Project Fried Turkey

 Project Fried Turkey

 MotoIQ Staff Report


Well, the holiday season is upon us and we decided we were going to cook something MotoIQ style, which means it has to be technical and dangerous. What better thing to cook than a fried turkey?  Frying a turkey gets the job done in only 45 minutes and leaves you with a succulent and tasty bird with very little hassle and an easy clean up.

Frying a turkey has many technical advantages over roasting in an oven. The first major advantage is that it is fast. It only takes about 3.5 minutes per pound which means our 13 lb turkey was fully cooked in less than 45 minutes. With frying, the meat does not get dry and it has a wonderful crispy skin.

The bad thing is if done wrong you can get third degree burns or worse.  Worse means you can get severely burned and burn down the house in the process. If things really go wrong, you can add a huge propane explosion to the mix as well. We like danger and excitement, so watch how we do things the MotoIQ way.


Project Fried Turkey 
The first thing you need is a portable industrial frying rig. I think we got ours from Target/Harbor Freight or something like that. Yeah I know someone will probably bitch that this is a knock off, but since I am not an expert at portable industrial fryers, I don't know what this could be a knock off of. I have never seen something like this sold in stores. I take that back, I have seen something like this in Chinese restaurants to heat up woks for stir frying, so maybe this is a CDM product. When you open the box you get a burner assembly (propane tank not included), a big ass stainless steel pot, turkey hanger with grab-hook, and a thermometer. The pot is tall and the burner base is narrow, so you have something that can tip over real easy. Not too good for safety.


Project Fried Turkey
Of course gallons of really hot oil, fire and propane on a rickety, probable knock off of a big ass fryer is sorta a recipe for something bad, so we broke out our big fire extinguisher that we use in the pits for fueling stops. Keep this close enough to be handy, but far enough so it won't get engulfed in flaming boiling oil if something happens! It would suck to add an exploding fire extinguisher to the possible conflagration or to fry your feet wading through burning and boiling oil to try to get the fire extinguisher. Remember that water from the garden hose will only spread the flames in an oil fire, so make sure you use an ABC rated extinguisher. Halon is probably the best, it won't contaminate the food so you could probably wash the turkey off, and plop it on the serving platter after you put out the fire.


Project Fried Turkey 
The type of oil is really important. You gotta get the oil really hot for long periods of time so the oil has to have a high flash point lest it light off in the middle of cooking, not good. Because of this, you should only use canola or peanut oil. The drawback to peanut oil is you can't find it in mass quantities very easily and people are allergic to it. Since we needed three gallons of oil, we used canola because we could get it in bulk at the local grocery store. The oil alone cost $45 bucks, so make the most of it. Invite your buddies over and cook all their turkeys!

SAFETY TIP:  Where most people end up immolating themselves is when they don't calculate exactly how much oil the turkey will displace when it goes in the pot. They fill the pot with oil, heat it up, then dump the turkey in.  The turkey causes the oil to overflow and BOOM! To prevent this from happening to you, fill the pot with water.  Put your bird in the pot with the plastic wrapper from the store still on. Adjust the water level to fully cover the bird. Take the bird out and note the water level in the pot. This is your safe oil level.


 Project Fried Turkey
Seasoning is important, so we made a rub out of some crap we found in the pantry. Steak BBQ rub, fresh ground cracked pepper and some poultry seasoning. Some guys put her in with nothing, some people do all sorts of elaborate seasoning.  We think any sort of savory type seasoning is good.


Project Fried Turkey 
Stuff you need for frying safely. Industrial CDM fry rig, cherry picker, 10 lb fire extinguisher. You have to pick your location very carefully. You need to do this on a large, non-flammable surface. Imagine 3 gallons of flaming oil if you screw up, so you don't want to do this on a wood deck, for instance. You also have to consider that flames may shoot 10 feet in the air or more so don't do this in your patio, in your house, garage or near any low trees. If she blows you got to put her out fast before the propane tank cooks off. If that happens kiss your ass and a good part of the neighborhood goodbye, so make sure your insurance is all up to date. Seriously, a lot of people have been screwed up doing this, but if you respect the process, it's really no problem. Sort of like firearms or bomb disposal. Follow procedures carefully and everyone goes home.


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Thursday, November 24, 2011 11:33 PM
hmmmmmm orange juice
will have to try that as a brine one day!!

the other year we Saw a william sonoma Stainless Turkey holder thingey with a Cup to hold liquid inside the Turkey while it bakes..
so i made one with a Bigger cup to hold wine and stuffing.. and it seems to help extend(cushion) the baking time without drying out the bird as well.. it also crisped the skin all the way around as the bird is suspended at a slight angle in the oven..

happy gobble gobble day everyone!!
Thursday, November 24, 2011 11:40 PM
a standard cooking thermometer instead of a Fluke 88 with a K-type thermocouple?? I do not see the automotive connection..

Kidding of course, thanks for the tips! If I ever amass the courage to test my cooking skills with anything other than food wrapped in plastic with microwave directions I will definitely remember this article
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Friday, November 25, 2011 2:15 AM
So when are we going to put KW Coilovers and Whiteline swaybars on the turkey?
Friday, November 25, 2011 4:07 AM
Did you WPC treat the stuffing for easier digestion?
Friday, November 25, 2011 5:53 AM
At first I thought the cryo- and WPC treatment was a joke. Then I had a disturbing feeling that it actually wasn't...
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, November 25, 2011 6:04 AM
We also use the fluke thermal imager to determine doneness.
Friday, November 25, 2011 6:07 AM
What's your emissivity correction for canola oil, and how much does the rendered turkey fat affect that?
Friday, November 25, 2011 7:35 AM
hahahahah doneness. Is that proper engineering term for cooking?? nice article Mike, love it!
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Friday, November 25, 2011 8:06 AM
That picture of you and Christa with the race gear got me laughing but the picture of Martin on the Cherry Picker was SO freaking hilarious! :)

Now in the future you could decrease the COF by applying the rub and then pre-coating it with a thin layer of oil. It might decrease the friction at the boundary layer when turkey meets the boiling oil :)
Friday, November 25, 2011 11:42 AM
Having fried a couple turkey's myself I would like to add a safty tip. I usually set the oil level 1/2 to 1 inch LOWER than where the level of the water ended up while measuring for oil level,depending on bird size. Once heated up the oil expand, probably varying amounts depending on the type of oil. Once frying a large bird that was close to the capacity for my set up (19lbs) I almost had an overflow even though I had carefully measured the oil level before. BTW I'm using the cherry picker next time AWSOME!
brian g
brian glink
Friday, November 25, 2011 4:22 PM
I'm surprised you were able to lift that big bird with the Harbor Freight cherry picker. I have to rebuild mine about every third use.
Friday, November 25, 2011 5:49 PM
So a guy jumps out of an airplane. After free falling for 30 seconds he pulls his ripcord....
nothing happens, he pulls his emergency chute... again nothing happens.
As he prepares to meet his maker he sees a smoking mass headed UP! It's a man a man on fire.
As they pass the skydiver asks "do you know anything about parachutes?" "No" comes the reply "do you know anything about turkey deep fryers?"
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, November 25, 2011 7:48 PM
Its not me, its Martin in the race suit.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, November 25, 2011 8:42 PM
Go to You Tube and check out turkey explosion videos and you will know that we are not shitting you one bit about how dangerous this can be. The fires and explosions are amazing. Martin might find his Sparco suit is not enough to protect him!
Saturday, November 26, 2011 5:42 AM
Wow! American Thanksgiving is obviously much more exciting than our Canadian version. Or maybe it's just the creative write-up! Happy Thanksgiving.
Saturday, November 26, 2011 9:04 PM
Holy crap cow. http://youtu.be/hQYTMFCLy5E

You guys arent joking. Ill stick to the oven method. The taste isnt worth the risk.
Martin Gonzales
Martin Gonzaleslink
Sunday, November 27, 2011 7:26 AM
If you tasted our turkeys, you would not be saying that.

This is man shit!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, November 27, 2011 6:18 PM
Cooking a Turkey is easy but not safe. If you have poor common sense, lack situational awareness and are uncoordinated, you should really do something else but if you can do it, you won't taste a better turkey ever!

Like I said, look at all the turkey explosion videos on the net. Having gallons of boiling oil in a tippy container with a high CG with a big open flame is not conducive to safety. When the turkey goes in, it makes a flammable cloud of oil mist.

Be safe!
Monday, November 28, 2011 12:38 PM
This. Looks. Delicious.
Pete S.
Pete S.link
Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:30 AM
i suddenly feel both proud and ashamed for all the successfully deep fried turkeys i have cooked and/or helped cook while at the required level of inebriation for sustaining any lengthy period of time with my family... i do believe i am now thankful to not be a turkey frying blooper on youtube haha
Thursday, November 22, 2012 9:26 AM
I agree with pete....

I used to deep fry turkeys on the 2nd floor balcony of an apartment I lived in, pretty drunk and never had any issues, just always made sure the bird was frozen. Although now that I think about it, it seems like it probably was pretty dangerous. I used to have neighbors knocking on my door wondering why there was a huge flame on my balcony and then after explaining what I was doing they very often asked for a sample lol.

Here is an awesome tip, if you are frying one bird, fry two. Use the first one to cut up for sandwiches and what not after because the 2nd bird fried in the deliciously seasoned oil will taste at least twice as good as the first
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, November 22, 2012 9:44 AM
Many of the you tube videos that have exploding turkeys involve frozen ones.
Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:52 AM
Cool write up! Next time you may want to try rice bran oil, it has a high smoke point so it would splatter less and reduce the change of a wild flare up. It tastes similar to peanut oil without the allergy worries too.
Thursday, November 22, 2012 2:30 PM
One tip that I didn't see or may have missed is to turn off the flame once the oil is up to temperature and the turkey goes in. Then re-ignite the burner. Even with the correct oil level, there's sometimes some splatter that can ignite.

Last time I did this, several of the birds were too dry, cooking times aren't perfectly linear for size. I vowed not to do it again until I got a thermocouple that could withstand immersion in the boiling oil.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, November 22, 2012 3:44 PM
That's a real good idea!
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Friday, November 23, 2012 5:09 AM
I know this is a bit less inherently awesome, not involving gallons of hot oil, but doing turkey on the grill is also really tasty.
Friday, November 30, 2012 3:19 PM
in the future, i suggest wrapping the hose from the burner to the propane tank in aluminum foil, a nice safety precaution for hot oil splatter...
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 5:43 PM
Inserting control rods is super easy, though... lol
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, November 28, 2013 8:17 AM
Ah, the 3rd annual showing of the Deep Fried Turkey! Just saw a recipe for deep fried Cajun Turkey yesterday but I say go against the grain/recommend and stuff the turkey to the brim with bacon prior to dropping it into the oil, so as to permeate it with the extra moisture/flavor.

On this Thansgiving I give Thanks to the guys(&gals) at Motoiq for satisfying my hunger for The automotive truth!!
Nick B
Nick Blink
Thursday, November 28, 2013 8:48 AM
@Der Bruce - Stuffing the bird full of bacon prior to frying is a great idea!!!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, November 28, 2013 9:59 AM
This year we are injecting the turkey with a mix of butter and beer to see what happens.
Thursday, November 28, 2013 11:32 AM
This article never gets old. I'm glad it got bumped to the front page again this year.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, November 28, 2013 11:45 AM
I think we did this 3 years ago and Christa looks so small!
Thursday, November 28, 2013 7:13 PM
Damn I want to do this. I was planing to get an industrial burner for making beer real soon, should have got it early and done the turkey. I have done them brined and BBQ'd and this year we are doing a dry rub.

I dig the racing suit year after year.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, November 28, 2013 11:40 PM
Beer injection worked really well. The injection mixture was 2 sticks butter, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons powdered onion, 2 tablespoons powdered garlic, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, most of a beer (I drank some of it). Inject a couple of days before cooking. At the same time rub the outside of the turkey with 1/3 cup sea salt, 2 tablespoons black pepper and some of the garlic and onion powder. Let it all sit for a couple of days. Turkey was super juicy and melt in your mouth. If you don't like the beer taste use 1/4 can of beer and 1/2 cup of white wine. The alcohol help emulsify the butter in the injection mixture.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Thursday, November 27, 2014 4:41 AM
I may have to do this next year. I think all the fireproof stuff I acquired for home foundry experiments should be sufficient, and I've been meaning to do a closed loop propane control system for the smoker anyway... dropping a thermocouple in the oil to keep it the proper temperature seems like it takes one worry out of things.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, November 27, 2014 11:06 AM
We are thinking of trying to do a mythbusters and attempt to blow a turkey up next year.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, November 27, 2014 11:08 AM
I inject the turkey with a beer mix the night before, see a few posts up. It is so awesome. It also works good for roasting.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Thursday, November 27, 2014 4:20 PM
That also sounds delicious.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, November 27, 2014 4:59 PM
Just had the Traeger version, SO good! We're going to try a variation on the suggested beer injection next year :-)
Thursday, November 26, 2015 4:34 AM
Oh no! Isn't this the year you're going to try to blow up the turkey!
Thursday, December 03, 2015 10:29 PM
Nomex gloves, check. 10 lb extinguisher, check. Isotropically polished stainless steel hanger, check. Goggles for Martin, uh, forgot those.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Thursday, November 24, 2016 10:49 PM
Hey, where is the video on that blown up turkey!?
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