but you do have to ensure your turkey is 100% not frozen or bad things will happen. A frozen bird in hot oil will build steam pressure internally and explode like a grenade, scattering burning hot oil and creating a highly flammable oil mist. It could even rupture the pot, which will result in a Chernobyl type disaster. Needless to say, any personnel within a large radius could get hurt or worse.
Christa Kojima helps set the turkey up on the hanger. The hanger is made of martensitic stainless steel, vacuum degassed to reduce inclusions which may weaken it. We first cryoed the hanger and had it isotropically polished using the REM process to an RA of 0.01 um. We then WPC treated the hanger to reduce sticking and to improve fatigue life at elevated temperatures. Hanger failure could cause a string of catastrophic incidents, which could do more than just ruin dinner, so we insisted on some careful prep.
Our thawed, dried and seasoned turkey is ready to rock!
Oil temperature is critical. You want the oil to be at 350 degrees, so light the burner and monitor carefully. You are close to the flash point of the oil, so don’t go away for 20 minutes with the burner blasting! Adjust the flame to get the temperature right. Expect the oil temp to drop by 30-40 degrees due to the thermal mass of the bird when it goes in, so the flame will have to be increased for some time after the bird drop is completed. Remember, 3 gallons of boiling oil is dangerous stuff, so treat the whole rig with respect and keep people and pets away. One trip on the propane hose can mean big problems! No klutzes should be allowed near any of this.
Here we are, the rig ready to make the drop. Oil at 350 degrees, tank set at maximum safe distance, fire extinguisher set uphill of rig, cherry picker and bird on hanger. You can see what could happen if one of your lame ass friends or a big dog trips on the propane hose.
Martin drops the turkey! This is about as easy as inserting control rods into a live nuclear reactor. As tempting as it might seem to crack a beer while doing this, it is best if you are totally sober. The hot oil is about as safe as a pot of molten lead, so you gotta respect the process. Like we said, be careful and no problem. Lower the turkey slowly into the oil, maneuvering the hoist to you don’t side load the pot and tip the whole works over. The oil will flare up and splash and spit like hell for the first few minutes as the residual moisture flashes off, so you have to be really careful at this stage and stand back. Drop the bird in a couple inches at a time, stopping for 15-20 seconds in between each drop. This is the most dangerous part of the operation. If there are frozen areas in the carcass, the bird will blow at this point so use caution.