Another year of oven-roasted turkey? Not on Grill Master Randy’s watch! Our culinary rockstar wants to show you how to fry a turkey, which is a beautiful thing in its own right even before you factor in his kickin’ Cajun injectable marinade. Beautiful color and surprising juiciness make this fried turkey recipe a no-brainer for Thanksgiving dinner, holidays feasts, or whenever you feel like treating yourself to a tasty turkey.
Before starting, please be sure to read our article on How to Fry a Turkey Safely.
PREP 24 hrs and 45 min COOK 40 min REST 30 min READY IN 26 hrs Serves 6-8 people
- 10-12-lb. turkey
- Olive oil (for binder)
- 4–5 gallons of peanut oil (amount will vary based on size of pot and turkey)
- ¼ cup chili powder
- ¼ cup paprika
- ¼ cup pepper
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1½ Tbsp onion powder
- 1½ Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp cayenne
- 1 lager beer (12 oz.)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup honey
- 1 Tbsp crab boil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp salt
- ¼ cup of Cajun rub
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup unsalted butter, diced
- Injector syringe
- 30–36-quart turkey frying pot with turkey stand and handle
- Long-stem oil thermometer
- Instant-read thermometer
For the Cajun Rub:
For the Cajun Injection:
- Start by measuring how much oil you’ll need in the frying pot (too much oil can overflow and pose a serious hazard). Place the still-wrapped turkey in the pot, then fill with water until it covers the turkey by about an inch. Remove the bird from the pot, and use a yardstick to measure how much water remains — that’s the ideal measurement for oil you’ll use later. When finished, toss out the water and thoroughly dry the pot. Hot oil and water don’t mix.
- Before making your injectable marinade, you’ll need to prepare the Cajun rub. Combine the chili powder, paprika, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne. Mix well, and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the beer, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and honey. Stir until the ingredients begin to meld.
- Add the crab boil, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, salt, a ¼ cup of the Cajun rub, and bay leaves to the saucepan. Allow the mixture to simmer down and reduce by about half.
- Once reduced, take the pan off of heat and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. After the marinade has cooled, whisk in the diced butter until fully incorporated.
- Strain the marinade through a cheesecloth to avoid clumps clogging the syringe, then set it aside to continue cooling while you season the turkey.
- Make sure your turkey is fully thawed and that you’ve removed the neck and giblets from the internal cavity. Thoroughly dry the turkey, including inside the cavity, with paper towels.
- Apply a thin layer of olive oil to the entire exterior of the turkey, then follow that up with a generous amount of the Cajun rub. Be sure to fully coat your turkey, even inside the joints and folds along with the internal cavity.
- Now for the fun part: injecting the turkey. Work all around the bird, making injections in a variety of areas and to multiple depths (especially in the breasts) to ensure pockets of flavor throughout.
- Store the injected turkey in the fridge, uncovered, at least overnight but preferably for 12–24 hours. Why uncovered? This allows the skin to air-dry, which helps it get crispier when cooked.
- When it’s time to start frying, remove the turkey from the fridge and thread it onto the hook stand. Temporarily set aside while you preheat the oil.
- Pour oil into the pot until it reaches the fill line you previously measured using water in Step 1. Carefully light the burner and preheat your oil to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. (From this point until the end of the cook, you should remain close to the fryer and keep a watchful eye on the oil for safety purposes. So, we recommend having a beer or two within arm’s reach before lighting the burner.)
- When the oil hits 275 degrees, shut off the burner and slowly — when we say “slowly,” we mean it — lower your turkey into the oil using the hook handle. For your safety, always wear high-heat gloves when handling the turkey near the fryer.
- Once the turkey is fully submerged in oil, turn the burner back on high while steadily monitoring the thermometer. You should target 325 degrees for the duration of the cook, so throttle back the regulator as needed to keep the oil at that sweet spot.
- Expect to cook the turkey between 30 and 45 minutes, but around the 25-minute mark, you should check the turkey’s internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Before lifting the turkey, turn off the burner to make things as safe as possible. Wearing high-heat gloves, slowly and carefully pull the turkey up from the oil using the hook handle. Stick your thermometer into the breast, making sure not to hit bone (which throws off readouts). If the turkey hasn’t reached 160 degrees internally, then slowly lower it back into the oil and turn the burner back on to complete the cook.
- Once the turkey hits 160 degrees, shut off the burner and carefully remove the bird from the pot like you did when originally checking its temperature. All poultry should be cooked to 165 degrees, but the internal temperature will continue rising to that point as it rests.
- Let the turkey rest for about 30 minutes, and lightly tent with foil if you choose.
- After 30 minutes, the turkey is ready to be carved and served along with your favorite sides. Enjoy!