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A Deep Fried Thanksgiving Day Turkey - A True Southern Tradition

Vicki Shivers - Thursday, November 17, 2011

The South is known for its culinary delights and the holidays are the perfect time to celebrate these unique and delicious creations with a Southern Thanksgiving Tradition – a deep fried turkey! You probably won’t be surprised to know that deep fried turkey originated in the South “the fried foods capital of the US”, but this Southern tradition is quickly gaining popularity around the nation.


Deep frying a turkey may sound like a strange concept if you have never tried this delicious Southern delicacy, but I assure you I have not met anyone who has tried it and not liked it.

Deep frying your turkey ensures one of the moistest, most flavorful ways to serve your Thanksgiving Day bird. You can prepare the turkey with your own traditional flavorings - minus the stuffing - or go for extra taste and flair with an injectable marinade of your favorite flavors. You can even pick up a unique injectable marinade that is readily available at your local grocery store or gourmet shop.


Below is a simple, fool-proof recipe for a moist and delicious Southern deep fried turkey that is sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving get together. Pay special attention to the “Tips for the Perfect Deep Fried Turkey” before you begin to cook your turkey, as it is a lot different that traditional oven baking of a turkey and takes a lot less time!


Southern Deep Fried Thanksgiving Turkey

  • 1 - 12 to 15 Pound Turkey
  • 2  - Tablespoons Ground Red Pepper or a Jar of Injectable Marinade
  • 5  - Gallons Vegetable Oil


  • Remove giblets and neck and rinse turkey with cold water.
  • Drain cavity well and turkey pat dry.
  • Place turkey on fryer rod; and allow all liquid to drain from cavity. This takes about 20-30 minutes.
  • Rub outside of turkey with red pepper or inject turkey with your favorite marinade.
  • Pour oil into a deep propane turkey fryer 10 to 12 inches from top; heat oil to 375° over a medium-low flame according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Carefully lower turkey into hot oil with rod attachment.
  • Fry turkey for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted in turkey breast registers 170°. Oil temperature should be around 340° during cooking.
  • Remove turkey from oil; drain and cool slightly before slicing. Garnish, if desired.

Tips for the Perfect Deep Fried Turkey

  • Do not stuff turkeys you plan to deep fry.
  • Be sure to determine the proper oil level using the turkey and water BEFORE frying. Put the turkey in the fryer and add water to cover, making sure there is good distance to the top. Remove the turkey and mark the water line.
  • Keep an eye on the time, fried turkeys cook quickly. It only takes about 3 minutes per pound. Overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make.
  • Even if you overcook the turkey and the outside looks burnt, you may be surprised to find that the meat inside may still be delicious, so relax if you make this mistake, all may not be lost.

 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from the Team at!

"From Your Place to Ours", Hilton Head