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Pepper Bacon Fried Turkey

Hands-on time 25 mins
Total time 2 hrs, 15 mins
Yield Makes 8 to 10 servings
Use black pepper bacon or any bacon to flavor the peanut oil. For you serious spice hounds, try our Nashville Hot Turkey, below--our ode to the city's incendiary fried chicken.


  • Peanut oil (about 3 gal.)
  • 1 (12- to 14-lb.) whole fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1-lb.) package thick pepper bacon

How to Make It

  1. Pour oil into a deep propane turkey fryer 10 to 12 inches from top; heat to 350° over a medium-low flame according to manufacturer's instructions (about 45 minutes).

  2. Meanwhile, remove giblets and neck from turkey; pat turkey dry. Stir together salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. salt mixture inside cavity; rub into cavity. Sprinkle outside of turkey with remaining salt mixture; rub into skin. Let turkey stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

  3. Using long-handled tongs, carefully lower bacon, 1 slice at a time, into hot oil. Fry 1 to 2 minutes or until bacon is brown and crisp. Drain bacon on a paper towel-lined baking sheet; reserve bacon for another use.

  4. Place turkey on fryer rod. Carefully lower turkey into hot oil with rod attachment. Fry 35 to 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of turkey thigh registers 165° (about 3 minutes per pound plus an additional 5 minutes). Keep oil temperature between 325° and 345°. Remove turkey from oil; drain and let stand 30 minutes before carving.

  5. Note: We tested with LouAna Peanut Oil.

  6. Nashville Hot Turkey: Prepare recipe as directed, reserving 1 cup frying oil from fryer. Stir together 1/4 cup ground red pepper, 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar, 1 tsp. paprika, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder in a medium saucepan. Carefully whisk in reserved 1 cup frying oil, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Brush mixture over turkey, and serve immediately. Hands-on 25 min.; Total 2 hours, 20 min.