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Deep-Fried turkey.. brine or not?

We're considering deep-frying a turkey this Thanksgiving. I always brine a bird headed for the oven, but was wondering if the additional moisture in the bird, if brined, would be a disaster in a deep fryer. Any experience or suggestions on this?

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  1. I would not brine the turkey. When it hits the grease it will overflow (explode) and burn you. We always use a fresh turkey that has never been frozen to help avoid this as well. The frozen ones are generally injected up to a 10% solution of brine or water. You can order fresh ones and do a nice rub on the outside. You don't have to worry about it not being moist on the inside when you fry. This will be the best turkey you have cooked. If you want more info on the rub let me know!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Judy Loves Entertaining

      YES!! I would love some more rub recipes, I seem to collect them since they're such an easy way to really flavor meat immediately. We always order fresh turkeys, so I'm covered there. Thanks, Judy! Also, any advice on what size bird fries up the best? We're thinking a 14 pounder?

    2. I once deep fried in a pan (per the instructions in the recipe) chunks of chicken breast that had already been cooked in a stew...It splattered something FIERCE and I have never repeated that. Anyhow, I thought deep frying a turkey was supposed to help keep the moisture in?

      1 Reply
      1. re: willownt

        I heard the same thing about sealing in the moisture when deep-frying, so I was tending toward not brining but wanted the voice of Chow experts. Good thing you weren't hurt with the chicken!

      2. Don't brine, too much liquid. My husband has been making them for years. He doesn'tput a rub on, he injects it with a mixture of half water, and half red wine vinegar, cajun spices, onion powder and garlic powder. Put in blender and puree it. Then inject in the bird in several places all over the bird. Do it a day before and put it a large plastic garbage bag in the fridge, just keeps it clean. Take out to bring to room temperature, make sure it's dry and then fry 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes,,,15 pound turkey equals 45 minutes plus 5 minutes, total of 50 minutes. It's great but you need to make more than one turkey, they go fast. He's done 15 in one day.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paprkutr

          Hello paprkutr,
          That sounds really good. I would like the recipe for your injcetion solution if you don't mind.

        2. Do not brine - but I would recommend if you can get a fresh kosher turkey -through the koshering process it is soaked in salt water and then drained and dried - so you do get a salt brine - other than that it is a great way to make a turkey - definitely do not go larger than 14 lbs - for the injection marinade you can also use your favorite salad dressing -

          1. Even Alton Brown, the King of Brine, did not brine his turkey on his fried turkey episode. I suspect that the post from Judy below is the reason. It will make a much more dangerous splatter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RGC1982

              Alton's the man, but actually I think he brines his deep fried turkeys. So I gotta go with him (http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...).

              Also, regarding cooking time...I use a dual-probe meat thermometer (not very expensive) and I stick one in each breast after the turkey is in there and the boiling has settled down. Usually the very top of the bird sticks out of the oil, and the probes are long, so the cords of the probes are never immersed. This works great...all I have to worry about is keeping the temp at 350, and I never have to worry about 3min/lb or 4min/lb or anything like that. Perfect turkey every time!

            2. We deep fry every year and always brine. We did a taste test 2 years ago, did one not brined, and other brined, and the brined was way better. Usually experiment with different brines for each turkey too - (gotta mane more than one!)
              The key is to dry throughly, then no extra exploding oil ;)

              3 Replies
              1. re: cyber49

                I've brined, dried, and fried several times. One tip: if your brine is salty, be careful if you inject a prepared product in addition to brining. Make your own and leave out the salt and water, or at least a portion.

                I have a dilemma, though. I'm brining right now, and planned to fry, but we ended up with a 19.5 lb bird (fresh and uncured). I can see that it will actually fit in the fryer, but I'm a little worried about frying a bird this big. Any advice? I can always just roast it in the oven. I don't have an adequate smoker.

                1. re: rudeboy

                  I would be leery of putting that big a bird into the turkey fryer unless you have an exceptionally large fryer. Look in your instruction manual and see what they suggest. Our fryer will not accommodate anything over 14 lb.

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    I no longer deep fry a whole turkey because the carcass is to big, and takes up all the room in the fryer. I fry a couple of breasts, a few thighs, and a few drumsticks. So, if I were you, I'd cut it up and then fry it.

                2. Brine it, fry it, eat it. Like a couple of others have recommended, I'd leave out the injectable marinade. Just be sure you add the herbs to the brining liquid, and you'll have a great bird.

                  1. Please be careful when deep frying anything! I made some fried shrimp the other day. Preheating about a quarter inch canola oil in a deep pan at about halfway around the dial on the stovetop, actually a little less than that. it started coming to heat and I was about to drop the shrimp. The oil started popping and bubbling, and a little actually popped out of the pan! Scared the hell outta me! I immediately took the pan off the burner but slowly so as not to spill any oil. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my mom was deep frying something in a pan and it actually started a fire in the burner, we had to get the fire extinguisher and everything.

                    But anyway I had to let it cool down a bit and put it back on the burner and put the shrimp in one by one to avoid making the oil gods angry again! The last thing you want is an oil fire, and have a fire extinguisher ready, and maybe some people to be around if anything goes awry!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: food_eater79

                      Brining, marinating, or none of the above. Regardless of what your frying, you have to make sure that there is NO Dripping water, and NO ICE or frozen content in what you are frying. Any amount of "loose" moisture, and especially ICE, will create a an oil crisis of its very own!! WE are brining our turkey as usual, in a very simple recipe of Alton's - and boy oh boy is it good, moist, and tender!!! Just make sure its skin is COMPLETELY dry before enetering the pot! -I say, fry away. But make sure its dry, before you fry!-