Thanksgiving Traditons: Students carve up unique holiday customs

Do you love Thanksgiving but hate the cooking associated with the most delicious home-cooked foods you’ve waited all year to gorge on? There’s no question that slow roasting is hands-down the best way to cook a holiday bird, but it might also force you to get cookin’ the night before. A great alternative to a roast without sacrificing any of the mouth-watering flavors is to deep fry the thing. My family succumbed to the fad about four years ago and every subsequent Thanksgiving we build upon the successes of the last. It would be no overstatement of our love for fried turkey to say that we have accepted the trend as something more indelible: tradition.
Of course, there are many dangers to this endeavor. Many a naïve turkey connoisseur has found out the hard way that grease fires are dangerous and in some extreme cases, may even result in the loss of a home. It’s understandable that many will be turned off from utilizing this succulent method because of incidents reported in the past. One preventative measure is just to be smart and do your research before undertaking such a large responsibility as that of head chef on the holiest of holidays for food.
Turkey kits are relatively cheap, about $50, so there is no excuse not to get started right away. Fire her up to make sure the flame is a nice and consistent 350 degrees. Fill the vat about halfway with warm water prior to cooking and plunge the turkey in. Add more water if the bird is not completely submerged and then remove the turkey. Mark the level of the liquid as a benchmark to fill the vat with the oil later. Don’t be frugal when buying oil either; it’ll take about four gallons of oil to submerge a 12-pound bird. Cooking time is approximately three minutes per pound in addition to a standard five-minute base time.
It is important to make note of a few facts in order to maximize your frying experience and not wind up in the emergency room on Thanksgiving. If you are using a frozen turkey, thaw it completely before lowering it into the simmering oil. This is one of the most common causes of grease fires during the process.
My brother and I have also devised a unique device to help lower the turkey into the vat during this phase. You can construct a similar gadget at home — they’re often referred to as 2x4s. With a family member stabilizing each end and a turkey hanging in the balance, this will create distance between yourself and the sputtering fryer as you lower the turkey into the viscous boiling vat of oil. Within an hour of prepping the fryer, your bird is cooked and ready to be reduced to a carcass in little time.
If all goes relatively well, you will be able to enjoy your savory turkey with your family, experiencing minimal grease burns and with an unused fire extinguisher at your side.
-Benjamin Smith
Senior journalism major

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