General Tso's Fried Turkey

It's not just the wow factor that makes fried turkeys great -- they stay moist and tender with no danger of drying out (sorry, roasted turkeys). Plus deep frying cooks a turkey in half the time. Amp up the bird with this unexpected, totally addictive sweet and spicy glaze.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 14 hr (includes brining time)
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Ingredients

One 12- to 14-pound turkey, neck, giblets and tail removed

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying

8 cloves garlic, finely grated

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup soy

1/4 cup mirin

2 tablespoons hoisin

2 tablespoons sambal

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar 

Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying

Steamed rice and steamed broccoli, for serving

Directions

Special equipment:
a turkey fryer
  1. Look at the label on the turkey and write down the exact weight. Place the turkey on a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt all over the turkey, inside and out, nudging some into areas where the skin naturally separates from the bird, such as around the neck, top of the breast and between the legs and breast. Chill, uncovered, at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
  2. Pat the turkey very dry with paper towels, making sure there is no moisture anywhere, especially in the cavity. (Any wetness may cause dangerous splattering.)
  3. Place the turkey breast-side up in the basket of a turkey fryer or on the fry stand, depending on the type of deep fryer you have; follow the manufacturer's instructions. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 3. 
  4. Fill a turkey fryer with oil according to the manufacturer's instructions, following the specifications for the weight of your turkey (see Cook's Note). Heat to 375 degrees F (this could take 30 to 60 minutes depending on your fryer). Set a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. 
  5. Lowering the turkey requires upper body strength so prepare yourself. Most fryers come with a hook to lower and raise the basket or fry stand in and out of the oil. Make sure to use the hook. Lift the basket over the fryer and carefully and slowly lower the turkey into the oil, inch by inch, until about half way, and then pause to allow the cavity to fill with oil. The oil will be bubbling vigorously and that?s ok. (If it starts to splatter violently, that could mean there is water on the turkey or that the turkey is still partially frozen. If that happens, remove the turkey from the oil and check to ensure the turkey is free of moisture and not still frozen.) Once the cavity is full of oil, continue lowering the turkey until it is completely submerged. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding cooking covered or uncovered, adjusting the heat. Continue cooking until the turkey is golden brown, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per pound, 40 to 50 minutes. 
  6. Carefully remove the turkey from the oil and transfer to the prepared rack to drain and cool, about 30 minutes. 
  7. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the honey, soy, mirin, hoisin, sambal and rice vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  8. Remove the turkey from the basket or fry stand and liberally brush with the glaze, making sure to get into every nook and cranny. Let sit 15 minutes. Repeat basting and sitting two more times. Reserve remaining sauce for serving.
  9. Serve with steamed rice and broccoli.

Cook’s Note

If you are using an outdoor (not countertop) fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions to determine the amount of oil required for your turkey. Most suggest putting the turkey in the fry pot and filling it to cover by about a half inch. Make sure the pot is still at least 4 inches higher than the water line; having too much oil in the pot can cause it to overflow and cause a fire.

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