Real Texas Fried Turkey

by Ramona Werst on November 23, 2016

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You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving or for that matter, any holiday to have Turkey.  You also don’t have to prepare your Turkey the traditional way.  Here in Real Texas we fry our Turkey!  It’s an event all in itself, but so well worth it and once you’ve had Fried Turkey, it’s really hard to ever eat it any other way.

He looks a little sunburned in the photo, but that turkey is moist and delicious on the inside.

Yes we usually fry our Turkey for Thanksgiving, but this is only because since it makes so much and this is the only time we can gather the entire family.  Also,  it makes sense to entertain the family with the whole “frying the Turkey” process and ritual.

Just a little warning, it’s not real pretty the first time to see a fried Turkey.  In fact you might think that it’s burnt.  But when you slice into it and see how juicy it is and then take your first bite, you will see that it is a perfectly beautiful Turkey.  Also, you will want to make gravy using the giblets, or from chicken stock, because there are no turkey drippings.

And just a heads up. David uses the same stainless steel pot to brine as he does to cook.  It also gives a chance to gauge how much oil you should put in the pot on Turkey Day. For several years, he used an old – I stress old – and very ugly ice chest he carries around in the back of his pickup.  The cooking pot is always kept clean (by me) it it works much better.  Fill the pot just above half full with water and put the bird into the pot.  Mark the spot and you can see how much liquid it displaces.  You can use that mark to fill it with the proper amount of peanut oil so it doesn’t make a mess and spew boiling oil all over a concrete floor when putting the turkey in (always very slowly) to cook.

Making the brine (2 days prior to frying the Turkey)


2 gallons Water
2 cups Kosher Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 cups Maple Syrup
3 cups Honey
12 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon Ground Cloves
1 tablespoon Ginger
8 tablespoons ground Peppercorns
2 Oranges quartered
2 Lemons quartered
6 Thyme sprigs
4 Rosemary sprigs
12 fresh Sweet Basil leaves


Brining the Turkey

Add a gallon of water to a big pot and heat it up. Once the water gets heated, add ground cloves and ginger. Add the brown sugar and stir. Add fresh black peppercorns that are coarsely ground to the water.  Add the bay leaves.

Add the Kosher salt to the mixture. The salt will help to make the turkey juicy, and there will not be lot salt left in the turkey since we don’t use the brine water while frying the turkey. Bring the mixture to a boil.

When the mixture comes to a boil, add the honey to the mixture. Add the bottle of real maple syrup to the mixture. Stir the mixture well and bring it back to a boil.  Once it is back to a boil, turn off the heat and let the brine completely cool.

Once the mixture is cooled, add the quartered lemons and oranges to the mixture. I use plenty of ice to cool it down faster and when I put in the turkey.  Add thyme sprigs to the mixture. Add the sweet basil leaves and few sprigs of rosemary to the mixture.

Add the turkey with its butt first into the pot.(Make sure that you are not putting stuffing in the turkey when you are going to fry it.) Pour water to the pot to completely cover the turkey.

Cover the pot and make sure it is cold. If it is warm outside, cover the top the pot and place ice around it so that the mixture will get cooled. Leave it in the brine at least 24 hours before you inject the turkey.

Injecting the Turkey (1 day prior to frying the Turkey)

I developed this injection sauce this year, November 2016, and it is great!  It will be featured in my cookbook along with lots of other Texas Gold Black Garlic recipes.  (No, it is not garlicky, at all!  Just amazing flavor).  It has a secret ingredient along with the black garlic.


Injection Marinade Sauce

1/2 cup Cuisine Perel Spicy Pecan Vinegar (Click on the link to order)
1 1/2 head Texas Black Gold Garlic (Click on the link to order)
1/2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon Texas Black Gold Garlic Sea Salt (Click on the link to order)
1 whole Shallot, minced (approximately 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Real Maple Syrup


Injecting the Turkey

To prepare the Injection Marinade Sauce for the turkey, we will be pureeing the ingredients.

Add all the marinade ingredients in a blender.  Blend until all is smooth.  Approximately 2 – 3 minutes.  It has to be real smooth to go through the injector.

You’ll want to choose an injector with larger holes for the marinade to be injected easily.

Fill up the injector with the marinade and inject it in the muscle part of the turkey. Draw up more marinade and inject it to different muscle parts of the turkey.

Empty the brine from the pot and put the turkey back to the pot. Put ice around the pot overnight while it soaks up the delicious injected marinade.

Turkey is Ready to Fry

Frying the Turkey


Approximately 3-4 Gallons Peanut Oil (This is the best oil to use)


The turkey has marinated for 24 hours.

Heat the peanut oil.  It may take as long as 45 minutes to bring it up to correct heat level.

Put the little hanger on to the basket and then and place it in the pot containing the hot oil very slowly. Make sure you are at a safe distance from the pot when you are putting the turkey in to the oil.

The oil can be/will be splashing, so always be at a safe arms length distance. Once the basket hits the bottom, take the hanger off. Cover the pot and cook the turkey for about 30 to 45 minutes. (Approximately 3 minutes per pound)

Pull out the turkey out the oil with the hanger. Make sure that you take the turkey out very slow.

Turkey is Fried and Ready to Carve

Carving the Turkey


Hold the leg of the turkey and cut it at the leg joint. Pull the wings of the turkey aside and cut them. To slice the pieces from the breast, slice the first piece and continue to slice all the way to the breast bone. Arrange the sliced turkey on a platter.

Other considerations

Before beginning, (and before you even season or marinate your turkey) determine the amount of oil you’ll need by placing the turkey in the basket (or on the hanger, depending on the type of fryer you are using) and putting it in the pot. Add water until it reaches about two inches above the turkey. Remove the turkey and note the water level by using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Remove the water and thoroughly dry the pot. Now add enough oil to equal what the water level was without the turkey in the pot.

How to Fry

Using the candy thermometer/or a very long thermometer to determine temperature, heat the oil to about 325°F and no higher than 350°F. This usually takes between 30 to 45 minutes. Once the oil is hot enough, place the turkey in the basket or on the turkey hanger (follow instructions that came with your turkey frying kit) and slowly lower it into the pot.

Now let her fry. With whole turkeys, you can estimate on about three minutes per pound to cook. Remove turkey and check the temperature with a meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 170° F in the breast and 180° F in the thigh.

Tips & Troubleshooting

• Do not stuff turkeys you plan on frying, it just doesn’t work and food safety issues come into play.  Make sure you have removed the neck and giblet package.  Yep, been there, done that.
• Be sure to measure for the amount of oil you’ll need BEFORE you marinate or bread the turkey.
• Immediately wash hands, utensils, equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with raw turkey to avoid cross contamination.
• Keep an eye on the time, fried turkeys cook quickly. It only takes about 3 minutes per pound. Overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make. We should know, we cooked our first turkey so much the outside was charred completely black. Surprisingly, the meat inside the burnt shell was still delicious, so know that if you make this mistake, all may not be lost.
• Some folks let the bird rest, others serve hot.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking.
• Never leave the hot oil unattended.
• Don’t allow children or pets near the cooking area.
• Allow oil to cool completely before disposing or storing it.

One last tip:  Don’t leave the pot of cooled peanut oil out where your dog can get to it.  He might just overdose on the oil… our dog Bowie nearly did. Fortunately, we caught the rascal in time.  Dispose of the oil properly.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim McCoyNo Gravatar November 25, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Should I notify the fire dept./EMTs before, or…..? 😀


WalterNo Gravatar November 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I have been frying turkeys since 1978 when a coin ass showed me how to fry them. I fry the turkey when the grease showed 350 degrees, being careful when putting the turkey into the grease, and then fry uncovered for 3 1\2 minutes a pound. It turns out jucy and not overly dark. I do inject it the day before with my liquid I make up.
Great way to eat a turkey bird.


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