Deep-fried turkey can be found all over the South, and now, all over the country.

Recipe: Two-Alarm Deep-Fried Turkey

While a bit of a messy and tedious process, deep-frying your own turkey will leave you with a sense of immense culinary accomplishment. Our recipe for Two-Alarm Deep-Fried Turkey is a welcomed favorite at any holiday gathering or family meal.

Photo: Oxmoor House

The tradition originated in Louisiana, where cooks would use portable butane and propane tanks to fuel a burner on which they could place a large pot to boil crawfish. Soon, they began using the same setup to heat oil in which to fry their turkeys, and presumably other foods as well.

To make a Cajun fried turkey, you’ll need to emulate the flavors of the region. It is important to note that Cajun and Creole are different cuisines. Simply put, Cajun is country cooking, and Creole is city cooking. There are slight flavor differences, but most of the spices used are the same.

Look at Southern Living’s Creole Deep-Fried Turkey recipe. Deep-frying a turkey is easy, if you have all the equipment, but it does require a watchful eye. The turkey will not take nearly as long as it would in the oven, and there is the small matter of a pot of boiling oil.

Check out this video.

To prepare the turkey, remove the giblets and the neck and gently separate the skin from the flesh. Spread seasoning underneath the skin. Use this recipe for Cajun seasoning to give your turkey that Cajun flavor. Creole seasoning can be purchased at your local grocery store, or you can make your own. Another similar seasoning can be seen in this recipe for Two-Alarm Deep-Fried Turkey. After seasoning, let the turkey sit and rest, and then lower it into the oil, occasionally checking its internal temperature for doneness. It should take 30-45 minutes.

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Also, look through the illustrated guide for how to deep-fry a turkey. You don’t want to ruin the centerpiece of the meal! To complement the classic Cajun flavor of the turkey, consider making other Cajun recipes as side dishes. Or make a mix of Creole and Cajun dishes, showcasing all of the flavors Louisiana has to offer.