Deep fried turkey has been a much loved favorite in the Southern United States for decades, however it has recently been gaining popularity in many other parts of the nation. Its rising popularity is primarily because it takes less time to cook a turkey, when compared to other methods such as an oven or a rotisserie grill.
Complete kits have it all and contain a burner, a large stock pot (with a lid), a thermometer, a lifter, and a basket and/or poultry holder. The burner uses a standard propane tank that can be found almost anywhere, but in most cases must be bought separately. Burner units purchased today are manufactured to be closer to the ground than those a few years ago; this helps to prevent accidental spills and tip-overs of the stock pot.
Typically an aluminum pot is used in the less expensive models, while the higher-end models consist of a stainless steel pot.
To aid in the cleaning process, some stock pots have a valve to drain the oil after it cools. The thermometer is used to keep an eye on the oil’s temperature so that it is hot enough to fully cook poultry, but cool enough to prevent injury. The poultry holder is typically a stainless steel or aluminum disk with an attached metal rod that is formed into a loop that keeps the poultry stable and easy to remove from the oil. The loop is placed into the top end of the turkey, while the lifter is used to insert and remove the turkey when needed.
A turkey deep fryer can also be used to cook seafood and other poultry. The stock pot’s lid is used to cover the pot only when preparing other foods by boiling water; it is not to be used while deep frying. To prevent injury and burns, heavy gloves are highly suggested in addition to an apron.
There are now some manufacturers that offer a temperature control valve as an added accessory. This part consists of a regulator that goes between the burner and the propane tank. The thermal sensor is placed into the oil and the regulator automatically adjusts the flame in order to achieve a constant temperature. This is particularly useful when deep frying outside on a breezy day.
Electric turkey deep fryers have introduced the art of frying to the indoors. Although the electric deep fryer does not heat up as quickly as propane, on the plus side it includes a thermostat with a timer in addition to a safety shut-off in case it gets too hot. The electric deep fryer can also be used to prepare other foods by frying or boiling.