turkey tips2004

At the Madison Hotel
15th & M Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20005



James Clarke’s Turkey Tips - Frying Your Thanksgiving Bird:
Chef James Clark of Palette at the Madison Hotel - Washington, DC
Adapted by StarChefs


Assuming that you have selected a beautiful, all-natural, fresh turkey that has been seasoned and injected with marinade, here are some tips for cooking a turkey that is G.B.D. - Golden Brown & Delicious!

  1. Always be sure that the turkey has been brought to room temperature before cooking. This tip applies to all turkey cooking for the holidays, not just for frying. The turkey always has a better chance of cooking evenly if the temperature is the same all over the bird. For a 13-15 pound turkey, I pull it out of the refrigerator 2 hours before it is time to cook. The cooking time is also quicker, and it also will help with not overcooking the bird.
  2. Everyone says, including me, that you have to use peanut oil for frying. But this is not true. While it does have great flavor, but if someone in the family has a nut allergy, fry8ing in peanut oil can pose a problem. Safflower oil is flavorless, colorless oil expressed from the seeds of the safflower. This oil contains more polyunsaturated fat than any other oil and has a high smoke point, making it ideal for deep-frying. Safflower oil is also less expensive, and when you properly control your fryer, it will not burn, which brings me to my next tip…
  3. Go and spend the money on a very good digital thermometer - do not get one that is so cheap it will ruin the whole holiday. A thermometer that will reach 400°F is ideal. A candy thermometer will work just as well for measuring the temperature of the cooking oil. For starting the turkey, I like to have my oil right at 320-330°F. Then I try to keep it around 315-320°F for the duration of the frying. A lot of people say you have to fry it at 350°F, but this will result in a burnt turkey, trust me. Fry it at 315-320°F for about 45 to 50 minutes. Be sure you check the temperature with your new thermometer - 150°F internal temperature.
  4. Let a 13-15 pound turkey rest for at least 30-40 minutes before you carve it. This is very important for a fried or roasted turkey. When a turkey comes out of the fryer it has gone through a very aggressive cooking technique; it will need to rest so that its juices can retract where the protein was coagulated. I like to rest my fried turkey on a brown paper bag so that it can soak up the grease while the juices inside reabsorb.
..Published: November 2004