How to Have Your Turkey, And Eat It Fried Too

by David Lauterbach
2009 November 20

If you’re a foodie, chef, or just plain daring, I bet you’ve been intrigued by the prospect of deep frying your turkey on Thanksgiving.  And why not?  Deep frying–combined with proper marination–yields moist, flavorful meat with a crispy, delicious skin.  I know, I know… I’m preaching to the choir… you’re reading Brian’s Belly already.

The real problem is your family–probably your mom or a healthy loved one.  “I don’t want my turkey fried for Thanksgiving” is an inevitable response you’ll hear when you tell the family that you’d like to deep fry this year.

I’ve been there.  10 years ago when I first suggested deep frying to the family, everyone thought it was a good idea… except for mom.  She did not want to see her Thanksgiving traditions ruined by frying a turkey, let alone give up her reign on cooking the entire meal.

The solution was simple… make two birds.  The traditional roaster sat along side the empty carcass of the deep fried bird that year, as even my mother enjoyed the Cajun butter marinated fowl.  That was the last time we roasted a turkey (the turducken is another story).

But everything healthy is new again, and I’m still faced with the same problems.  Somewhat out of the blue, my girlfriend informed me that she refuses to eat fried turkey this year.  I’m sure she has the same visions of Kentucky Fried Chicken in a bucket that my mother had… chicken parts, covered in breading, dripping with oil.

I can’t be the only one still having this problem, so perhaps a few statements of persuasion are in order here… a few tidbits of information that may help you–and me–convince someone to let you deep fry the bird.

• A turkey, when fried properly, may only absorb a few tablespoons of oil. The oil is only used as a heat transfer medium… it heats the water within the food, essentially steaming it.  The pressure of the water steaming keeps the oil out.

• Because the heat transfer during frying is much faster than during roasting, the bird is done in less than an hour instead of four. That is why it’s so moist.

• A 6 ounce serving of fried turkey has 383 calories, 21 grams of fat and 1 carb.

• Don’t eat skin normally?  Then don’t eat fried skin either!

• Peanut oil has less saturated fats than butter.

• If you want to roast the turkey, then YOU roast the turkey.  I’ll be watching football.

Pardon us please, while we pay for beer...

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My husband ordered a fried turkey from our local American Legion as a fundraiser. How long should it be from the time it gets out of the oil to serving time? Is there a way to keep it moist and hot for a few hours? Please advise as this is our first deep fried bird.

mary Louise

can I fry a 18 pound turkey…have a 45quart pot for outside or do I need a smaller one?

Kimberly Lauterbach

SOOOOO looking forward to Thanksgiving on the Lauterbach Compound this year!! I can taste that deep fried turkey skin already!!! MMMmmmmmm…


I have a 22lb turkey. It will fit in my 26 qt pot, but do you think that it is too big to put in there?

Any thoughts? Please comment!x