John Brennan, our favorite Louisiana cook!
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).
Cajun Fried Turkey - How To Deep-Fry Turkey:
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
Heavy-duty heat-resistant oven mitts
Chef or marinade injector
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:
South Central (Cajun, Creole)
Yields: 1 Cajun Fried Turkey
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
Juice of 1 lemon
Red pepper to taste
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
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.
A 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.
Cajun Chow Chow Recipe - Sweet Onion and Red Pepper Relish:
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
- 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