Ever since I ran across it somewhere on the Internet I’ve wanted to deep fry a turkey. At first it looks like the most redneck and crass thing, but… it’s the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. All the instructions I could find online were American and thus in Fahrenheit but as a proud European (for another year or two I’d guess), so I’ve translated them into nice scientific Celsius. Whist I was going to have 20 litres of boiling fat it made sense to deep fry a load of potatoes and some hams. Because reasons.

It takes a village to raise a child or so they say, and deep frying a turkey is not a solo effort. Thank you so much to G&S Organics for the excellent turkey and Duncan from Coop for the gas bottles. Thanks also to all by friends who turned up (I suspect just in case I went up in flames), and for letting me steal your pictures, including Tommy at TyneSight.

UPDATED for those asking about the scrubs, it’s because they’re they most “clean burning” clothes I owned, been 100% cottom. If you’re going to potencially be on fire, wear somethings that won’t stick to you. You can buy Medical Scrubs online from Amazon very easily. They’re super comfortable once they’ve been washed a lot.

You will need

  • A high welfare turkey. Mine was about 4kg.
  • A turkey fryer. I should have bought one with a basket as well as a spike
  • About 18 to 20 litres of sunflower oil
  • About 4kg of potatoes
  • A big handful of salt
  • A big handful of dark sugar
  • A heaped tablespoon of mixed spice
  • A heaped tablespoon of cinnamon
  • A powder fire extinguisher
  • A pair of heat proof gloves, ideally lliquid proof, though mine weren’t
  • A metal slotted spoon or fry basket would have been amazing.

Do

24 hours before eating

  1. Defrost your turkey if it was frozen. Remove giblets if it has them
  2. Dissolve salt and sugar in enough hot water to dissolve completely
  3. Mix in the spices
  4. Put the turkey in a food safe plastic bag, and put this inside the turkey fryer (it’s a nice size)
  5. Make up the brine with cold water to completely cover the turkey
  6. Add some ice if it’s not basically freezing
  7. Clip the bag shut and leave for 24 hours

3 hours before eating

  1. Open the bag and dump the whole lot into the turkey fryer
  2. Thread the turkey onto it’s stand, legs up
  3. Put the turkey into the fryer and top up with water until it’s completely covered
  4. Lift out the turkey letting all the water drain back into the fryer. Mark the level. This is where you’ll need to fill with oil later
  5. Leave the turkey to air dry whilst you do all the rest of the prep
  6. Wash out and dry the fryer. You don’t want any water left in it
  7. Peel and chop the potatoes into pieces about as big as you’d want on a fork. Cover with cold water
  8. Erect the turkey fryer an connect up the gas as per the instructions. Level it with a spirit level
  9. Trim the turkey and remove the turkey’s parsons nub (the arse)
  10. Trim off the excess skin around the neck of the bird
  11. Cut into the bird where oil will pool. I opened up under the wings and the neck hole to help drain following a video on YouTube I can’t find again. Sorry about that

1 hour and 30 minutes before you want to eat

  1. Drain the potatoes so they have a change to dry
  2. Put the fryer onto the burner and fire it up
  3. Once the fat reaches 180oC you’re ready to cook
  4. Make sure the turkey is dry on the outside and doesn’t have any pockets of water
  5. TURN OFF THE GAS SO THERE’S NO FLAME. I only write very important things in caps. Take note
  6. Thread the Turkey hanger onto a broom handle so you and A Trusted Friend can lower it into the fat whilst not having your face above it
  7. Slowly lower it in, pausing and reversing if the fat starts to rush up
  8. Once the turkey is resting on the bottom remove the broom and the hanger, then turn the gas back on
  9. You’re aiming to keep the fat at 180, but the cold weight of turkey will have dropped the temperature right down. I gave it a blast on full flame then reduced it back again.
  10. After 10 minute x Weight of turkey in kilograms you sould be ready. I resisted lifting the turkey to check on it, amazingly.
  11. TURN OFF THE GAS SO THERE’S NO FLAME. (see note about caps above)
  12. Using a heat proof glove and long sleeves, lift the turkey out. You could use the the broom trick again
  13. Lift slowly so the fat drains out of the body caverty and place on a waiting tin tray. Remove the turkey spike
  14. Cover with tinfoil and keep warm whilst you cook the potatoes. Like all cooked meat, resting will help improve the juiciness
  15. Slowly add the potatoes into the fat. It will rush up, do this in stages
  16. Turn the gas back on and get it back to 180.
  17. Potatoes will take about 20 minutes.
  18. Turn off the gas. You know the drill
  19. Fish out all the potatoes, they should be crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.
  20. For good measure we also added 3 gammon joints quartered. They took about ten minutes and were excellent.

Result

Crispy on the outside, moist inside, breast and leg cooked to perfection. The potatoes were crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. The chunks of ham were very salty, but tremendous.

See pictures

Brine mix Bird bagged in brine before boxing Finding the oil level Trimmed Resting and drying Potatoes Hams Safety Optimum cooking temperature Great consentration About ready to come out It looks burnt, don't panic Out of sequence, it's just gone in Fresh from the oil Carving the white and dark Winner winner Nuggets of deep fried gammon