How to Choose a Turkey Frying Basket (And Other Tips)

The 10 most popular foods at any County Fair are deep-fried. The reason is simple. They’re DELICIOUS.

Have you ever suffered through tasteless, dry, sawdust turkey??Why torture yourself? Get out?a turkey frying basket and prepare the most succulent and decadent holiday bird possible.

Unfortunately, your Kitchen Deep Fryer?isn’t going to be the right tool for the job.?Don’t own a turkey frying rig? Let me take you through the process of finding the perfect one for your family.

Read on to learn more.

Why Deep-Fry Your Bird?

People fry all sorts of things. Chips, chicken, hot dogs on a stick, even ice cream, and?Snickers bars. Most of these things are easily replicated in your own kitchen. However, if you want to use the magic of deep-frying on a whole tom turkey you need some special preparation.

Deep-frying exposes the surfaces (inside and outside) to instant, even, dry heat. This vaporizes the moisture within the item and cooks the food quickly and evenly. as long as there is enough hot oil to circulate and carry the moisture away, the food does not get greasy or soggy.

Food added to hot oil develops a complicated crust?as its surface dehydrates. Through?the Maillard reaction sugars and proteins break down to create the desired complex flavor and?appealing color.

The result is a beautiful, golden-brown exterior with crisp skin and juicy meat. No soggy bits from the bottom of the pan, no crazy flip maneuvers mid-roast. As a bonus, deep-frying a turkey takes anywhere from a third to half the cooking time.

This gives you more room in the oven for your dressing, green bean casserole, yams, and pies. I can tell you I’m always excited to have extra pie.

How to Choose the?Best?Turkey Frying Basket

If you are cooking a large bird, you need a turkey frying basket with sufficient capacity and strength to lower the whole carcass into oil and lift it back out without splashing. You will also need a heavy-duty, high power burner and sufficient open space to set up your frying rig.

For a large deep fryer, you need fast temperature recovery. While there are electric burners available, the power?needed to heat the oil when you plunge a whole bird in eliminates most household plugs. A freestanding propane ring burner with a steady base is your best bet.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Turkey?Size
  • Burner BTU
  • Material
  • Oil Capacity

A typical family holiday dinner means a 14-15 lbs. turkey. Of course, your family may choose a dainty 7 lbs young hen or a massive 28 lbs. tom.? Your deep fat fryer needs a capacity to hold the turkey, the turkey frying basket and enough hot oil to circulate. A 10 gallon or larger pot is ideal.

Choose a thick aluminum or stainless steel pot with a depth and diameter to allow the bird to be completely submerged. Choose a burner with safety and control in mind. A simple ring or star burner, such as the one for your stir frys?is fine.?Look for?a very stable platform and some sort of stabilization on the burner to prevent tipping.

You need an uncovered flat, dry surface (concrete slab is ideal) to safely set up your fryer. Do not try to fry a turkey indoors.

Compare the Options

You can build your own rig for turkey frying, but if you are new to the concept, it’s easiest to get a kit with tried and true elements. To choose the right kit for your family, think logically.

For a 14-15 lbs. bird, you will need a deep pot filled with 4-5 gallons of hot oil. The pot needs to be deep enough that when the bird is lowered in, there is no splashing or overflowing onto the burner below.? Some kits have restaurant-style aluminum stock pots with spigots near the bottom to allow draining of the oil.

For most families, a?7.5 to 10-gallon stockpot is the right size. From there, consider the?burner and fuel-type. For the fastest temperature recovery, a high-powered ring or star burner in direct contact with the pot works best.

Rolled aluminum is?the time-honored inexpensive material for stockpots.?Alternatives like stainless steel?and?other materials?have advantages. Copper is expensive, for example, but offers superior heat transfer.

Finally, consider the method to raise and lower the food into the hot oil. Some methods use a rack or basket, while others truss the turkey and use a tripod and winch method.

Here are some great examples of turkey frying rigs.

1. Best for Beginners

The King Kooker 1265BF3 Portable Propane Outdoor Deep Frying/Boiling Package with 2 Aluminum Pots is a good starter set.??This affordable bundle includes everything you need for your first turkey fry.??It includes?two cooking pots and handy accessories for safety and versatility.

The high-pressure?33,000 BTU burner of welded cast iron is?a major draw. It promises enough power to recover oil temperature when you plunge the bird into the bath.

You will like:

  • Welded Heavy Duty Propane Gas Cooker
  • 33,000 BTU Cast Burner
  • 29-Qt Large Aluminum Pot and Lid
  • Large Aluminum Cooking Basket
  • 11-Qt? Small Aluminum Fry Pan
  • Small Aluminum Cooking Basket
  • Turkey Rack and Hook
  • Meat Thermometer

Overall, it?s a practical choice for efficient and effective deep-frying. Add a fire extinguisher, gloves and heat-proof apron for safety.

2. Best For People Who Really Don’t Want to Fry

My family wants the results of a deep-fried turkey but doesn’t want the fat and calories.? Luckily there’s an option for people like them. The all-electric?Masterbuilt MB23010809 Oil-Free Roaster Electric Fryer is perfect to set up outside.

It’s a combination convection oven/air fryer with the capacity for an 18lb turkey. It uses infrared heat to cook without gallons of oil. Vertical roast/air fry ensures that you have tasty, moist meat and fast cooking.

Highlights:

  • Outdoor or Indoor Use
  • Wood Chip Smoker Included
  • 18-lb Cooking Capacity
  • Double-Wall Construction
  • Drip Tray

Although this really isn’t a fryer, the product frees up your oven and delivers moist, well-cooked turkey just like a fryer.

3. Best for Big Birds

When you are wrestling a really large bird, you don’t have time for flimsy pots or burners.? When I have grandparents, cousins, spouses, and kids at the table, I have to choose the?Bayou Classic?200-440 44-Qt Turkey Fryer Kit

Unlike other deep-fry pots, this one is made of?commercial-grade stainless steel. It?s a thicker and higher quality material than others on the market. The other?accessories are made of stainless steel or high quality cast aluminum.

Lastly,?it comes with an automatic shut-off timer that closes?the gas line?after 15 minutes unless it is reset. This ensures that you don?t leave the pot unattended, minimizing the risks of accidents.

Highlights:

  • 44-Qt Stainless Steel Cooking Pot
  • Commercial-Grade
  • Stainless Steel Cooking Basket
  • 12? Stainless Steel Meat Thermometer
  • Stainless Steel Poultry Rack
  • Grab Hook
  • Vented Lid
  • Seasoning Injector
  • 65,000 BTU burner

Even the heatproof glove is part of this kit. The only items I would add are something to block the wind and a remote thermometer to monitor the bird.

4. Best Turkey Fryer Basket for a DIY Kit

One of the most popular outdoor cooking brands?gives us?the?CONCORD 36 QT Stainless Steel Stock Pot with Basket. This sturdy commercial grade stainless steel pot and basket are ready for boiling or frying.

Highlights:

  • 36 Quart Stock Pot with Basket
  • Pot 13″ Wide x 16″ Height
  • Basket 11.5″ Wide x 13.5″ Height
  • Full Stainless Steel
  • Fully Polished

The only way to fully customize your rig is to pick and choose your equipment individually. Add-in a ChefOne burner, fire extinguisher, etc.

5.?Best Option for Inexpensive?Cooking

If you?re not planning on deep frying turkey often, the Chard TFP30A Aluminum Turkey Fryer Pack, 30 Quart is a good option. This complete kit comes with aluminum rather than stainless steel accessories.

This product comes with a sturdy burner. It can reach up to 50,000 BTUs so you can count on it to help you steam and boil food with relative ease. Use the burner for your other outdoor cooking needs, like a wok or steam distiller.

Highlights:

  • 30 Quart Aluminum Stock Pot
  • 17 Inch Steel Tripod Stand
  • 50,000 BTU Cast-Iron Gas Burner
  • Adjustable Regulator with Safety Timer and Hose
  • Poultry Rack, Safety Hanger, and 12 Inch Thermometer

All of these items are meant for home use and not for commercial or frequent wear and tear.

Deep-Fried Turkey for the Holidays

Choose the best turkey frying basket, pot and burner combo for your family. In my opinion, the? Bayou Classic?200-440 44-Qt Turkey Fryer Kit is the right choice.? It has the highest power burner and heavy-duty construction for a long life. Its capacity can’t be beat.

Deep frying your bird guarantees tasty and?succulent meat, great appearance and fast cooking. However, the process involves open flames and cooking outdoors due to the size of a whole turkey.

You can get similar results from an air fryer/convection roaster combo, but most deep fry loyalists insist on a propane burner, deep stockpot and a fry basket or poultry stand. Choose heavy-duty items for longest use and greatest safety.

Looking for more kitchen tools to last a lifetime? Check out our Best Ceramic Knife Sets or drop a note to ask about our other items.

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