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Consider a Twist on the Turkey Tradition

 

There are a myriad of ways to cook the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. Some of our favorites include frying, either in oil or in an infrared fryer, or smoking. Each has its advantages and unique flavor.

 

Turkey Frying

 

Cost:  Fryers are in the $80 range, with oil for one bird costing around $40.

 

Benefits:  Frying produces one of the most deliciously tender and juicy turkeys you've ever tasted. Deep-fried turkey is one of the South's best-kept culinary secrets. Most turkeys can be cooked in under an hour so it's by far the fastest method. Fried turkey is also surprisingly healthy. The oil seals the skin very quickly, which allows juices to stay inside rather than cook off. If done properly, the bird will only absorb a few tablespoons.

 

Negative:  Frying can be dangerous. You need to closely monitor the bird at all times, never fry in or even near the house and pay close attention to oil levels and temperature.

 

Most Important Facts:

 

  • Pay close attention to keep the temperature at 350 degrees while cooking. Cooking below the ideal temperature can lead to oil penetrating the skin which effects flavor. Oil above 400 degrees will burn the bird and above 450 degrees may combust.
  • Don't use to much oil. Follow directions for proper measurements and remember the turkey will displace oil and could catch fire if it bubbles over.
  • Oil and water don't mix. Don't ever fry a wet or frozen bird.

How To Video on YouTube

 

 

 

Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer

 

Cost:  In the $140.00 range.

 

Benefits:  Safer than using an oil fryer, requires less attention to detail. Similar results to the turkey fryer. Instead of oil, the infrared heat penetrates the meat evenly and seals the juices inside. Probably not as crispy or as juicy as an oil fried bird but very close and many consumers rave about this option.

 

Negative:  A little more expensive on the front end, but you don't have oil costs. Takes a little longer to cook than an oil fryer, but still significantly less time than oven cooking.

 

Most Important Facts:

 

  • Some consumers suggest rubbing the exterior of the turkey with peanut oil ahead of time to increase "crisp"
  • Unlike a traditional oil fryer, the infrared unit allows consumers to catch drippings so you can make gravy.
  • Infrared frying also allows for stuffing ahead of time, unlike the oil fryer.

 

 

Smoking

 

Cost:  $80-$1000+

 

Benefits:  A slowly smoked bird, if cooked correctly, develops complex flavors and a mellow texture that is impossible to replicate in any other fashion. Many are big fans of the unique flavor infused by the smoke. In addition smoked turkey is more flavorful and tender than one roasted in the oven.

 

Negative:  Longer cooking times. It's a half day undertaking. At 30-40 minutes per pound you'll need roughly 8 hours for a 12 pound bird. While not as volatile as a fryer, you are dealing with fire so you need to keep an eye on it and give attention to where you're setting it up.

 

Most Important Facts:

 

  • Run the smoker at a temperature range of 235 to 250 degrees F.
  • Smoke to an internal temperature of 165 degrees & test at least two places. The bones heat faster so keep the thermometer away from bone.
  • A good smoked turkey starts with a good turkey. Look for a fresh turkey without injections and solutions and don't go to big. Keep in mind a 20 pound turkey will take 10-14 hours and larger turkeys greatly increase food contamination risks. A 12-16 pound turkey will be good and if you need more, try smoking two turkeys.

 

At Ace, we have all your Thanksgiving frying and smoking supplies.