5 Reasons You Should Deep Fry Your Turkey This Holiday

Ask Chef Jamie Gwen:

  • It takes roughly an hour to cook so you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to start cooking.
  • It doesn’t require use of your oven… so you’ll have room for potatoes and green beans and stuffing.
  • Meat so juicy – you’ll hardly need gravy (Theoretically. Don’t worry – we’re still serving gravy!).
  • You’ll get absolutely gorgeously browned bird as evidenced by the photo at right. 
  • Crispiest. Skin. EVER!


An overnight soak in a brine, or salted water solution, gives your turkey a chance to absorb both moisture and seasoning. To brine your turkey, find a container large enough to submerge the turkey in the brine, such as a large stock pot or bucket and line it with a large heavy plastic bag (an unused 30-gallon trash bag works great!). 


 Recipe by Smart & Final’s Chef Jamie Gwen

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Brining Time: Overnight

Cook Time: 3 1/2 minutes per pound of Turkey

You’ll Need:


  1. Make the brine using 1 cup Kosher salt to 1 gallon of cold water. Season the brine with the honey, sage, garlic and cracked black pepper. Allow the turkey to rest in the brine, in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours before frying.
  2. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry. (Water and oil do not mix, so be sure to dry the inside and outside of the turkey very well.) Rub the outside and the inside cavity of the bird with the spice rub. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird.
  3. Heat the oil to 400°F. Place a roasting rack on a baking sheet and set it next to the fryer to drain the turkey when it is done cooking. Attach the turkey to the turkey lifter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil. Immediately check the oil temperature and adjust the flame so that the temperature does not dip below 340°F. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350°F, and cook the turkey for approximately 3 1/2 minutes per pound. The turkey is done when it floats to the surface and has a dark golden brown skin. Carefully remove the turkey from the oil and hold it over the pot to allow any excess oil to drain back into the pot, then lay the bird on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. To insure doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The internal temperature should be 180°F. Allow the turkey to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For more recipes by Chef Jamie Gwen, visit her website

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