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Fry your turkey this Christmas... seriously

A​ southern twist to the traditional turkey dinner

2y ago

It’s our tradition to have Christmas dinner with family. We even call this the best meal of the year. Everyone has an assigned dish to compliment the perfect fried turkey.

We are blessed to have a table full of great food that we will share. Stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce (whole berries), vegetables such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips and some of the best mac and cheese you have ever had.

Let’s not forget the decadent desserts: pumpkin pie, dirt cake and the traditional Christmas cake served with Wensleydale cheese.

Most of what we have for Christmas would be considered traditional. However lots of people will say the best way to cook a turkey is to roast it, as it’s the traditional way.

I’m going to let you in on a little southern secret. Fry your turkey. It will change your life. First select your Christmas bird. Go big so you will have some leftovers. You will need them over the next few days. The first step is to give it a good brine. Let your bird soak for about 10 to 12 hours. After your turkey has relaxed in the bath, take it out and pat dry. We all know a good turkey needs its rest. Now this is where we get creative.

Some people like to inject butter and other flavoring under the skin. I like to keep it simple. No injection for me just a simple spice rub making sure to cover it well including the inside cavity. Let it rest for about 30 minutes. Now after checking the temperature of your peanut oil (350f or 175c for those in the UK), I know you could use less expensive soybean oil, but don’t cut corners now. The peanut oil adds a layer of flavor and holds up well when you’re cooking multiple turkeys. This is important because once you perfect your turkey frying skills, all your friends will be asking you to cook theirs.

Just think of all the time you will save cooking your turkey this year. Roasted turkey takes almost 2 hours, fried turkey 30 to 40 minutes. Now I hope you give this a try and start a new tradition this year. Fry your turkey. This could be the best Christmas bird you have ever had.

F​ried Turkey

S​outhern Fried Turkey

MealChristmas dinner


  • 1​ large turkey
  • 6 quarts hot water
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar
  • 5 pounds ice
  • 4oz Poultry Seasoning


  1. Place the hot water, kosher salt and brown sugar into a 5-gallon container and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Add the ice and stir until the mixture is cool. Add the turkey to the container. It may be necessary to weigh down the bird to ensure that it is fully immersed in the brine. Cover and let sit for 8 to 16 hours.
  2. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. Add spice rub, 1/3 kosher salt, 1/3 cracked black paper, 1/3 granulated garlic.
  3. Place the oil into a 30-quart pot and set over high heat on an outside propane burner. Bring the temperature of the oil to 350 degrees F. Slowly lower the bird into the oil and bring the temperature back up to 350 degrees F. Once it has reached 350 degrees F, lower the heat in order to maintain 350 degrees F. After 35 minutes, check the temperature of the turkey using a probe thermometer. Once the breast reaches 150 degrees F, gently remove from the oil and allow to rest for about 30 minutes. Check internal temperature before carving 160f
  4. Carving the bird as desired and display on a serving tray

Recipe Notes

In order to determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey into the pot that you will be frying it in, 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 will be the amount of oil you use for frying the turkey.

Recipe by

D​oug Smith

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Comments (5)

  • Frying improves everything. Deep frying, well - that's another thing entirely.

    And to be honest, we're clearly doing turkey wrong. No other meat requires sauce like turkey does with cranberry.

      2 years ago
  • And for those who can't find kosher salt, you can use non iodised salts such as sea salt/cheese salt/Himalayan salt, just not table salt. It would be too salty.

      1 year ago
  • Hot take: turkey is meh. Even if it is deep-fried. Now, deep fry a whole chicken, and stand the hell back!

      2 years ago
  • I'm almost tempted to try it

      1 year ago
  • I'm doing leg of lamb on the bbq ;)

      1 year ago