adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

My Secret to a Delicious Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is hands down my absolute favorite holiday and I'm so excited that it's right around the corner!  For the last 5 years The Hub and I have enjoyed an "Orphan's Thanksgiving" in San Francisco  with about 30 of our closest friends.  These Thanksgivings have been some of the most fun and memorable holidays of my life!  (sorry Mom)

Thanksgiving 2008

I will now share with you the point of difference that makes our Thanksgivings the most delicious...YOU MUST DEEP-FRY THE TURKEY. People, I'm telling you, once you eat a deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving, you will have to do so for the rest of your life because it's absolutely the most delicious turkey on Earth.  It's flavorful, moist, and FRIED without being greasy.  And let's face it, everything is better when it's fried.   We've been doing this for the last 5 years and I am hooked.  Plus it only takes about 3 minutes per pound to cook, so it's much faster and leaves the oven open for other dishes.  We typically make 3 different flavors of deep-fried turkeys for our 30 guests and I'm going to tell you how you can do the same. You'll need:
  • Fresh or fully thawed turkey, maximum of 15 pounds, which is the largest for deep frying (this is why we usually make 3)
  • 30 quart Deep Fryer with accompanying tools like this one from Target
  • Peanut Oil
  • Propane Gas Tank
  • Deep Fry or Candy Thermometer
  • Flavor Injector like this one from Williams-Sonoma
  • Lots of butter
  • Spice rub such as Rosemary-Sage, Maple or Chinese 5-Spice - get creative!
Preparing the Turkeys
  1. The night before Thanksgiving, clean out the inside of the bird, removing any parts, and rinse inside and outside with cold water.
  2. Place on a piece of cardboard that has been covered with foil and then layered with paper towels to absorb moisture.  Make sure bird is completely dry and no water remains inside the cavity. This is very important as you do not want any water going in the deep fryer.
  3. In a medium sized saucepan, heat up ½ stick of butter and add in a generous amount of spice rub, about ¼ cup.  Stir until melted.
  4. Use the flavor injector to inject the butter and spice rub all over the bird:  breasts, legs and wings.  Make sure to plunge the injector at least 1 inch into the meat where possible.  Some of the liquid might spill out of the hole.  Inject until turkey is plump and full.  You may need to make more of the butter-spice mixture to fill up the bird.
  5. Once the birds have been injected, use remaining spice rub to rub on the skin of the bird and inside the cavity.
  6. Refrigerate until you are ready to fry.
Fry that Turkey!
  1. Set up the fryer outside on a level, dry surface.
  2. Fill the deep fryer with peanut oil until you reach the maximum “fill to” line noted in the pot.
  3. Use a candy thermometer to heat the oil to about 325°.  Make sure not to exceed 350°.  This should take about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Place the bird in the turkey hanger (use instructions from your turkey frying kit) and slowly lower it into the pot.
  5. Let that turkey fry!  Frying usually takes about 45 minutes, or about 3 minutes per pound.  Check the bird’s temperature with a meat thermometer.  When the thermometer registers 170° in the breast and 180° in the thigh, it’s done!
  6. Pull the turkey out by the hanger and let it cool for a few minutes before carving.
  • Make sure you are frying in a safe area and keep a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Do not allow any water in or near the fryer
  • Do not stuff the birds – it doesn’t work
  • Wear safety goggles when frying
  • Never leave the hot oil unattended
  • Don't allow children or pets near the cooking area
  • Allow oil to cool completely before disposing or storing it
  • Recycle your oil once used - DO NOT PUT IT DOWN THE DRAIN

12 Responses to “My Secret to a Delicious Thanksgiving”

  1. 1. i love the name “orphan’s thanksgiving”
    2. i totally agree with the whole deep frying thing, it’s so delicious.
    3. have you ever brined a turkey? it’s pretty damn good too.

  2. Natalie says:

    YES! A brined turkey is delicious! Almost as delicious as a deep-fried one… ;)

  3. marq says:

    appreciate your safety tips… don’t want to feel guilty about some fool blinding their cat.

  4. Devon says:

    i feel more comfortable with your deep frying method now that i see Michael is putting safety first with his protective glasses.

  5. Kelly Rix says:

    We do orphan thanksgiving’s in AZ too! The best way to spend the holiday in my opinion :)

  6. Cassie says:

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  12. These look wonderful Mary. I had to laugh- my 4 year old grand-daughter called this week and asked if I would make treats with her for her class. She lives in FL and we're in NC!! Her mom was laughing and commented that maybe Grandma and Grandpa could move nearer to which the little princess replied "Oh, YES, Grandma- I miss you and I'm getting old, you know!" We do miss themxoxo Pattie

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