1/2 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons white pepper
2 tablespoons sweet basil
2 teaspoons bay leaves, ground
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons file powder
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 10-12 pound whole turkey, non self-basting
4 to 5 gallons peanut oil
Stir salt, herbs and peppers together. Mix until well blended. Use 1/2 to 2/3 cup for a 10-12 pound turkey. May be stored for several months in an airtight covered jar.
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. Place in a large pan and rub the interior and exterior of the bird with seasoning mix. To allow for good oil circulation through 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. Cover pan and place in refrigerator overnight.
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.)
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).
Meanwhile, place the turkey in a basket or on a rack, neck down. 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.)
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. Fry about 3 to 4 minutes per pound, or about 35 to 42 minutes for a 10-12 pound turkey. Stay with the cooker at all times as the heat must be regulated.
When cooked to 170 degrees F. in the breast or 180 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.)
Remove turkey from the rack and place on a serving platter. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
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. Measure the amount of water and use a corresponding amount of oil. Dry the pot thoroughly of all water. Makes 12 servings.
Per serving (5.9 ounces each): 1g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 45g protein; 21g fat; 1116mg sodium; 129mg cholesterol; 383 calories
-- Recipe courtesy of the National Turkey Federation. Recipe was developed by Janet Trent of Sanford, North Carolina. The recipe was a finalist in the 1999 North Carolina Turkey Cooking Contest, sponsored by the North Carolina Turkey Federation.
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