Alternatives to Cooking Thanksgiving Turkey in the Oven
The traditional oven-roasted Thanksgiving turkey has recently undergone a makeover. I’ve found ways of cooking the fowl in devices other than the oven.
Older folks may wax nostalgic reminiscing about the roast turkey on Thanksgiving dinner but not I who had to prep and cook it for three or more hours. And I’m pretty sure there are lots of harried moms out there who feel the same way. Fortunately, now there are acceptable alternatives to the customary oven-cooked Thanksgiving turkey. Deep-frying is one of them and this method has become the most popular choice. Deep-fried turkey is now a common sight at the center of every table on this very important occasion.
The southern states claim pride for creating the deep-fried whole turkey, which quickly caught on across the northern parts of the country for its taste and short cooking time. But I was hesitant to use the frying method, amid reports of accidents and burns. The early attempts at frying used huge pots propped up on propane gas stoves and filled to the brim with cooking oil. Hot oil often spilled on body parts causing burns. Worse, carelessness led to other things catching fire and causing serious damage to property.
Thus, when I heard about the indoor Butterball Turkey Fryer, I knew it was the perfect solution to my concerns. There were no weather conditions to contend with, no heat from a fire and no oil splash.
This turkey fryer comes in two variants for bigger or smaller turkeys. It runs on electricity and has a covered porcelain-lined pot big enough to fry a 14-lb or 20-lb turkey. Deep-frying a turkey has never been this easy. You just brine the bird or inject or rub it with your desired marinade flavor and pat it dry. Make sure the turkey has completely thawed before frying.
Fill the fryer with oil up to the fill line and set the thermostat to 400 degrees. Place the turkey in the basket that goes with the fryer and lower the basket into the hot oil. Close the lid and calculate cooking time at 4 minutes per pound; cook at the computed time. If you want to check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer. It should read between 170 – 180 degrees in the breast or thigh part. When done, unplug the fryer and lift the basket from the oil. Let rest on top to let the oil drip, about 10 minutes or so.
Life isn’t as laid-back and languid as the old timers know it. Instant gratification is the order of the day. With my fast-paced and multifaceted life of being a mom and a career person, the deep-fried chicken is both timely and relevant for Thanksgiving. On top of everything, it tastes better with its moister meat and crispy golden skin, making it a hit with kids and adults alike. The compliments I get are just the icing on the cake.