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Cooking turkey the traditional way has been the norm in many homes. Frying your turkey can be a fun spin, but what oil should you use? We researched this topic to provide you with the best information.
Deep-frying turkey is quite simple, and the best oil to use is peanut oil because of its good qualities, which include:
- High flash and smoke point
- Is re-usable
Keep reading to unravel the qualities that make peanut oil the best for frying turkey, how long it takes to deep fry, how much oil to use, and how many times you can reuse it. Also, find out if there is an alternative if you do not want to deep fry or roast your turkey.
The Best Oil For Deep Frying Turkey
It can be an uphill task to preserve the flavor of turkey while cooking. Peanut oil is not only considered one of the healthiest oils to use. It's also the best oil for deep frying turkey because of its inherent qualities that retain the texture and taste of the meat.
Before we go into the characteristics of peanut oil, let us get to know the types of peanut oil, so that we know exactly what we are dealing with.
Refined peanut oil is the most common for deep frying. However, it's not the only kind on the market.
Unrefined peanut oil, which is sometimes known as cold-pressed or virgin oil is not suitable for deep-frying. Instead, it is best as a finishing oil or cooking in low heat.
Roasted peanut oil is also primarily used as a finishing oil. It is mostly used for dressings, marinades, and sauces.
Our focus is on refined oil because it is the best for deep-frying turkey. Let’s look at each of the qualities that make peanut oil the best!
High Flash And Smoke Point
The flash point of cooking oil is the point at which the oil ignites and tiny flames appear on the oil’s surface. Before it gets here though, it first reaches the smoking point, where the oil starts producing smoke.
Therefore, when you see your oil producing smoke, you should know it's a sign that the oil is close to catching fire. That's why you have to be very observant as you cook because you do not want a burnt turkey that may end up tasting bitter. Your aim is to retain the best flavor possible in your turkey.
With the temperature increase, the smoking point moves to the flash point. Most cooking oils have a smoking point around 450 degrees Fahrenheit and will reach a flash point at 500 degrees Fahrenheit when it ignites.
Most foods are deep-fried between 350 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, you will need cooking oil with a smoking point above 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since refined peanut oil has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit, it is a great choice for deep frying turkey.
The high flash point means it can withstand high temperatures without burning. Thus it is able to create crispiness on the outside, while the inside remains moist.
Peanut oil is made from peanut plant seeds that have a healthy fat content. It contains high levels of unsaturated fats, which are good. Thus it is low in cholesterol, meaning it is more heart-healthy than many other fats and oils.
Peanut oil also contains vitamin E and antioxidants that are great for your health. Furthermore, refined peanut oil does not have allergen proteins, reducing the risk of allergies for those allergic to peanuts.
So, when you fry using peanut oil, you will not only enjoy a sumptuous meal but one with immense health benefits.
If you properly strain peanut oil, you can use it two to three times before it starts deteriorating. It is possible to reuse peanut oil more times than other cooking oils.
After deep frying your turkey, let the oil cool to at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Then strain it through a cheesecloth or a fine strainer into a clean airtight container.
Cover it and store it in the refrigerator between two and three months, or sometimes up to six months. However, if it reached the smoke point while cooking, the life span of the peanut oil is reduced.
If it turns darker or has a stale smell, do not use it. It is a sign it has begun deteriorating. And, if it does not form bubbles or smokes too much when deep-frying food, stop cooking and change the oil.
How To Clean Peanut Oil
You can take a step further and clean your peanut oil to preserve it for longer. Cleaning removes the food particles that remained in the oil after cooking as they could go bad, and spoil the oil.
- Citrus fruit
- Coffee filter or cheesecloth
The steps include:
- Fry some citrus fruit in the oil with which you fried your turkey. It refreshes your oil by removing any flavors that entered the oil while cooking.
- Let the peanut oil cool completely.
- Pour the oil into a container through a metal mesh strainer. It prevents large food particles from passing through.
- Pour it into another container through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to stop small particles from passing through.
- Finally, pour the filtered oil into an airtight container and refrigerate it for later use.
How much oil do you need to fry a turkey?
As you plan to fry your turkey, you need to know how much peanut oil to use. Do this by placing your turkey inside the turkey fryer, or the traditional fryer and pouring water until it is covered up. It should not pass the waterline.
When you remove the turkey, the amount of water left should be the amount of oil you should use.
Read carefully the instructions of the fryer you will be using, as each could work differently.
The exact amount of oil you will need will depend on the size of your turkey and fryer. Typically, you’ll need 3 to 4 gallons of peanut oil to cook a turkey that is 9 pounds, and 5 gallons of oil to cook a turkey that is 15 pounds.
Just make sure the oil covers the turkey but does not spill over.
Time It Takes To Deep Fry Turkey
Generally, deep-frying a turkey takes about three minutes for each pound of turkey plus an extra five minutes. For example, if you are cooking a 15-pound turkey, it will take 45 minutes plus an extra 5 minutes to make a total of 50 minutes.
If the turkey is too large, the outside part may end up getting burnt, with a half-cooked inside. It is therefore advisable to cut it into pieces and fry them in chunks.
Is There An Alternative To Deep Frying Turkey?
Deep-fried turkey is simply delicious, but there are alternatives for the health-conscious. Did you know you could air-fry your turkey? This is a good alternative if you don't have the oil, or you are looking forward to eating a more healthy meal.
The oil-less turkey fryer works differently from a turkey fryer. The former has a cylindrical cooking chamber, while the latter has a large pot. It uses infrared heat to cook the turkey. The final result is a turkey with crispy skin that is moist and tender on the inside.
The cooking time is longer than the turkey fryer, taking between 10 and 15 minutes per pound of turkey. However, remember to follow the recipe closely, ensuring it is at the required temperature at which the turkey cooks.
Make sure your turkey comes up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for safety.
Peanut oil is the best for deep frying turkey because it has a high smoke and flash-point, which means that it takes a longer time before it catches fire. Consequently, it will be easier to retain the flavor and get the amazing texture you want.
Peanut oil can also be re-used under certain conditions. That way, it lasts long for up to six months. It can even be purified so that you can re-use clean oil.
We've seen that the amount of oil and time needed for deep-frying your turkey will depend on the weight of your bird. We've also learned that an air-fryer can be used as an alternative to using peanut oil and will produce excellent results.
You can learn even more to assure full-proof frying for your next turkey day in these articles: