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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007: Gonna fry now

So it's now early Thanksgiving morning and in case anyone is wondering: yes, this year I am deep-frying a turkey! It'll be the first I've done in two years. I didn't fry one for Thanksgiving last year because I had to work all day at the TV station. Here's a pic of the 2005 Thanksgiving fried turkey and the one I did the previous Christmas and Thanksgiving 2004. You've no idea how much I missed doing one and how much I've been looking forward to this Thanksgiving. I started prepping the bird yesterday and just gave it a checkup and even pre-cooked, it smells delightful!

It must be borne in mind however that deep-frying (or Cajun-frying) a turkey is an EXTREMELY dangerous procedure! Every year, there are dozens (hundreds?) of accidents involving turkey frying that result in damaged homes, some even thoroughly destroyed and worse: severe injury including second and third-degree burns. I don't want to discourage anyone from trying fried turkey (in my opinion the only way to cook so noble a bird) but you really must be exceedingly cautious and maybe even a little crazy if you want to even begin contemplating doing such a thing.

So if you ever decide that you can't resist "going in deep", remember: do the "water trick" before preparing the bird so that you'll know how much oil to use (because the vast majority of turkey-frying accidents stem from putting way too much oil in the pot), don't use a bird that's too big for your pot, wear plenty of protection (especially hands and face), make sure the bird is completely dry on both the outside and inside, never leave the fryer unattended, never do this alone, keep children and animals a safe distance away, do not operate while intoxicated (a good rule for anything), move all vehicles a safe distance away, do not operate the fryer indoors or under a shelter (you wouldn't believe the stories I've heard of people attempting this in their living rooms and I've never heard of it turning out in any way other than the whole house burning down), and perhaps most important of all be patient and do not try to rush things. Cooking at only 3 1/2 - 4 minutes per pound at 350 degrees, it will be ready to eat very soon anyway (this is one of the reasons why I prefer deep-fried turkey, compared to basting which is too slow and leaves the meat too dry for my tastes: Cajun-fried turkey is exceptionally moist and tender).

In addition to all of these rules, I would also say that as a personal preference, I do not use the tripod-stand fryers. My turkeys have always been fried on a four-legged fryer because this maximizes stability for the pot (i.e. far less likely to tip over). It may cost a little extra but the added safety and peace of mind are well worth it.

So with all that said, here are the pre-game stats for Chris Knight's Thanksgiving Deep-Fried Turkey 2007:

Bird: Butterball(tm) brand 11.5 pound turkey (one of these days I'm going to find and prepare a wild turkey)

Marinade: Cajun Injector(tm) Creole Butter

Rub: Cajun Injector(tm) Cajun Shake, used generously on the inside and outside of the bird

Type of oil to be used: Peanut (would like to try cottonseed oil sometime if I can ever find any)

Music: A very important part of my personal turkey-frying ritual is to have a CD playing to mark the occasion, and for entertainment while the bird is cooking. The last time I did this for Thanksgiving, in 2005, it was the soundtrack for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which given all the seared flesh that I was working with seemed quite appropriate :-) This year, for reasons which should be obvious for anyone who's followed this blog over the past few months, the turkey-frying music will be Transformers: The Score by Steve Jablonsky.

After dinner today I'll post some pics of the turkey and show y'all how it turned out (and maybe even some of it frying :-)