Warning: this can be a very dangerous undertaking that can result in serious burns and/or burning down your deck or your house. It has happened! Please observe these safety precautions:
Set up on a clean and clear concrete surface.
Use the proper equipment.
- At least a heavy aluminum 30 quart stock pot designed for frying-i.e., tall and narrow.
- Proper turkey rack and hook for lowering and raising the turkey into the oil.
Do this outside! Not inside.
Make sure there are no children or pets in close proximity to the fryer at all times.
Do not leave the fryer unattended at any time while frying.
If possible have a fully charged fire extinguisher near by that is rated for grease fire.
Use thermometers to monitor the temperature of the oil and the turkey.
Have help-this is a great thing to do with a buddy or a brother-in-law.
DO NOT OVERFILL THE STOCKPOT WITH OIL. Fires and severe burns will occur if the oil overflows when you lower the turkey into the stockpot. When the turkey hits the oil, the oil will go crazy. The oil WILL overflow if you put the turkey in too fast or if you have too much oil in the stockpot. Once the oil overflows, it hits the flame and then...trouble. I can’t overemphasize this too much.
The fryer stock pot should have a maximum fill line marked on it, but still exercise extreme caution not to over-fill the pot.
One way to determine the amount of oil required is to place the turkey in the pot and add water until it is just over the bird by about 1/2 inch. Slowly remove the turkey and all the water to to drain back into the pot. Mark where the water fill line is and use that as a guide to fill the oil. Dry the pot and the turkey completely with paper towels. Even when using this technique, exercise extreme caution when lowering the bird into the hot oil.
When lowering the turkey into the hot oi, it is best to turn off the burner. Once the bird is completely in the oil restart the burner.
The frying temperature for the oil is 350 degrees, but heat it to 375 because the temperature will drop significantly when you lower the turkey down.
Covering the pot once things have settled for a little bit of time will help bring the temperature back to 350, at which point you can uncover and use the flame to maintain the temperature. Instructions for properly thawing a frozen turkey can be found here.
Peanut oil is the most common oil used for frying turkey because of its temperature properties, but any vegetable based oil will do.
If you are using a frozen turkey, make sure to thaw it properly according to these instructions.