The element of danger always adds to the excitement of any cooking project.
Every year, usually around Thanksgiving time, one of your local television stations will trot out this video of some idiot attempting to burn his house down with a turkey fryer.
It’s never the same geniuses at work here, but, the scene is similar in every one. It generally involves people standing on a wooden porch, with a turkey fryer that is filled to the very brim with boiling peanut oil. A turkey (probably frozen), is then plunged into the simmering fat sending it over the top of the pot and onto the propane fed flames below. The next thing you know the porch is engulfed in a fireball and your family is watching the football game from the ER waiting room instead of the couch.
Just for the record, my Dad has seen this video too.
My first attempt at deep frying a turkey came about ten years ago. It was Christmas Day and I had just gotten a new toy to play with. My folks were coming for dinner, so, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take my brand new fryer for a spin.
Deep fried turkeys are easy enough to make. I injected mine with a little marinade, seasoned it inside and out with some salt and pepper and was ready to cook. The one page instruction sheet that came with the fryer had the recipe. Nothing fancy here.
When it came time to heat the oil, I could tell that my Dad was a little nervous. He asked me if I had seen “the video”. I asked him if this was the video of the previously mentioned rocket scientists attempting to reduce their home to ashes. He said it was. I was tempted to make a crack about my IQ being somewhat above room temperature, but, I thought better of it. Instead, I would prove it.
With my Dad (and Son) in tow, we went out to light the burner. I had placed the fryer out in our stone driveway, far enough from the house to avert any calamity that he was sure awaited us. It didn’t seem to help.
I knew I needed something to ease my Dad’s mind. I had a plan.
I pulled a chair from my garage, placed it a full twenty feet from the pre-heating oil pot and asked him to sit there. In his hand I placed an appliance that I knew he could operate. A fire extinguisher. Shiny, red and recently charged.
There my Father sat for the next hour and a half. At the ready. Extinguisher perfectly aimed just in case flames came shooting from our soon to be holiday dinner. He was ready if called upon. As luck would have it, there was no need to pull the pin. Disaster was averted, dinner was served.
Chef Reece Williams is out with a brand new cookbook that is sure to delight anyone who has a turkey fryer tucked away in their garage. The Ultimate Turkey Fryer Cookbook is loaded with 150 creative and mouthwatering ways for you to use that cooker. And, ways that I had never thought of.
It contains some great general tips on frying all kinds of things. A list of the standard equipment you’ll need is also pretty handy. There are detailed instructions on the proper way to injection marinate a variety of things.
Here are some of my favorites from Reece’s book.
- Fried Dill Pickles
- Cajun Fried Turkey
- Whole Fried Pork Tenderloin
- Crusted Veal Cordon Bleu
- Chicken Fried Venison Cutlets
- Fried Jambalaya Cakes
- Fried Ice Cream
This is my only complaint. Chef Williams has his own line of marinades. And, it seems that this book was published in part to help sell those products. I’m sure his marinades are great and I have no problem with him trying to peddle them. It seems like a good vehicle for that.
But, a large percentage of the recipes in the book call for using one of Chef Williams products. The book does not include recipes for them and there are no recommendations for substitutions. This leaves the cook in a bind. It would have been nice to suggest some alternate seasonings and marinade options. Something like, “if you don’t have Chef Williams Super Duper Marinade, try a little…” At least you would be able to make the dish without having to go online for supplies.
That being said, this is still a nice addition to your cookbook collection. It’s loaded with unique and interesting recipes that are easy to execute and contain a minimum of ingredients. It’s a huge step up from the one sheet recipe “book” that comes with most fryers. There’s some great food photography too.
The Bottom Line: If you’re like me, you’ll break out the The Ultimate Turkey Fryer Cookbook and look for reasons to use the turkey fryer that just sitting around doing nothing. Some creative recipes and super helpful frying information make it a nice addition to your collection.
Author: Reece Williams
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing