Perfect Cajun Fried Turkey Recipe
How To Deep-Fry Turkey

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Cajun Fried Turkey

John Brennan
John Brennan, our favorite Louisiana cook!

Cutting Cajun Fried Turkey

This recipe was adapted from the cookbook Roger's Cajun Cookbook by Vernon Roger, published 1987.

These wonderful Cajun Fried Turkeys and Chow Chow were cooked for our annual Grape Harvest Festival by our friend John Brennan of Portland, Oregon. John and his wife, Kris, used to live in Louisiana and developed a love of eating and cooking Cajun food. This is the best way of cooking a turkey I've ever tasted. The turkey is anything but greasy as the deep-frying process seals the outside and the turkey remains incredibly juicy, while the skin gets wonderfully crispy. These fried turkeys were a big hit at our festival!

Check out John's famous Louisiana Crawfish Boil (Crawfish Boil Recipe - How to Cook Crawfish - How To Eat Crawfish).


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Cajun Fried Turkey - How To Deep-Fry Turkey:

turkey fryers


Equipment Needed:

One large Stainless-Steel Boiling pot (40 to 60 gallon) with basket insert, and lid (you can use your Deep-Fat Turkey Fryer) with basket, burner, and propane gas tank


Instant-read meat thermometer

Fire extinguisher

Heavy-duty heat-resistant oven mitts

Chef or marinade injector

Aluminum foil

To purchase the equipment needed to deep-fry a turkey, check out What's Cooking America's online store: Deep-Frying Turkey Tools and Equipment

Cajun Fried Turkey Recipe:

Recipe Type: Poultry, Turkey, Chicken, Deep Frying
Cuisine: South Central (Cajun, Creole)
Yields: 1 Cajun Fried Turkey
Prep time: 1 hr
Turkey fry time: 48 min


2 pints Chow Chow (see recipe below)
11 to 12 pound turkey, room temperature
1/2 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cups white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
Red pepper to taste
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Garlic powder
5 gallons peanut oil (approximate)*

* According to the Texas Peanut Producers, peanut oil may be used three or four times to fry turkeys before signs of deterioration begin. Such indications include foaming, darkening or smoking excessively, indicating the oil must be discarded. Other signs of deteriorated oil include a rancid smell and/or failure to bubble when food is added.


Prepare Chow-Chow recipe below. To use the prepared Chow Chow for injection, place about 5 tablespoons prepared Chow Chow in a blender or food processor and pulverize thoroughly. Add vinegar, white wine, lemon juice, red pepper, black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Blend again for 30 seconds.

Place the mixture in a large chef's syringe (available online and from cooking and restaurant supply stores) and inject entire amount into turkey, being sure to include breast, legs, back, and inside of turkey cavity. Place turkey in refrigerator for 3 days to marinate before deep frying.

A word of caution before continuing - always do the deep frying outdoors only.

If your large pot does not have oil-level indicator lines, use this method to determine the correct amount of oil need:

Place the turkey in the fryer basket and place in the pot.

Add peanut oil until it reaches approximately 1-inch above the turkey.

Remove the turkey from the pot and cover on a platter; set aside.

Preheat the peanut oil in your outdoor deep fryer to 350 to 365 degrees F. (It usually takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to preheat the peanut oil). Use a deep-fat frying thermometer clipped onto the side of the pot.
Be careful not to exceed this temperature, as the oil can begin to smoke and catch fire.

Make sure your turkey is completely dry before using - remember hot oil and water don't mix.

Rub the outside of the turkey vigorously with a mixture of additional garlic powder, salt, and red pepper.

When oil is hot, carefully and slowly submerge the prepared turkey into the hot oil. Leave turkey submerged in the hot oil for 4 minutes per pound (turkey weighing under 12 pounds should cook only 3 minutes per pound). Never completely cover the deep-fryer pot when frying with oil.

Remove cooked turkey from the oil carefully and check internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The temperature should reach 170 degrees F. in the breast. When the Turkey has reached the desired temperature, turn the burner OFF and use heat-resistant oven mitts to remove it from the pot. Immediately wrap the turkey with aluminum foil. Let the turkey rest approximately 30 minutes before carving.


adding oil to turkey fryer

seasoned uncooked turkey

putting turkey in fryer

place turkey in hot oil

Cajun Chow Chow Recipe - Sweet Onion and Red Pepper Relish:

Chow ChowA spicy relish of pickled chopped vegetables. which contains no ‘filler’ items, such as cabbage or corn. There are probably as many varieties of Chow Chow as there are Southern cooks. Chow Chow can also be used with all foods to spice up the flavor in the same way you would use a pepper hot sauce. Though many chowchow recipes call for canning and processing in jars, this one does not. The quantity here is small enough to be used within a few weeks' time. This is John Brennan's favorite recipe. John likes to cook the Chow Chow outside on his gas burner.


2 sweet onions, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
5 fresh hot chile peppers (preferably cayenne)
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar


Mix and grind together the onions, celery, chile peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat until mixture just comes to a boil. Then turn heat down to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool.

Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

If not using immediately, refrigerator until ready to use. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 to 4 weeks in a glass or plastic bowl (they won't react with the vinegar).


Turkey Fryers Safety Tips from Underwriters Laboratories, Inc:

  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.
  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.
  • Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot, hours after use.



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