Fall is a time of year that has always held a certain, almost intangible, fascination for me. I'm not sure if its the changing of the seasons, the rapid fire sequence of holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years), or the general vibe of those around me, but I love the Fall more than any other time of year.
Last Spring I was able to buy my first turkey frying rig for about half what one would normally pay and have been waiting to properly break it in. I fried a whole chicken a month ago as a test run with decent results. At the beginning of November I stocked up on peanut oil and was duly surprised as to how ubiquitous it's become lately. The two weeks prior to Thanksgiving had me reading everything I could get my hands on to make sure I was prepared for the task that lay ahead, and Tuesday night I found myself sequencing the entire meal in my head to make sure that I'd not left out anything important. Wednesday night I got all the hardware in one place, and Thursday morning I did a final check and lit the fire. I did happen to learn a few things along the way.
1) Make sure you have EVERYTHING you need, and it's best to either have someone out there with you to run for the occasional need that arises, or in lieu of that, a very patient wife will also do the trick. I lit the fire and put in the peanut oil. I did do a displacement test with the bird in water beforehand and got a good idea as to how much oil I would need (which is VERY important step). In went the oil and my thermometer. I watched as the temp crept up and learned lesson number 2:
2) Be cognizant of the weather. It was a cold day and there was a breeze blowing. In retrospect I should have setup near the garage (but not IN the garage) for more protection from the wind. The previous time I used this rig I had to turn down the flame to almost nothing to make sure I didn't smoke my oil. This time I ran it full out the entire time, and thankfully it stayed at 350 due to the wind.
Once the oil hit 350 the bird went in. Five minutes later I realized that I had not started the timer, so I did that and kept a close eye on the thermometer. It's amazing how the temperature dropped when I inserted the turkey, and I was also pretty stunned at how full the pot suddenly became. When the oil started to splash over I realized that I was in for some serious stains on my concrete so my patient wife brought me some cat litter (something I left off the checklist). The bubbling subsided and I was left to my own devices as the bird continued to cook.
My in-laws showed up soon there after and my wife was able to get these which include the finished product (and which I have captioned Two Turkeys).
Overall it was fun with the only burned flesh being on the bird itself, thankfully.