Dumbledore's Holiday Turkey Diner

Dumbledore likes turkey for the holidays, especially thanksgiving and Christmas. Dumbledore's holiday turkey diner is a somewhat mixed approach. Perhaps the most traditional way to prepare a turkey is to roast one in the oven. Over the years, chefs from around the country have developed many other methods to prepare a turkey.

One common complaint from people who eat turkey is the dryness of the bird. Aside from the flavor, if the bird is not moist, the guests will not appreciate the effort involved in preparing the bird and the distaste will be apparent from the amount of left-over turkey in the roasting pan. This brings up the topic of what the best way to prepare a turkey are. The three most popular methods are as follows:

  • Roast the turkey
  • Smoke the turkey
  • deep fry the turkey

The most common method from above is to roast the turkey. Southerners have developed a method to deep fry a turkey that has really caught on. Fans of barbecue (smokey flavor) added the method to smoke the turkey.

The quickest method to prepare a turkey is to deep fry the turkey and the longest method is to smoke the turkey. Roasting the turkey seems to provide a medium length of time and is the most common method.

How you prepare your turkey is up to you but I will provide basic for my favorite method: deep frying.

Thaw the Turkey

Regardless of the method used to prepare the turkey, naturally thaw the turkey before preparation begins. The best way to thaw a turkey is to remove the bird from the freezer and move it to the refrigerator. The amount of time necessary for the turkey to thaw depends on the weight of the bird. Two to three days is the typical amount of time necessary to thaw a turkey in this manner.

If you forgot to thaw the turkey in a natural manner as related above, the turkey could be placed in warm water to speed up the thawing process. This process is not recommended, however, because of the threat of cross-contamination. If you must thaw the turkey using this method, be sure to keep everything clean.

Deep Fried Turkey

Deep Frying a turkey is probably the quickest method to prepare the fine bird.  The process naturally sears the skin of the turkey and locks the juices in.  The one drawback to deep frying a turkey is that this is probably the most dangerous of the three methods because of the open fire, high temperature, and grease.

To prepare to deep fry a turkey, the first necessary step is to procure a turkey frier.  There are plenty of them on the market and there are some ads here to help you decide on one if you choose to go that route.

The pan of the turkey frier needs some form of grease or oil to fry the bird.  There are basically three choices: lard, vegitable oil, or peanut oil.  Peanut oil is the most popular choice because peanut oil maintains a higher flash point than the other alternatives so peanut oil is also the safest alternative.

Lard offers the best flavor but is the most dangerous of the choices.  Lard has the lowest flashpoint of the three alternatives so may catch fire easily when exposed to an open fire.

Vegitable oil is the least expensive choice and the flashpoint is higher than lard but lower than peanut oil.  The flavor that the turkey will take on from vegitable oil is not as good as that derived from lard or peanut oil. 

          Test the Pot

When a turkey is placed in a pot full of boiling hot oil (375 degrees) the bird displaces some of the oil and if the pot is too full of grease or oil the pot will overflow. This overflowing grease will then flow down the sides of the pot and may contact the flame used to maintain the heat. If this happens the grease will catch fire, travel up the sides of the pot, and ignite the entire pot of grease.

To prevent the overflow of grease, test the pot and measure the amount of needed grease or oil. Many of these frying pots will handle a turkey up to 24 pounds so the amount of grease or oil will depend on the size of the bird. The best way to measure just how much grease or oil is needed is to put the turkey into a cold pot then fill the pot with just enough water to cover the whole bird. Take the bird out of the pot and notice that the level of water decreases. After the turkey is removed mark a line on the inside of the pot to show the water level then pour out the water. Dry the pot, place the pot on the burner, turn on the gas, light the burner, and fill the pot with your choice of grease or oil up to the mark you made.

          Fry the Turkey

Make sure the turkey is dry before placing the bird in the pot. Hot grease and cold water do not mix well and may cause a violent reaction. A nasty grease burn greatly lowers the enjoyment of a fine deep fried turkey so dry the bird and be very careful.

Do not stuffa turkey to be deep fried. The stuffing will come out of the bird, mix with the oil, and make a gooey mess. If you prefer stuffing with your turkey dinner then cook the stuffing on the side on a stove or in the oven. A special tool should come with the turkey fryer that looks like three hooks with a handle attached. This tool is what you use to put the bird in the fryer and remove it when fully cooked. Run the tool through the bird so the handle part of tje tool comes out of the birds neck

You will need a thermometer that can be submersed in the grease to maintain the temperature. These thermometers should be available where you purchase the turkey fryer. When the oil or grease has heated to boiling and the temperature is 375 degrees, the bird can then be placed in the pot. Time how long you leave the bird in the pot and maintain the temperature at 375 degrees. The temperature will drop significantly when the turkey is submersed in the grease.

Don't worry, this is normal so turn up the fire if necessary to bring the temperature back up then reduce the flame. Take caution to not let the temperature go above 375 degrees because you do not want the grease to reach the flash point. When the grease approaches 375 lower the flame; the temperature will continue to rise somewhat as the thermometer catches up to the temperature.

At 375 degrees it should take about 3 minutes per pound to fully cook the bird. A 24 pound turkey will then take about 42 minutes to cook. Not bad compared to roasting a turkey. When the turkey is fully cooked, remove the bird from the fryer using the tool used to put the bird in the grease. Wear protective gloves when removing the bird; remember, you do not want a nasty grease burn.

Put the turkey on a platter and take the bird in the house to be carved. Carve the turkey and enjoy. If you have never tasted deep fried turkey before you will notice that the skin is crispy and the meat is the juiciest you have probably ever tasted.

Have you enjoyed learning about deep fried turkey?

 Please, let me know.

Comments 1 comment

Lidia95 profile image

Lidia95 5 years ago from United States

Dumbledore,

I love turkey on Thanksgiving but sometimes it makes me tired.

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    Published: December 10, 2010

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