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Let the Debate Begin: Turkeys, Better Fried or Oven Roasted?


In the end, one can only hope Thanksgiving birds turn out crisp and golden brown on the outside while remaining juicy and flavorful on the inside. But how to achieve this result is a strongly debated topic.

What's the better cooking method for the estimated 46 million birds that will be consumed two weeks from now: fried or oven roasted?

When it comes to time spent cooking, it's no contest. Fried turkeys take significantly less time to cook all the way through — try three to four minutes per pound — compared to slow roasting, which takes up to 20 minutes per pound.

Fryers will miss out on the smell of turkey wafting through the house as it cooks though because most deep frying operations take place outside. What's more, Norma Farrell with the National Turkey Federation told TheBlaze you have to take extra steps if you want turkey gravy, making the gravy out of drippings from cut wing tips or other turkey pieces instead.

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

"The deep frying, which started in the South has been continuing north and west and, I suppose even east, for a couple of decades actually," Farrell said, adding that it often becomes a community affair with neighbors and other family members gathering to fry their birds together. "It’s the party before the Thanksgiving party."

Compared to roasting a bird, which can use something as simple as a disposable aluminum pan and the usual dressings, frying one requires different equipment and preparation. The federation recommends those without indoor friers, use a 30 to 40-quart pot with several gallons of boiling oil outdoors. The turkey must be dried off and carefully lowered into the pot to avoid any oil explosions.

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

Farrell also warned fryers against using turkeys that are larger than 12 pounds as well because of the boiling oil the bird will displace and the lack of control a person could have when lowering a heavier turkey.

In the end — time, safety and smells aside — it's all about the flavor.

Weigh in on this national debate about how you'll be cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in a couple of weeks:

Front page image via Shutterstock. This story has been updated to include more information.

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