Every Day's a Party
Published by HarperCollins
338 pages, 1999
Buy it online
Emeril's Fried Turkey
from Every Day's a Party
Makes about 20 servings (10 per turkey)
First of all, you must understand that we're frying the whole turkey here, not pieces. Don't attempt to do this in your kitchen. If you're going to take this on, you need one of those rigs that we use around here to cook everything from boiled seafood to gumbos and stews for a large crowd. The rig consists of a propane burner, a propane tank, and a heavy forty-to sixty-quart pot fitted with a metal basket.
The rig can be set up on a patio or in the backyard, and newspapers or thick cardboard should be spread around the burner to protect the area from grease splatters. Have on hand two large paper bags, and arm yourself with two long-handled barbecue forks (some cooks use metal coat hangers to fashion a gadget with which to lift the turkey out of the hot oil) and a broom handle; also I strongly suggest that you have barbecue mittens or large insulated pot holders. You should have a thermometer to measure the heat of the oil as well as a meat thermometer to test the turkey's doneness. You'll also need a thingamajig called a Cajun Injector, which is nothing more than a large syringe, to inject the turkey with the marinade (see the source guide).
Remember to keep the kids away from the hot oil!
Last year, for Good Morning America, I and one of the chef's from Emeril's, my good buddy Tom Wolfe, fried six turkeys at five a.m. We had a blast cooking and eating those wonderful birds.
There's some debate about what size turkeys should be used when frying them whole. I believe one weighing eight to ten pounds is easier to handle than a larger one, plus smaller ones take less time to cook.
It's best to inject the turkeys with the marinade, then season the outside. They can then be stored in large plastic bags and iced down in an ice chest for several hours or overnight.
FOR THE MARINADE
Make the marinade.
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process for about 5 minutes. Fill the syringe and inject each turkey in the breast and thigh area, as well as the back, wings, and legs. You will have to fill the syringe several times.
Next, combine all the seasoning ingredients and rub the mixture evenly all over each turkey. Place them in large plastic bags and secure before icing them down or refrigerating them for twenty-four hours.
To fry each turkey, fill the pot three quarters of the way full with the peanut oil and heat the oil to between 350 and 360 degrees F. Place one turkey in the basket insert and carefully and slowly lower it into the hot oil. Turn the turkey every 10 minutes, using long-handled forks. A whole turkey will take 3 to 5 minutes per pound to cook. It is done when the internal temperature reaches 170 to 180 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer.
Carefully lift the basket out of the hot oil. This can be done by inserting a broomstick through the handles and having two strong people lift the basket out of the pot. Using the long-handled forks, transfer the turkey to a large brown paper bag and let it stand for about 15 minutes before removing to carve.
Repeat the procedure for the second turkey.