While preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving fest where I’ll be serving delicious Deep Fried turkey, I became interested in the origin of the succulent treat.
What is a deep fried turkey you ask? Injected with marinade and cooked in 350 degree F peanut or other vegetable oil, deep-fried turkey is anything but greasy. The deep-frying process seals in the juices creating flavorful meat and tasty golden brown skin. Incredibly juicy on the interior and wonderfully crispy on the exterior, the explosion of flavor and contrasting textures has made it a favorite for barbecues, block parties, tailgating, holiday feasts and informal wedding receptions.
Best Propane deep fryers/gas fryers – It seems I first heard about deep frying turkey about 15 years ago, then suddenly everyone and their brother was doing it. So what sparked this sudden phenomenon?
Best Propane deep fryers/gas fryers – Roots in the Southern United States:
Deep frying turkey has its origins in the Southern United States, namely Louisiana. I have heard there are a few restaurants in Southern Louisiana that became popular by injecting whole birds with a Creole style marinade then dropping them in hot peanut oil. There had to be something bigger though to get the word out, Regional restaurants just do not have the reach to change a deep rooted tradition such as oven baked turkey. I thought maybe it was the new accessibility of large deep fryers such as the original Kamp Kookier marketed by Home Depot, or was it a favorite of celebrity chefs such as Emerald?
Best Propane deep fryers/gas fryers – Why is it called Cajun if it’s not?
I started doing a little research on the internet, and although I only spent a few hours, it seems no exact year, restaurant, or person is connected to this particular style of cooking turkey. There is evidence that fried turkeys were cooked outdoors for large popular events (family reunions, charity dinners, church suppers, etc.) in the early years of the twentieth century.
Commonly thought of as a Cajun tradition, I could find no direct ties to the Acadian-cajun culture. In fact I found food historians generally agree that fried turkeys trace their roots to Bayou (Louisiana/Texas) Creole cuisine. Recipes then migrated from Louisiana/Texas to Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia (peanut oil), and Washington D.C. before it forked northward toward Seattle and Vancouver.