Perfect Cajun Fried Turkey Recipe

 How To Deep-Fry Turkey – Cajun Fried Turkey

John BrennanCajun Fried Turkey 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.

Cajun Fried Turkey is the best way of cooking a turkey I have ever tasted.  The Cajun Fried 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 Cajun 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

Cajun Fried Turkey - How To Deep-Fry Turkey:
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
48 mins
Total Time
1 hr 48 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: Cajun Fried Turkey Recipe, How To Deep Fry Turkey
Servings: 1 Cajun Fried Turkey
Cajun Fried Turkey:
  • 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)*
Equipment Needed:
    • - One large Stainless-Steel Boiling pot 40 to 60 quart with basket insert, and lid (you can use your Deep-Fat Turkey Fryer) with basket, burner, and propane gas tank
    • - Turkey-lifter
    • - Instant-read meat thermometer
    • - Fire extinguisher
    • - Heavy-duty heat-resistant oven mitts
    • - Chef or marinade injector
    • - Aluminum foil

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

  8. Pouring Oil

  9. 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.

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

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

  12. seasoned uncooked turkey
    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.

  13. putting turkey in fryer

  14. 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.

  15. turkey fryer


  17. Cajun Fried Turkey


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

  • Jar of 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 chow chow 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). 

  • Recipe Notes

    * 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.

    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 do not 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.

    Different Types of Cooking Styles:

    Barbecued Turkey
    Outdoor barbecuing or grilling is a very easy and efficient way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey.  No mess in your oven or the kitchen. Your turkey will be crisp outside and juicy inside.

    Outdoor Turkey Pit Cooking Recipe – Turkey In the Hole Recipe
    This style of pit cooking is also know as “Bean Hold Cooking.”  If you have the time and place to cook your holiday turkey in an outdoor pit, wouldn’t this make a great Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey dinner.

    Oven Roasted Turkey
    It is hard to beat the classic roast turkey with the wonderful aromas that waft from the oven kicking off the anticipation for the holiday meal.  Roasting a large turkey is one of easiest ways to accommodate a large crowd of family and friends.

    Smoked Turkey
    Smoking a turkey is no different from barbecuing in your back yard.  You follow all these rules without even noticing them in most cases so go ahead, give it a try, you will not be dissatisfied when you try a smoked turkey.

    What the heck is that? Well it is a de-boned turkey (except for wing bones and drumsticks), a fully hand deboned duck, and a fully hand deboned chicken, all rolled into one.

    Tofurky/Tofurkey Recipe with Vegan Gravy
    I am not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I have several family members who are.  For them and my many readers who are also vegetarians or vegans,  I created this page on how to cook Tofurky.

    Cajun Fried TurkeyTurkey Dinner Information:

    Turkey Basics
    How to purchase, stuff, and roast a turkey – Choosing a fresh or frozen turkey – How to thaw a frozen turkey – How to prepare turkey for stuffing.

    Perfect Turkey Gravy
    Homemade gravy, made using the turkey giblet stock, pan drippings, and meat juices from the roast turkey, is an essential part of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

    Guidelines for Brining Poultry
    This is the secret that chefs never tell you about. It’s very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware.  Brining is like a marinade, as it keeps food moist and tender.

    Let’s Make Turkey Stock
    Don’t throw out those leftover turkey bones!  My favorite thing to do the morning after Thanksgiving is to make homemade turkey stock from the turkey carcass.  It is so easy to do and so delicious!

    Linda’s Favorite Turkey Stuffing
    Whether you call it “stuffing” or “dressing,” what’s not to love about turkey stuffing?  Everyone knows that stuffing is the best part of a turkey dinner!

    Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
    Save your valuable kitchen time on Thanksgiving day by using this easy-to-make mashed potato dish for your next Thanksgiving dinner.  This is the recipe I use every year for Thanksgiving Dinner.

    Using a Cooking or Meat Thermometer
    Have you ever cut into a turkey to see if it has finished cooking?  You DEFINITELY need to use a cooking thermometer!   A cooking thermometer or meat thermometer should not be a “sometime thing.”   Use it every time you prepare foods like poultry, roasts, hams, casseroles, meat loaves and egg dishes.

    Internal Temperature Cooking Charts
    Cooking thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking, as they measure the internal temperatures of your cooked meat, poultry, seafood, baked goods, and/or casseroles, to assure that a safe temperature has been reached, harmful bacteria have been destroyed, and your food is cooked perfectly.   Always follow internal cooking temperatures to be safe!

    Advice on Handling Leftovers Safely
    Leftover” foods are cooked foods that you or your family do not eat within 2 hours after they are cooked.  The chance of food poisoning increases the longer you store a food after it is cooked. Improper handling or storing cooked food is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the home.

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


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