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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-13-2019, 08:49 AM   #1
drallan81
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Morning all,

I know this isn't exactly a BBQ question, but I figured it's close enough for this time of year.

We are doing Thanksgiving at my in-laws again this year. The past few years I have smoke roasted (cooked hot 325) 1-2 spatchcocked birds and my father-in-law frys a pair. We have a lot of ppl, like 50-60.

My birds always come out great, but I've never really been impressed with my FILs fryers. I was thinking about suggesting a few changes for him, but was looking for some feedback.

Typically his birds are over crispy and even burned a little on the bottom. I think this is because he uses the small 30qt pot that came with the burner kit. While it does fit the turkey, there really isn't that much oil and often the bird ends up resting on one of the sides. This year I was thinking of getting him a larger 50-60 qt pot. My thoughts are that the larger volume of oil will more evenly distribute the heat. I was also looking for a way to keep it off the bottom of the pot better. Usually we just use whatever rack came with the kit, but it only keeps it off by like 2 inches.

My questions are.
1) Is my assumption that more oil / bigger pot = better heat distribution and overall product?

2) How can we keep the turkey off the bottom better? Should I use the steamer basked instead of the rack? Both? I'm just looking to get more distance between the bottom of the pot and the turkey.

What do you all do?

Thanks,
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:35 AM   #2
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Is it too late in the game for you to smoke 1 or 2 birds but instead of frying turkeys, fry cornish hens? You won't need to buy a new fryer, but can add some variety to the meal.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:45 AM   #3
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I've fried a lot of birds in my time. I suppose a bigger pot would help with heat distribution. How big are the birds? Frying birds need to be smaller, like 12 lbs, maybe 13. I've never spatchcocked birds to fry, though.

I've just always used the giant treble hook to rig and set on the bottom. I've never worried about keeping off the bottom. But I don't like the idea of the basket. Seems like that would take a lot of real estate in the pot. I used Alton Brown's gantry crane idea for my first few birds. I suppose you could make that work to suspend off the bottom, but would be a giant PITA.

I'm guessing the birds are too big, and he's cooking too long? Maybe it'd be worth brining them. It's tough to brine a 12 or 13 lb bird, but it does help.

As for whether it's a good idea to tell your FIL how to do things, I'll leave that up to you.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:36 PM   #4
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How long is he frying them? I fry mine at 4 min per pound, but I have known some people who fry theirs up to 6.5 min per pound. Also, how hot are y'all frying them? I've never had any trouble with frying turkeys and them being near the bottom of the pot.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:57 PM   #5
drallan81
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Thanks for the responses. We don't spatchcock the fryer, just the ones I do on the drum or pig roaster. Typically the birds we fry are bigger than they should be (20lb range). I've tried explaining that bigger isn't always better, but it is what it is. Oil temp is hard, I think part of the problem is that because the birds are so big they take up a lot of room with less oil than a smaller bird would. That is part of the reason I'm hoping a bigger pot would work better as it will allow for more oil. And yes, they are overcooked, he is one of those deathly afraid of salmonella so he cooks any poultry to death.

Another question for you guys. We usually try to fry around 350f. Do you heat the oil a little hotter before putting in the turkey to account for the temp drop when you add it? I think that has been another problem we run into. He gets the oil to 350, then drops in the bird, of course temp drops, so he cranks up the heat to bring temp back up. I think that ends up burning the bottom.

Its always fun navigating the another man's house another man's cooking, but doing cringeworthy things without offending. The worst part is you get a lot of the "Wow this turkey is great!", "another good job this year" at meal time. Because you can't be a guest at someone's Thanksgiving and complain about the food. One reason I never take positive feedback from family to heart (other than my wife). Everyone tells Aunt Sally she makes the best potato salad then complains about it later.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:37 PM   #6
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My turkey fryer has an insert that looks like a big pasta cooker - holes all through it, and the pot has a ring on the bottom that the insert sets on. The bird sits in the insert and never makes contact with the pan bottom.

No burned bird - just lift the insert out with the bird and let it drain a minute or two over the pot. I make sure I turn off the fire before I pull the bird. Hot oil fires are like napalm.....bad news.

The turkey hooks scare me - I have visions of the bird slipping off of the hook and splashing full force into the hot oil.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:00 PM   #7
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If you're stuck with the bigger birds I would try the bigger pot combined with a lower temp maybe 315 - 325. Then if they aren't browning try cranking the heat way up when the internal temp of the bird is about 150.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:22 PM   #8
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I used to cook at 350, got it up to 375 first, to account for the initial drop from the cold bird. 3 minutes a lb,, plus an extra 5, up to 14lbs. 10 extra on any larger than that...
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:49 PM   #9
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I am impressed.You CERTAINLY have a bigger pair than I do.I have no FIL.He passed before I married his daughter.I do have a (step)daughter but thankfully,no longer a SIL.I admire your relationship with your FIL.IF I had one(SIL) and he had the BALLZ to come in with advice on my cooking/frying/etc.in MY HOUSE.,,,,,,,,,LAWDAMERCEY! Get a rope!
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post
I've fried a lot of birds in my time. I suppose a bigger pot would help with heat distribution. How big are the birds? Frying birds need to be smaller, like 12 lbs, maybe 13. I've never spatchcocked birds to fry, though.

I've just always used the giant treble hook to rig and set on the bottom. I've never worried about keeping off the bottom. But I don't like the idea of the basket. Seems like that would take a lot of real estate in the pot. I used Alton Brown's gantry crane idea for my first few birds. I suppose you could make that work to suspend off the bottom, but would be a giant PITA.

I'm guessing the birds are too big, and he's cooking too long? Maybe it'd be worth brining them. It's tough to brine a 12 or 13 lb bird, but it does help.

As for whether it's a good idea to tell your FIL how to do things, I'll leave that up to you.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:13 AM   #11
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His problem is the 20 lb bird. No way to cook it through without burning the outside. Lower temps won't really help, as you need the higher temps or it'll get greasy (greasier).

Maybe he needs a second turkey fryer and cook 2 12-pounders. USDA says you only need to take it to 165°F to kill everything. I typically shoot for 155° or 160°, knowing it'll coast higher. And I probe it all over, looking for the worst spot. Usually deep in the breast.

I don't like the "minutes/pound" rules, unless you're estimating. You gotta go by temperature on birds.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:22 PM   #12
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To qualify my last post, my fryer birds are in the 15 pound range.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:10 PM   #13
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I have done 20+ just like this and never had a bad bird.

14-17lbs, Oil at 375 prior to bird going in maintaining at 350 after that, 3.5 min per pound, Sometimes it can cook quicker so I check often as the time nears. use a 60qt pot, I use the "stand" that came with the pot, I dunk the bird about three times when I first put it in, I found that it seals up the skin better. Sit back and pour a glass. Funny thing is I don't like turkey.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:11 AM   #14
Happy Hapgood
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I too have fried maybe over 100 birds then went to the Char-Broir Oil less Turkey Fryer.


1st truss the bird:





Next Inject the bird:





Then dust the bird:





Then into the fridge for the next morning.


Turn bird legs down over the sink to drain any juice from the cavity. Re dust the bird.



Now your ready to dip the bird. I too always used a stand with a hook that kept the bird off the bottom and had a good handle to remove it.





About the oil, Only peanut oil will do for a proper Cajun Fried Turkey. It's High $$ per gallon but the taste is the best. 350*F at 3.5 minutes per pound. IF you keep oil temp constant this will yield a good bird. Oil will cool some when you Slowly lower the bird in.


I was cooking 6 turkeys on Thanksgiving and 7 or 8 on Christmas morning as gifts for Friends and Family. The cost got to be too high for the oil etc.



Around 2014 I went to the Char-Broil Oil Less Turkey Fryer. I would put this up against any fried I've done or tasted over the years.









Just my .02 and tell FIL most of all to be safe.
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