(Family Features) - This holiday season, enjoy the fun and great taste of deep-fried turkey - with zero guilt. Deep-fry your turkey in heart-healthy canola oil.
Canola oil is low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats so it's a more healthful choice than any other vegetable oil. And canola oil's high smoke point makes it ideal for deep-frying.
So let's get started.
It's important to buy a turkey fryer with a sturdy base. Be sure to have a food thermometer ready to test the doneness of the meat, and you'll also want a pair of heavy-duty barbequing mitts on hand. It's also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Choose a fresh turkey or make sure it's completely thawed before deep-frying. Remove excess fat and any parts stored inside the bird. Thoroughly dry the turkey inside and out; do not stuff. Mix flavoring ingredients and inject into turkey.
Get your deep-fryer ready to go. Place it outdoors, out of the wind on a level dirt or grassy area away from buildings and decks. Avoid cement, as oil stains may be difficult to clean up. Put a drip pan under the fryer.
Determine how much canola oil you'll need by placing turkey, breast down, on the frying stand or in the basket. Lower it into the empty pot and add water to cover 2 inches above turkey. Remove the bird and note the water level, then drain water and thoroughly dry the pot.
Fill pot with canola oil just to the required level. Heat oil to 375°F. This usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Monitor oil temperature to ensure it does not overheat.When oil is ready, lower prepared turkey into the fryer. For a whole turkey, estimate 3 minutes per pound for cooking time. Whole turkeys weighing eight to 10 pounds and turkey parts are best for frying.
To ensure doneness, remove turkey from oil and check the temperature using a food thermometer. Cooked turkey should register at least 240°F in the breast and 350°F in the thigh. The meat will be juicy and tender.
Properly filtered and stored, canola oil can be reused several times. Cool oil overnight in covered pot then strain through fine cheesecloth or large coffee filters. Store filtered canola oil in a container with a tight fitting lid in a cool dark cupboard or in the refrigerator.