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Still Need To Cook Thanksgiving Day Bird? Bergen Chef Makes It Simple

Todd Provenzano of Chicken Todd's cooks birds for a living. He's breaking down the steps nice and easy... just in case you need them last minute.
Todd Provenzano of Chicken Todd's cooks birds for a living. He's breaking down the steps nice and easy... just in case you need them last minute. Photo Credit: Arthur Augustyn/Wikipedia

HACKENSACK, N.J. — Cooking the Thanksgiving Day turkey can overwhelm novice and seasoned chefs alike, but Hackensack's Todd Provenzano and the owner of Dumont's Chicken Todd's is breaking it down in simple fashion.

"My family roasts a traditional bird and of course we fry one as well," Provenzano said. "We do garlic smashed Idaho potatoes and a lovely sweet potato casserole."

Provenzano recommends using the Butterball Countertop Electric Turkey Fryer . "I find it to be the best device to fry a turkey in and most importantly the safest," he said.

Step 1: Turkey Selection: It's always best to purchase a fresh, unfrozen bird. The bird should be no more than 12-14 pounds. The smaller the bird, the more tender and juicy the meat.

Step 2: Brining: I use about 5 quarts of hot water. Add about 3/4's of pound of Kosher Salt and the same measure of light brown sugar to your hot water. Then add a 1/2-cup of cider vinegar. Stir vigorously until salt and brown sugar dissolve. Once everything is dissolved you want to add enough ice to cool the liquid.

Step 3: Cook The Bird: Once cooled you drop your turkey into the liquid, cover it and let sit for at least 10 hours. Then remove the bird from the liquid and pat it dry to remove all the moisture you can. Let the bird sit and dry for about 45 minutes.

Step 4: Fry It: Heat your oil up for the deep frying process. Fill your fryer to the fill line or fill to the line your outdoor fryer recommends. Use only Peanut Oil as it can deal with the high heat that deep frying a turkey requires.

Heat your oil to 350 and then it's game time. SLOWLY drop your bird into the oil using the provided safety hook and turkey basket. Once the turkey is safely in the oil, close the cover and set the timer for 41 minutes.

Take the bird out of the oil and let it rest. It will continue to cook as it rests and the temperature will go up to about 165 degrees — which is perfect.

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