Friday, November 26, 2010

Smoking and Frying

Turkeys, that is.

I grew up just outside of New York City, so I remember well what late November can be like in that part of the country (and in many other parts, for that matter.)  Cold.  Foliage is well past, so everything is kind of gray.  Maybe a cold sheet of rain falling, or a slushy wet snow (not the pretty, fluffy kind).

But it's different here in Florida.  In nearly 25 years I don't recall it ever raining on Thanksgiving day.  Sometimes it's a little cool.  But yesterday was absolutely spectacular--sunny skies and temps around 80 degrees.  Definitely what I call "Bragging Weather".  So dinner was of course outside on the patio.  This picture was taken in the early afternoon, but we ate later, around 6 p.m.

So what did we do all day?  Smoked and fried, of course!  We have a long tradition of deep frying turkeys for Thanksgiving.
You can see that it is a well-loved pot.  That's a thermometer sticking out of the top, and the propane line coming out of the bottom (it's attached to a propane tank out of the picture).  You heat peanut oil to 350 degrees, then put the turkey in a metal basket and slowly lower it into the oil.  Cooking time:  3 1/2 minutes per pound.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The fryer will hold up to a 15 pound bird.

The best part: at least at our house, this has always been a testosterone-driven event.   No girls allowed.

People come over throughout the day to cook their turkeys to take home for their own meals.  So my husband heats up the oil early.  He sends out emails the day before assigning people their cooking times.

My father was first at about 11 a.m.   He came back later to eat dinner with us (he lives nearby) but he likes to have his own turkey for later.

As you can see, it is the perfect Male Bonding scene. Adult beverages would not seem out of place here.  But that's boiling oil, people.  So they will have to wait until later.

 Master Chef removes the cooked turkey using the big metal hook.

He lets it drain for a minute or two, then dumps it out of the basket onto a waiting platter.

Best turkey ever.

We also tried, for the first time, a smoked turkey.  Also excellent.  Both of these cooking methods insure a moist bird, both at the main meal and as leftovers.   Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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