Published October 24, 2013 - Last Updated January 22, 2021
Most American families wouldn’t dream of celebrating Thanksgiving without a turkey. We usually roast or smoke ours, but with this year’s “Thanksgivukah” celebration– the rare convergence of the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holidays– deep frying seemed a more fitting way to go. Many traditional Hanukkah foods are fried to symbolize the miracle of the oil in the Holy Temple, so deep frying the turkey seems like a no-brainer. In addition to the obvious symbolism, a turkey can be fried in less than an hour (really!), giving you more time to spend with your guests. But frying wasn’t enough for me. I find turkey meat pretty boring, even when it’s deep fried. I wanted more flavor out of this holiday centerpiece. Enter sriracha to save the day!
This recipe was well tested. I mean, REALLY well tested. We went through 6 turkeys till I got one that I was fully satisfied with. My family ate a lot of turkey this month. I wanted to infuse the turkey with sriracha flavor, but not overwhelm it. It took a few tries to get the right ratio of spice, salt and sweetness in the injectable sriracha marinade. And then, of course, I had to master the art of frying turkey to a perfect doneness. The oil has to be at just the right temperature. The turkey can’t be too big. You need to keep close tabs on the oil heat throughout the process. If you take the turkey out too soon, it won’t come to food safe temperature. If you take it out too late, you’ll suffer from breast meat that is too dry. Lots to think about! The good news is, I’ve made all the mistakes in advance so you can avoid them yourself. I’ve created a detailed step-by-step tutorial here, with photos to illustrate. Follow the steps carefully, and you should end up with a turkey that wows your guests… crispy skin, tender moist meat, and amazing flavor (especially if you use the sriracha marinade!).
One of the major complaints people have when they fry turkey is that you don’t get any drippings to make gravy. No worries! I’ve got you covered with gravy that can be made a day ahead (thanks for the tip Noble Pig!). I used turkey parts to create a dark, rich stock as a base. Then, of course, I added sriracha. You can make it without sriracha if you want to… but why wouldn’t you? The gravy turned out so delicious, I ate it with a spoon. A lot of it. I’m need some time on the treadmill, STAT.
This is, no joke, the best tasting turkey I’ve ever made. Sriracha is spicy, but I’ve kept the infusion flavor fairly mellow, in case any of your guests are spice-sensitive. The gravy has a great kick to it, but you can of course adjust the amount of spice by cutting or increasing the added sriracha. I had friends over (with varying levels of spice sensitivity) when I tested the final product. They couldn’t get enough of it– and that gravy, oh my!
Just look at the marbling of sriracha marinade inside that moist breast meat. I’m thinking this might make the best turkey sandwiches in the history of leftovers. Holy moly.
P.S. This post is dedicated to The Oatmeal, in honor of our mutual love of sriracha.
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Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...