Friday, November 25, 2011

Deep-Fried Turkey with Creole Rub & Giblet Gravy

I should preface this post by saying I don't really like turkey much, so feel free to take anything on have to say on the matter with a huge grain of salt. But that being said, this was hands down the best turkey I've ever had. The skin was crispy and the inside was moist and juicy. And as you'll see in the video below, the frying was way cool. I actually ate a few slices outright (instead of breaking them into tiny pieces and camouflaging them in my stuffing and under my mashed potatoes).

 lowering the turkey into the hot oil
(I just love that sizzling sound, it's so satisfying.)

taking the turkey out of the fryer
(I was a little worried there for a minute that Chuck was
about to dump hot oil all over his feet, but he didn't.)


1 (12 lb.) turkey, giblets removed
approx. 2 gallons* oil (I used corn oil)

6 quarts hot water
3/4 pound kosher salt
1 pound dark brown sugar
5 pounds ice (or 10 cups cold water)

Creole Rub (Yield 1/2 cup):
25 bay leaves, crushed
3 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons Creole seasoning

*To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the pot or fryer; add water just until it barely covers the top of the turkey and is at least 4 to 5 inches below the top of the pot. This is the amount of oil you need for frying the turkey.

1.      Brine the turkey: Place the hot water, kosher salt and brown sugar into a 5-gallon upright drink cooler and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Add the ice or water and stir until the mixture is cool. Gently lower the turkey into the container. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure that it is fully immersed in the brine. Cover and set in a cool dry place for 8 to 16 hours.
2.      Make the rub: In a small bowl, mix together the bay leaves, thyme, oregano, pepper, garlic powder and Creole seasoning.
3.      Fry the turkey: Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry (be thorough, water and oil don’t mix). Rub the turkey all over with the rub (inside and out). Allow to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour before frying.
4.      Fill the fryer with oil. Bring the temperature to 350º F. (if using a traditional turkey fryer, check out Alton Brown's suggestions about starting at 250º F.) Slowly lower the turkey into the oil.
5.      After 40 minutes, check the temperature of the turkey using a probe thermometer. Once the breast reaches 160º F., carefully lift from the oil (hold it over the oil to allow the excess to drip off). Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to carving. The bird will reach an internal temperature of 170º F. due to carry over cooking.

Brine and other turkey frying instructions adapted from: Alton Brown and
Dry rub from: by HEBEGEBE  

brining the turkey

I decided to use one of those really gigantic brining bags.
Unfortunately it had a hole, and all the brine went everywhere
and there was a lot of cursing, followed by a lot of cleaning
and more brine making. So I switched to a 2-gallon ziploc bag
(two of them actually...I wasn't taking any chances).
I could just barely jam the turkey in there, but it did fit.
I'm getting pissed off all over again just thinking about it.
turkey dried
rubbing the turkey

You'll notice my bay leaves aren't crushed all that finely.
My spice grinder died mid-grind, so I switched to the old
mortar and pestle, but that was as fine as I could get it.
Right about now I was feeling like this turkey was cursed.
rubbed turkey
our indoor turkey fryer

It says in the instructions not to use it outside, but I figure
they write that just so some dumb ass doesn't use it in the rain.
lowering the turkey into the fryer
turkey sizzling away

Peanut oil is highly recommended, but since my daughter
is allergic, I went with corn. I would have preferred
refined coconut or safflower maybe, but I didn't think ahead
and couldn't find such a large quantity last minute.
fried turkey (and no one got burned)...phew, no curse after all.
carving the turkey

I know the skin looks like leather, but it was crispy and so flavorful.
This video shows how moist and juicy the turkey breast was. 


turkey giblets (removed from inside turkey)
4 cups chicken stock or turkey stock
4 large sprigs fresh thyme (or other fresh herb)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1.      Bring the giblets, herbs and stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Can be made 2 days ahead and kept covered in refrigerator.
2.      In medium saucepan over moderately low heat, melt butter, then whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the giblet stock, then raise heat to moderately high and boil, uncovered, until thickened, about 8 minutes.
3.      Season with salt and pepper to taste.

straining the giblets

When you're frying a turkey, you obviously don't have any
pan drippings for gravy, so using the giblets is a nice
way to get that essence de turkey.

making the roux
stock added and thickening


Judie Cleland said...

Susan, this looks so good. I love the crispy skin, too. I will try the rum if I ever have to cook a turkey!
The cranberry sauce (below) was delicious. I am already thinking about a turkey sandwich with sauce.

Susan said...

We're on our way to the store right now to get some really nice bread for our sandwiches. I'm so glad you liked the cranberry sauce!

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