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Handsome Lessons in Frying Turkeys

This is the safe result you're looking for

This is the safe result you're looking for

As we alluded to in our first post, few things are more handsome than frying turkey. Below is our step-by-step recipe for cajun fried turkey. Of all the Thanksgiving turkey recipes out there, we promise that this one will impress relatives and be one of the easiest Thanksgivings you’ll ever have (…or tailgates, or parties, or whatevers).

Now I know what your wives, girlfriends, and (in our case) Handsome Association members’ girlfriends and wives will be all complaining and concerned about things like “safety” or “fire” or “a bobbing smoking turkey causing a cascading tide of oil spilling on your flesh.” Of course frying a turkey is dangerous and extreme. Why? Because everything awesome is DANGEROUS AND EXTREME. Like Powerthirst, for instance. There are 2 very simple steps to ensure that the process is as safe as lifting and basting a 20lb turkey in a 400 degree box. Recipe (with pictures from our Sunset Junction street fair fry!) after the jump.

Step 1: Face down your enemies

Step 1: Face down your enemies

The preparation for fried turkey is similar to baking one, except of course that it’s MORE EXTREME. In addition to removing the neck and giblets (if you’re real bayou, save these for later! yum!), you need to remove the metal binding around the turkey’s legs. You’ll need open access to the cavity and if you leave the metal binding on it will cause the turkey to cook strangely (hot around the metal, no crispy awesome on the inside of the legs). Also, be sure to get a smaller bird – think 12lbs to 14lbs.

Since you’re clearing everything out, this is the best time to perform the first very important safety step: make certain that the turkey is completely, absolutely, unequivocally defrosted. Any – ANY – ice could cause the grease to expand rapidly enough to boil the oil over (in an EXTREME fashion!). WCS: you check the outside and it seems fine, stick her in, and ice in the cavity expands and the turkey bobs of the spit to the surface. Fast. Think of the cascade we mentioned earlier.

Step 2: Inject your turkeys

Step 2: Inject your turkeys

Injection is the best method for marination because it’s fast, it disperses flavor throughout the bird, and it’s ripe with euphemisms and sophomoric jokes. The first few times we fried we used Cajun Injector brand marinade and the injector included in the pack from the marinade or the outdoor cooking set we use. We ran out and in a pinch last week for Sunset Junction bought some tasty-sounding salad dressing, sieved it to get the particles out, and injected away. Be sure to inject evenly, slowly, and deeply.

Step 3: Brining the turkey

Step 3: Brining the turkey

Brining the turkey ensures that your injected marinade will soak in and that your turkey will be moist and delicious. The process is simple – soak your turkey in room temperature water. The brine can be made all sorts of ways: simple salt and water, a near-vegetable broth, or our preferred method: Zatarain’s seafood boil. This mix of spicy seasoning and salt will give your turkey the boost it needs to beat out bland, buttered turkeys. Let the turkeys brine overnight. Don’t sweat it if you have to do it at room temperature; as our fried turkey guru Larry Harrell once told us “if anything lives through 45 minutes in boiling oil it’d have killed you on the counter before you started.”

Since you’re submerging the turkey in liquid, this is the best time to perform the second very important safety step: measure the amount of liquid the turkey displaces. This will be certain you have just enough oil in the pot, but not enough to spill over when you put your first turkey in (back to the flaming cascade). We brine in our cooking pot; you can line it with a garbage bag if you’re concerned about salt water being in contact with the pot. Put the turkey in the pot, pour brine so that it covers the top of the turkey by about one inch, pull the turkey out, and mark how high in the pot the liquid is. Simple volumetric science has now protected you and proved you’re better than everyone who said you’re an idiot for frying turkey. They don’t get any.

Step 4: EXTREME sophomoric joke

Step 4: EXTREME sophomoric joke

D-Day. You’re ready to fry. Pull the turkeys out, pat them dry, grab a beer/snacks/water, and stretch. Place hte first turkey on a spit run through the cavity of your totally no second thoughts stupidly defrosted turkey.

Here we go. Pour your peanut oil into the pot up to the mark you made the evening before. Peanut oil is best becuase it has a high smoke point and no flavor. This means pure, unadulterated bird (unless your turkeys stumble into it themselves – see above). This should go without saying, but choose a spot outside where you will not have to move whatsoever for at least 3 hours (more for multiple turkeys). Think ahead – you’ll need a chair, some shade, and potentially some company. Heat the oil to 325 degress, not 350 or above; this will keep the turkey from burning and only slows you down by an extra minute or so (hat tip again to Larry Harrell on this one).

Step 5: Deep frying your awesomeness

Step 5: Deep frying your awesomeness

As you can see, the process of boiling a few gallons of oil and the smell of deep frying fantastic will draw a crowd. If you’re tailgating or throwing a party, you’ll want to socialize and grab a few beers. I mean hey, you know us, we love to drink and party.

Whatever you do, do NOT follow your instincts to get bored, drink heavily, and wander around, no matter how EXTREME! you need your next brewski. You are to diligently watch the temperature, counteracting the warming turkey by tweaking the burner setting. You are to vigilantly guard the giant pot of boiling oil with your dinner in it from looky-loos and curious idiots. You are to fastidiously monitor your watch closely so that your turkey comes out exactly 3.5 minutes per pound of turkey later.

Step 6: Remove, consume, rejoice

Step 6: Remove, consume, rejoice

After the roughly 45 minutes (do the math, lazy Pomona kids), slowly pull the turkey out and place it on a platter. We find the best way to do it is hold the bird up with one hand, and use a protected second hand to pull the bottom of the spit out of the turkey, threading the bird onto a serving platter.

Carve and eat shortly after removal. Relish in the sounds of your friends savoring every bite. Be sure one of aid jerkoff friends remembers that you can’t remove yourself from the boiling oil area and are probably frying another turkey, macaroni and cheese, or other things that are tasty when fried (potatoes, twinkies, cellphones, whatever).

Step 7: Know that mine is Handsomest.

Step 7: Thou shalt know that mine is Handsomest.

Update for Thanksgiving: Check out our last-minute shopping list here. Good luck!

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  1. abnormally attractive woman posted on August 28, 2008:

    who is the handsome man wearing the purple shirt and watching the turkey fry? i want a piece of that

  2. eeyun posted on September 3, 2008:

    Bravo Handsome! The only thing missing, is a link to where one might obtain such a Handsome-approve deep frying device. The Turkey season is nearly upon us, and Handsome North is looking for a new way to titillate taste buds.

  3. Dirty Handsome posted on September 9, 2008:

    Check the link on ‘outdoor cooking set’ below step 2 – purchase, fry, and enjoy!

  4. Cute Dog Picture for the Handsome Holidays | Big Handsome posted on November 30, 2008:

    [...] holiday feast this Thanksgiving weekend. We had a lively gathering at Handsome HQ including our now infamous fried turkey (Dirty Handsome), a sampling of Beaujolais Nouveau, grilled veggies with thyme butter (Stoner [...]

  5. Future Bride posted on December 23, 2008:

    After seeing your site I am no longer afraid to make my own marinade…heck, at least i will be semi-sober while cooking mine!

  6. Classified Site posted on July 12, 2010:

    Pretty awesome stuff! I am going on a vacation where I will be able to utilize this information pretty well, so thank you a bunch for this great blog!

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