How long should you deep fry your Thanksgiving turkey?

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 08: Foster Farms turkeys sit on a table a the SF-Marin Food Bank on November 08, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Ahead of Thanksgiving, Foster Farms donated 8,000 pounds of turkey to the SF-Marin Food Bank, enough turkey for 10,000 holiday meals. Global supply chain issues labor shortages are pushing up the price of turkeys. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 08: Foster Farms turkeys sit on a table a the SF-Marin Food Bank on November 08, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Ahead of Thanksgiving, Foster Farms donated 8,000 pounds of turkey to the SF-Marin Food Bank, enough turkey for 10,000 holiday meals. Global supply chain issues labor shortages are pushing up the price of turkeys. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) /
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It used to be that on Thanksgiving day someone would wake up early, get the turkey out of the refrigerator and get it into the oven. Depending on how big a bird you were making would determine exactly how early you would have to get up.

It usually also involved some choice words for the person who got to stay in bed all warm under the blankets while you go wrestle with a massive bird because your partner just had to invite their Aunt Myrtle and her six kids.

But over the last decade or so, how a person cooks their Thanksgiving turkey has evolved a great deal. There are now any number of way to prepare the bird, the most popular of which may be deep frying.

Of course, all you have to do is watch the local news Thanksgiving night to see deep frying disasters a plenty. There is a lot that can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. Lucky for you, all it takes is a simple search and you can get all kinds of advice.

How long should a Thanksgiving turkey be deep fried in order to be cooked?

A lot of it is common sense. Deep frying is best used with a smaller bird, say 8 to 10 pounds. It should be completely thawed and dry before going in the oil and it goes without saying that you shouldn’t fry a turkey indoors no matter what Uncle Jeb tells you.

But how long should you leave it in the oil to make sure it’s done? That all comes down to the size of your bird. For turkeys that are under 13 pounds, you should figure on three minutes per pound. So if you do some quick math you’ll see that for a 12 pound turkey you should leave it in the oil for 36 minutes at least.

For turkeys that are bigger than 14 pounds, it’s best to leave it in the oil for three and a half minutes per pound. So if you are cooking a 18 pound turkey it will need to cook for 63 minutes minimum to be cooked. Regardless of size, the breast meat should register at 151 degrees to be considered done.

If your bird is over 20 pounds, you really should consider using the oven instead. Deep frying a bird that big will take forever and there are safety considerations. The last thing you want to do is set your deck on fire or end up in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day and miss the football game.

And it goes without saying that if you are deep frying a turkey you cannot, under any circumstances, leave it alone. Think about that as well before you go buy that deep fryer and decide what size turkey to prepare.

Deep frying your turkey isn’t complicated and can yield a bird that will taste like nothing the one your grandmother used to make.

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What do you think Guilty Eats Nation? Will you be deep frying your turkey this Thanksgiving? Leave a comment below and let us know or join the conversation on our Facebook and Twitter pages.