Tips And Tricks For The Turkey Fryer
By Chet Hastings
There is always a learning curve with any new appliance or gadget. The turkey fryer is no different. There are some simple tips that can get you started quicker and with greater confidence. One of the first questions is usually, “How do I know how much oil to put in the pot?” This is an important question because if too much oil is in the pot and heated then it will most likely overflow the pot or boil over the edge when the turkey is placed in the pot.
A good method to use to determine the exact amount of oil needed with the bird you are going to fry is to place the bird on the stand in the pot and then fill the pot with water to about 2 inches over the bird. Now remove the bird and note the water level. Make a measurement from the top of the pot to the top of the water level.
Now all that is needed is to dry the pot and the turkey. Fill the pot with oil to the same level that the water had reached without the turkey. When the oil is heated you can now safely insert the bird with confidence that the level is proper. Even though some pots have an etched or stamped mark indicating the top oil level it might always be a good idea to run your own test with the turkeys you are going to be using in order to save oil and also for added safety.
Oil can be used for times as long as 4 or 5 hours to cook additional turkeys as long as the temperature remains at the recommended 350 degrees. Be sure not to let the oil rise higher than 375 degrees or it will began to smoke and break down and become rancid. Oil is reuseable if it is properly drained, filtered and properly stored.
Keep in mind that the more the oil is used the greater the chance it can retain minute amounts of sediment which could affect the flavor of the finished bird. Experience would be the best teacher as you get more and more use from your turkey fryer. If your oil has been used a lot and you are not sure of its quality run a simple test by frying a few potato wedges in a sample of the oil. Tasting these will quickly tell you if the oil has gone rancid. You should use a funnel equipped with a filter to strain the oil when removing it from the pot and placing in back in the storage container.
Of course it goes without saying that the oil needs to be completely cooled before draining. Handling hot cooking oil is a sure path to injury or at the least a terrible mess. In a very short period of time I am sure you will become rather fond of your turkey fryer as you receive more and more compliments about your new cooking skills and you are not a slave to an oven for 4 or more hours to roast a turkey.