Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Turkey Day Dilemma...

My DH loves...LOVES to deep fry a turkey for Thanksgiving. You would think he was from the south. This year my mom is coming from Mississippi to see us, so all the more reason for him to go nuts and pull out the deep fryer. Now, I love it too-- but I know it is not healthy. How could it be?

So, as always here is the dilemma: to deep fry or not to deep fry? That is the question!

Here are two recipes I found online with nutritional information to help you compare:

Southern Deep Fried Turkey (click name to see original recipe on

Yield: 12

Ethnicity: New Southern American

Meal Type: Main Course, Entrée

Occasion: Thanksgiving, Superbowl, Fourth of July, Christmas

Preparation Method: Deep Fry

Product Type: Whole

10 to 12 Pound WHOLE TURKEY, non self-basting
2/3 Cup prepared vinaigrette dressing
1/3 Cup dry sherry
2 Teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
As needed peanut oil (See note below)

  1. Remove the giblets and neck, rinse the turkey well with cold water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Take care to dry both inside cavities. To allow for good oil circulation throughout the cavity, do not truss or tie legs together. Cut off the wing tips and plump little tail (as they may get caught in the fryer basket).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix vinaigrette, dry sherry and seasonings together. Strain the marinade.
  3. Place the marinade in an injection syringe. Inject the marinade in the turkey breast, thighs and legs.
  4. Place the bird in a large food-safe plastic bag, refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours. Turn the bag and massage the turkey from time to time.
  5. Drain the marinade from the turkey and discard marinade. Place the turkey in the fryer basket or on a rack, neck down.
  6. Place the OUTDOOR gas burner on a level dirt or grassy area. Never fry a turkey indoors, in a garage or in any structure attached to a building. Do not fry on wood decks, which could catch fire, or concrete, which could be stained by the oil. (Safety tip: have a fire extinguisher nearby for added safety.)
  7. Add oil to a 7 to 10 gallon pot with a basket or rack. At the medium-high setting, heat the oil to 375 degrees F, (depending on the amount of oil, outside temperature and wind conditions, this should take about 40+ minutes).
  8. When the oil temperature registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer, slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. The level of the oil will rise due to the frothing caused by the moisture from the turkey but will stabilize in about one minute. (Safety tips: to prevent burns from the splattering oil wear oven mitts/gloves, long sleeves, heavy shoes and even glasses. It is wise to have two people lowering and raising the turkey.)
  9. Immediately check the oil temperature and increase the flame so the oil temperature is maintained at 350 degrees F. If the temperature drops to 340 degrees F or below, oil will begin to seep into the turkey.
  10. Fry about 3-4 minutes per pound, or about 35-42 minutes for a 10-12 pound turkey. Stay with the cooker at all times as the heat must be regulated to maintain 350 degrees F.
  11. When cooked to 165-170 degrees F in the breast or 170-175 degrees F in the thigh, carefully remove the turkey from the hot oil. Allow the turkey to drain for a few minutes. (Safety tip: allow the oil to cool completely before storing or disposing.)
  12. Remove turkey from the rack and place on a serving platter. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  13. NOTE: Use only oils with high smoke points, such as peanut, canola or safflower oil. To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey in the pot before adding seasoning and add water until turkey is covered. Take turkey out of the water before marking the oil level. Measure the amount of water and use a corresponding amount of oil. Dry the pot thoroughly of all water.

Recipe Source: Recipe by The National Turkey Federation as found on

Roast Turkey with Herbal Rub (click name to see original recipe on

Yield: 18

Ethnicity: American

Meal Type: Main Course, Entrée

Occasion: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter

Preparation Method: Roast

Product Type: Whole

1 13-Pound WHOLE TURKEY, fresh or thawed
1 Medium onion, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1 Teaspoon dried thyme
1 Teaspoon dried tarragon
1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Remove giblets and neck from turkey and reserve for broth. Rinse turkey with cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place onion and lemon quarters in neck and body cavities.
  2. In a small bowl, mix oil with herbs, salt and pepper. With your finger tips, gently loosen skin from the breast without pulling off the skin. Place 1 tablespoon of herb mixture under skin; replace skin. Rub cavities and outside of turkey with remaining herb mixture.
  3. Secure the neck skin to the back with skewers. Fold wings under back of turkey. Place legs in tucked position. May be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated for several hours.
  4. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large shallow (no more than 2-1/2 inches) deep roasting pan. Insert an oven-safe thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful it does not touch the bone.
  5. Cover bird with a loose tent of foil. Roast turkey in a preheated 325 degree F. oven for about 2-1/2 hours. Remove foil and baste bird with pan juices. Continue to roast for about another hour until meat thermometer registers 180 degrees F. in the thigh.
  6. Remove turkey from oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. Transfer to a large platter and serve with gravy. Note: Yields 18 servings at 6 ounces per portion.

Recipe Source: Recipe provided by Giant Food of Landover, MD as found on's the question. How are you cooking your Turkey? Are going healthy? or are you deep frying it and giving yourself a day to enjoy it?


Natasha A. on November 10, 2010 at 6:20 AM said...

I don't agree with those nutrition statements....
Is that for white meat or dark meat?
Also, those are LARGE servings (at least in my mind - I buy 4 oz chicken breasts).
And finally, are they factoring in some of the oil in the deep fried turkey? My understanding is, if you get the oil temp right, there should be no oil in the meat.
OH and final final, does that include skin?

Ok /rant

Mama Kitty on November 10, 2010 at 6:49 AM said...

I'm not a huge fan of turkey to begin with, so if you can deep fry it and make it taste fantastic, I'm THERE! I can't do baked turkey unless it's swimming in herbs and spices and doesn't taste like turkey anymore. I know, I'm weird. But ever since I was pregnant with Monkey, I haven't been able to eat baked chicken or turkey. Well, plain-tasting baked chicken or turkey. Like I said, if it's swimming in herbs and spices, I can do it. Otherwise? I'll vomit. I blame Monkey, of course.

Anyway. I don't care about the nutritional value so much, since there's no way I'll be eating 7.8 ounces of deep fried turkey... I have to leave room for the green bean casserole and the stuffing!

Dara Young on November 10, 2010 at 7:45 AM said...

I think it is surprising to see, but I did poke around a bit and if you google it you will find numbers in this range for roasted and deep fried Turkey. As I saw it explained on one site it is because as you cook the meat some of the fat from the skin is absorbed into the meat. If you take meat from deeper into the bird you get leaner lower fat cuts depending on how it was cooked. Keep in mind I AM NOT AN EXPERT!!!! Just another dieter trying to decipher this mess of information. :D I was surprised too, but I found an article somewhere that claimed that the deli meat turkey we often eat and that is so low in fat is prepared by being boiled which is the why it comes in with so low a fat content and what makes it a dieters dream. I also know that a proper serving size (according to a nutritionist I once saw) is 5oz of protein or about the size of a deck of playing cards. As for the skin on or off, I have no idea. I would assume off...but then I like to believe there's no fat in cupcakes. ;)

Mama Kitty..try the Deep Fried! Inject it with stuff it is sssooooo good! Worth every fat filled calorie. (uh did I just write that? *looks around*)

Natasha A. on November 10, 2010 at 7:48 AM said...

ROFL I was just trying to justify the deep fried turkey cause it is SOOOO yummy! :D

Dara Young on November 10, 2010 at 10:21 AM said...

Oh justify away....I am! :D

Trish on November 10, 2010 at 2:28 PM said...

I love it the ole fashion way right out of the oven, not a fan of the fried. To crispy....LOL!!

robin on November 10, 2010 at 5:38 PM said...

Like MamaKitty, I am not a huge fan of turkey. And I've never had it deep fried. But, Thanksgiving for me is about the SIDES, baby! And if I can save calories on turkey and gobble up everything else.....sign me up for roasting.

wait....don't sign ME up for roasting......


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