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Recipe

Louisiana-Style Deep-Fried Turkey

Yield: about 3 cups gravy

Servings: 8 to 10

Chef David Guas makes this turkey for his family every Thanksgiving. “A great reason to deep-fry your turkey is that it takes only 35 to 40 minutes to achieve a tender, juicy, crackling taste,” he says. Though the turkey’s the star, it wouldn’t be complete without the easy, tasty gravy from Guas’s grandmother.

Ingredients

For the brine

  • 5-1/2 oz. kosher salt (1 cup Diamond Crystal or 1/2 cup Morton)
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 12-oz. bottle hot sauce, preferably Crystal (about 11/2 cups)

For the gravy

  • 2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
  • 13 oz. assorted turkey parts, such as the neck, gizzard, and heart
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped (about 1-1/3 cups)
  • 2 medium ribs celery, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour; more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the turkey

  • 1 12-lb. turkey, neck, giblets, plastic ties, and temperature gauge removed
  • Peanut oil, for frying (about 3 gallons; more as needed)

Preparation

Make the brine

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the salt, 1 quart of the cider, and the hot sauce, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the salt dissolves, about 8 minutes. Pour into a zip-top brining bag or other large container, and add the remaining cider and 6-1/2 cups water.

Brine the turkey

  • Transfer the turkey to the bag with the brine, and refrigerate 8 to 10 hours or overnight, rotating the turkey in the bag occasionally to ensure that the entire bird comes in contact with the brine. (If you can’t find a brining bag or a pot large enough, you can brine a turkey in a cooler.)
  • Remove the turkey from the brine, and dry both the interior and exterior with paper towels. Prop the bird so that it is standing up on a large rimmed baking sheet to allow any remaining liquid from the cavity to drain. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before frying.

Make the stock for gravy

  • In a large pot, warm the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the turkey parts and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook, turning occasionally, until browned in places and beginning to soften, about 10 minutes.
  • Slowly add the stock while stirring and scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are very soft and the stock has slightly reduced, about 1 hour.
  • Remove and discard the turkey and vegetables from the pot. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large liquid-measuring cup. Use a fat separator to remove the fat from the top of the stock; reserve the fat and set the pot aside.

Fry the turkey

  • Tie the legs and tuck the wing tips behind the bird, and then put it into the fry basket. Measure the amount of oil needed by lowering the turkey into the fryer and filling with enough oil to cover (the turkey should be completely submerged in the oil), about 3 gallons. Remove the turkey from the oil, and put it on a large rimmed baking sheet. Heat the oil to 350°F.
  • Return the turkey to the fry basket, and then slowly lower it into the hot oil. Cook for about 40 minutes, or about 3 minutes per pound of turkey. Using a meat thermometer, check the turkey’s temperature in a place between a leg and the cavity. Once the internal temperature reaches 165°F, turn off the fryer, and slowly lift the turkey from the oil, making sure all of the oil drains out of the cavity. Allow the turkey to rest on a serving platter for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

Finish the gravy

  • Add about 1 Tbs. of the turkey fat to the stock pot over medium heat, and whisk in 3 Tbs. flour. Cook, stirring with a whisk, for 1 minute. Slowly add 5 cups of the stock, whisking continually.
  • Once the stock is added, simmer until the gravy thickens, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy

Tip

If the gravy doesn’t thicken enough, you can add flour 1 Tbs. at a time, but be sure to mix it with some of the gravy before adding it to the pan to prevent lumping. If the gravy thickens too much, whisk in some turkey or chicken stock.

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