I may be a vegetarian, but that doesn't mean that I don't want my Thanksgiving turkey to be perfect for the carnivores at the table! This year I decided to experiment with brining and frying. Brining a turkey is similar to marinating, with the goal being to lock in moisture. You basically give the turkey a salt bath overnight before cooking to seal in all of the juicy goodness.
I got a little derailed when I couldn't find a pot large enough to submerge an 18 pound turkey. But no worries - turkey roasting bag to the rescue! Place the turkey in the bag, place into a sturdy container, add the brine and seal the bag - simple!
Be sure to pat the turkey completely dry before frying, to avoid splatters when placing into the fryer. It's a little scary the first time, but once you've got one turkey under your belt, it's a piece of cake after that!
I have to admit, I was skeptical that this big bird would be fully cooked after only an hour...but it was! And it was delicious!
recipe developed for French's Foods
photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio
Brine Time : 24 hours
Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 1 hour and 5 minutes
2 gallons cold water
4 cups packed light brown sugar
FRENCH'S® Classic Yellow® Mustard
1/2 cup coarse Kosher salt
8 cloves garlic
2 sprigs each fresh rosemary , thyme and sage
1 fresh turkey , about 18 pounds
1 turkey size oven roasting bag
3 gallons peanut oil [or other high smoke-point oil]
Combine water, sugar, Mustard, salt, garlic and herbs in large pot. Place turkey in oven roasting bag and place bag in large pot or food-safe container.
Pour brine mixture over turkey. Pull bag closed tightly so brine is completely covering turkey and seal. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey completely dry.
Add oil to turkey fryer and preheat fryer according to manufacturer's instructions. Place turkey on rack. Wearing oven mitts or protective gloves, slowly lower turkey into hot oil and close cover.
Fry turkey 65 minutes (3.5 to 4 minutes per pound) until thoroughly cooked.
To measure the amount of oil needed to fry the turkey, place the wrapped turkey in the fryer. Add water to cover the turkey. Remove the turkey and the water line will indicate how much oil will be needed to fry the turkey. Using too much oil can cause a fire. The fryer should not be more than 3/4 full of the oil could overflow when the turkey is added.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Place brined turkey, breast-side up, on flat roasting rack in shallow roasting pan Bake 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 hours or until meat thermometer registers 180°F when inserted in deepest part of thigh. Cover breasts and tops of drumsticks with aluminum foil after 2 hours to prevent overcooking of breast.
Food Stylist: Catherine Paukner
Try some of these fabulous sides to go with your turkey!