Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Once You Fry, You'll Never Roast Again

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Once You Fry, You'll Never Roast Again

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union staff writer

In the Macdonald clan, the holidays are split up among my sisters and me. Barbara handles Thanksgiving, I host Christmas and Diane does a springtime conglomeration of Easter and a slew of birthdays.

I bring this up for two reasons -- one, to explain why I don't do a lot of Thanksgiving cooking and two, to talk about deep-frying turkeys. For the past few years, that's how Barbara and her husband, Robert, have done them. It's a classic case of "once you try it fried, you'll never go back."

The skin is crispy, and the meat is as juicy as you'll ever eat. Unless you like your turkey sandpaper dry, fried turkey is the way to go.

If you want to try it, the first thing you'll need to know is that it's an expensive way to cook a turkey.

You have to buy the proper equipment. Hardware and kitchen supply stores sell deep-frying kits. They include a tall pot, a stand and a burner unit. Some come with a thermometer and other accessories. These cost between $65 and $100. You'll also need a propane gas tank.

Please don't try to rig your own setup from stuff around the house. We're talking about very hot oil and a heavy turkey. If this thing were to tip over, you'd have a major league disaster on your hands.

The next most expensive item is the peanut oil. You'll need several gallons (depending on the size of the pot and bird). To find out how much you'll need, place the turkey in the pot and then fill the pot with water, just enough to cover the entire bird. Pull the turkey out and the resulting water level is how much oil you'll need.

This is an important step. When you plunk that turkey in the hot oil, you don't want any overflow. It will be popping, spitting and snapping when it first takes the plunge. Oil running over the top is a real fire danger.

This is why you must fry the turkey outside -- not in the garage, not on the screened-in patio -- but outside on a level surface. …

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