Friday, November 27, 2009

Smoked versus Fried Turkey -Thanksgiving 2009

This year I cooked two turkeys for Thanksgiving. They were both about 13 pounds each. I brined both using the brine solution. After the brine, they were both rinsed and patted dry to spend the night uncovered in the refrigerator. This to help achieve a crispier and less rubbery skin during the cooks.

Turkey fried using a Butterball Indoor Turkey Frryer

Turkey smoked in an 18 inch WSM bullet smoker

Thanksgiving morning, I first started the cooking process for the smoked turkey. I removed it from the refrigerator, injected it with a butter seasoning mixture in the breast and thighs. About a cup of injection went in. I then rubbed the outside of the bird with a butter, garlic, parsely gremolata with some added salt and cracked pepper. The bird went on the smoker at 0900. Water pan filled with water and fresh herbs from my garden- rosemary, oregano and thyme. Smoker temp 350 degrees. The temp on the smoker fluctuated from 300 to 350 degrees with lots of manual manipulations by me to maintain this temp. By 12:30 pm, the thigh temp hit 180ish and the breast was at 162. Pulled from smoker and rested til time to carve.

At noon, I turned on the Butterball Indoor Turkey Fryer for the 30 minutes it would take to reach 375 degrees. It was filled with 2 gallons of peanut oil. I previously tested the volume of the fryer using water to assure the oil would not overflow when the turkey was added. I removed the second turkey from the refrigerator and patted the inside to assure it was dry (minimizes splatter when added to fryer). I then made a seasoning mixture of salt, pepper, bay seasoning and garlic powder. This was sprinkled all over the turkey inside and out. I chose to not inject this bird and to not add any honey based or butter rubs to it as a means to not degrade the oil or cause it to burn. I then loaded the bird in the basket. At 13 pounds it did fit. I had my silicone gloves ready and a step stool. The stool so I could have better control when slowly lowering the bird into the hot oil and the gloves to keep hot spattering oil from burning my hands.. At 1:00 pm I started the cook. 52 minutes later the bird was ready. I slowly lifted it from the Indoor Fryer and placed the basket on a pan with a rack. I let it rest about 5 minutes before removing the bird from the basket. Some of the back skin did stick to the basket. That's ok because it could not be seen.

The taste test by my family. They loved them both. Each was moist, tender and perfectly cooked. The flavors were very similar dspite the different seasonings. One advantage went to the fried turkey for the skin texture, the other advantage went to the smoked turkey for the added smoky flavor. Overall they were both great in different ways.

Flickr Photo Set


Deborah Eley De Bono said...

They both look tasty and thanks for the specific info. It will give me courage to smoke my turkey.

What wood did you use to smoke the turkey?

Unknown said...

I'm glad I met this blog on the Internet. Congratulations on the interesting posts. Wish you a wonderful evening! smiles

Meg said...

Just thought you'd like to know that is giving away one of these fryers on their site. Go to and there's a link on the right hand side to enter. The turkey's both look delicious!

The Duo Dishes said...

A Thanksgiving classic. The fried turkey gets way more attention than the roasted version. :) Would love to contact you about an LA food blogger Haiti relief project. We're trying to pull the food community out for this. If you're interested, send an email to!