Deep-fried turkey is crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, and perfect for people who don’t like traditional roast turkey. The problem is that if it’s not done properly, it can be extremely hazardous, particularly if you’re cooking over an open flame. Even if there is no fire, boiling oil is serious business.
To be safe, the turkey should be completely thawed and as dry as possible before going into the oil. It’s also critical to have the right amount of oil in the pot so it covers the... turkey fully when it’s submerged, but it doesn’t spill over the sides of the pot or fryer when the turkey is place inside. To make sure you get the right amount of oil follow this trick for measuring how much you’ll need. Put the turkey in the pot or fryer, add water to the level the oil should be, and mark that level in some way or measure how much water you added. Then remove the turkey and empty and dry the pot. Replace the water with the same amount of oil, and you’ll be ready to fry. That is, of course, once you’ve chosen the best fryer for you. Here are the six best on the market today.
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If you like the idea of fried turkey, but want nothing to do with large quantities of hot oil, the Char-Broil Oil-Less Turkey fryer will let you lose the oil but keep the “fry.” It can handle a turkey up to 16 pounds and cooks with infrared for a faster cooking time with no oil. You can also use the fryer for roasts, chickens, or other meats. And unlike fryers that use oil, you can coat the meat with a rub before cooking.
The cooking chamber has a double-wall construction for even heating and a... crisp crust. Chicken or turkey cook at about 8-10 minutes per pound, and overall cooking time is cut even further since you don’t need to wait for the oil to heat before you start. It uses propane as the heating source, so it must be used outdoors. Yes, the technique is a little different, but the turkey still tastes amazing.
This includes a cooking basket, lifter, and meat thermometer.
If you want to expand the versatility of the fryer, the Fryer + Accessory Kit includes four boneless rib hooks to hang long boneless cuts of meat, two leg racks so you can keep up to 12 chicken legs separate during cooking, six easy-out rib hooks to hang ribs, eight skewers for making kabobs, a holder to keep the kabobs upright in the cooker, and a basket lifter.
Other available accessories for this model (at an extra cost) include a bunk-bed basket that sits on top of the cooking basket to hold extra food, a cover for the fryer to keep it protected from weather, and a stackable oven insert for cooking up to three different items at the same time.
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If turkey frying is more than just a Thanksgiving tradition at your house, this kit, with a 32-quart stainless steel stockpot and a 50,000-BTU stainless steel burner, is built to last. The included pot lid is vented, and the kit includes a perforated basket for steaming or boiling, a 3-piece detachable skewer set, a thermometer, a perforated poultry rack with grab hook, and a seasoning injector.
This can hold a turkey up to 25 pounds and the skewer set can hold three whole chickens and cook them... in 20 minutes. The basket is raised above the bottom of the pot by 1 3/4 inches, so you can use it for steaming, or add more liquid and use the basket to remove food easily.
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If you like the idea of fried whole turkeys, but you don’t have outdoor space for a propane fryer, this electric fryer fits on your counter and can accommodate a turkey up to 20 pounds.
Frying speeds up the cooking process, so that 20-pound turkey will be done in less than 1 1/2 hours. This has a dial to control the temperature and a digital timer. The heating element is 1650 watts for fast heating to the proper temperature.
For easy cleaning, there’s an oil drain valve so you can remove the oil... before you move the fryer. For safety, the power cord has a magnetic break-away attachment.
This isn’t just for frying, though. You can use it for steaming or boiling, so you can boil a huge batch of fresh corn for your backyard barbecue. Drain clips let you raise the basket above the simmering water, so you can steam tamales for a crowd without worrying about them getting soggy.
Since there’s no open flame, this is safer than a propane frying, but you’re still dealing with a lot of very hot oil, so it’s important to follow instructions for safe frying. And while it’s a countertop appliance, it will take quite a bit of space in use and in storage.
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If you already have a heat source that’s sufficient for heating oil to fry a turkey, there’s no need to spend extra money — just buy the pot and accessories to fit that turkey.
This includes a 32-quart stainless steel pot that is very durable, non-reactive, and easy to keep clean. When you’re not using the pot for frying, it can be used as a very large stockpot for cooking soup, chili, or tomato sauce, or use it for boiling vegetables or steaming tamales.
The perforated basket can be used for... steaming, and the lid is vented. The pot has heavy duty handles, so you can move it, even when it’s full. This also includes a skewer set so you can fry three chickens at once. There’s an indent at the bottom of the pot that raises the basket 1 3/4 inches above the bottom of the pot for steaming.
While this is a great deal if you already have a heat source, if you’re new to turkey frying, you’ll need to buy a propane burner as well, or you can buy a complete kit that includes the burner and pot. Turkey frying can be dangerous, so be sure to read all of the safety instructions before starting.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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If you already have a large, nearly 30-quart pot, this propane gas cooker can save you money over kits that include both a pot and accessories. It has a 14-inch diameter cooking surface and low center of gravity to handle your largest stockpots, and wide-set legs for stability. It can handle the weight of cooking pots of up to 100 quarts—more than you’ll need for your average turkey.
If you’re buying a pot separately, an aluminum pot will be lighter, but less versatile since you shouldn’t use... aluminum for foods that are highly acidic—just in case you wanted to use the pot for cooking a vat of tomato sauce. Stainless steel pots are more versatile, but are heavier for the same material thickness, and more expensive than aluminum. This cooker has a 360-degree wind screen and operates at a maximum 185,000 BTUs.
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This compact electric fryer is designed for indoor use and holds 15 liters (slightly less than 16 quarts) so you’ll be frying a smaller turkey, turkey parts, a chicken, or fries. It can also be used for boiling or steaming.
This set includes a basket and a lifter and has an integrated timer and a thermostat for frying at up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s great for smaller families, but if you dream of frying a large bird for Thanksgiving, you’ll need to look for something with a larger capacity.... This doesn’t have a drain, so you’ll need to wait until the oil is cool and then pour it out.
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Most people buy a turkey fryer for occasional use – maybe just for Thanksgiving and perhaps a shrimp boil in the summer. In that case, a lower cost fryer might be the best buy, since it won’t get a lot of wear-and-tear over its lifetime. This fryer has a 30-quart pot that’s large enough for up to an 18-pound turkey. It’s made from aluminum, so it’s lightweight, but it shouldn’t be used for cooking acidic foods, like tomato sauce.
This set includes an aluminum basket with drain clip, thermometer,... turkey hanger hook, and a lifting fork. The 15-inch propane cooker stand has cast iron burner for durability.
The timer has an automatic shut-off for safety, so it won’t overheat if left unattended. The downside is that it needs to be pressed every 15 minutes during the cooking time to keep it on.
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