Why hadn't we done that? It seemed so obvious. And yet we missed the idea in plain sight. We cook with plenty of hot smoked turkey legs, wings, and tails. We have witnessed fried turkey legs at state fairs and amusement parks. And deep fried turkeys continue to have a love-hate affair with the food world. We had not treated a turkey like a fried chicken. More specifically we had not treated a turkey like our cold smoked fried chicken from Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work, with our upgraded potato starch crust.
We started with a whole bird. We cut the back off and used it along with a few other odds and ends to make smoked turkey broth. We frenched the legs and split each thigh in half through the bone. We cut each breast, through the breast bone, into 6 steaks. (I used our serrated knife as a saw. Not the best choice for turkey bones. Now I owe Aki a new serrated knife.) We butterflied the wing flats and left the drummettes whole. We cold smoked the bird for 2 hours. Then we put it into our buttermilk brine. We used Steve Stallard's Blis Blast as our hot sauce to flavor the brine.
We brined the bird for 24 hours. (It could take even longer if time allows.) Then we dredged the pieces in seasoned potato starch and refrigerated the coated bird overnight. This allowed the starch to hydrate and successfully cling to the turkey. We fried the turkey in batches and then finished it in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes.
The turkey was juicy, smokey, crispy, and decadent. Upon cooling the leftovers and then rewarming them, the bird degraded. It was not as pleasurable as it was straight from the fryer and oven, so we reccomend that any leftovers are eaten cold or at room temperature. A few modifications are in order. First up is buying a butcher saw. They cost under thirty bucks and can cut through bones better than the knife I messed up in the process. This will allow us to cut the turkey into smaller pieces. The smaller size will increase suface area for more brine penetration. It will also allow for more crispy coating and a faster cooking time. Finally, a lower oven temperature to finish cooking the bird should make it even tender and juicy, so we have better leftovers.
And cranberry BBQ sauce is in the works as a side for this upgraded Thanksgiving Turkey.