Popeye’s Cajun Fried Turkey
11 pounds whole turkey, fresh or thawed, non-self basting
peanut oil, as needed for frying turkey
CAJUN TURKEY SEASONING MIX
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup garlic pepper
1/2 cup ground white pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 pound unsalted butter
3 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
For Seasoning Mix: Combine kosher salt, peppers and onion powder in one bowl. Cover and hold for service.
Important beginning note: To identify the correct amount of oil to use in the commercial fryer, place the turkey in the fryer before adding seasoning and add water until turkey is covered.
Measure the amount of water and use a corresponding amount of oil. Drain and dry the fryer thoroughly before placing the oil in the fryer.
Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity. Wash the turkey well with cold water. Drain and completely pat dry both the inside and outside of the turkey with paper towels.
Cut off the wing tips and tail so they do not get caught in the fryer basket. Place turkey in a large pan and rub the inside and outside of the turkey with 1/2 of the Cajun Turkey Seasoning Mix. Do not truss or tie legs together. Cover the pan and refrigerate turkey overnight.
For Marinade: Over very low heat, melt butter and stir in salt, black pepper, white pepper and cayenne pepper in a small saucepan. Stir until well blended. Allow mixture to cool to about 100 degrees F.
Spoon or pour into injector needle and inject the turkey, covering all the thick areas such as the breast and legs.
Add oil to the fryer with a basket or rack. Heat the oil on medium-high setting until it reaches 365 degrees F – about 20-40 minutes.
Place the turkey, neck down, in a basket or on a rack.
When the oil temperature registers 365 degrees F on the deep-fry thermometer, carefully lower the turkey into the oil. The oil level will rise from the frothing caused by the moisture from the turkey but will settle in about one minute.
Check the oil temperature immediately and increase the flame to maintain the oil at 365 degrees F.
Cook the whole turkey about 3-4 minutes per pound. Monitor and regulate the heat at all times.
When a food thermometer registers 170 degrees F in the turkey breast or 180 degrees F in the thigh, remove the turkey from the oil and let it drain for a few minutes. (Let the oil cool completely before storing or disposing it.)
Remove turkey from the rack and place on a serving platter. Immediately sprinkle turkey with the remaining Cajun Turkey Seasoning Mix. Allow the turkey to sit for 20 minutes before carving.
Recipe Source: Popeye’s Executive Chef Billy Jacob