Prior to this weekend, the only thing I knew about deep fried turkey is that Sookie wasn’t a fan.
Then a few weeks ago I overheard some of the guys at church talking about deep frying a whole turkey. Evidently it was something they had done a couple of times for a church men’s event and wanted to do again, with anyone who wanted to come. The previous rector had had a keg specially cut out to be used as the frying receptacle, and when he left it had been left in the care of Pete (who is in our Bible study group). The proposed venue for the fry up was said to be quite limited on space, so I volunteered our place (without asking mum first, oops) and the plan rolled into action.
Yesterday, Pete and Warren arrived a bit after 3pm to set up the specially made keg (far away from the house) on top of bricks, connected to a gas bottle and filled with 40 litres of oil. I set up fairy lights and chairs and made a fire in the chimenea. Mum baked cakes and made salads and other yummy things. I locked the chickens and cats up, because they are far too curious and curious pets around boiling oil is not a great combination. Then we settled back in front of the chimenea with our beers and waited for the oil to get up to 180°C.
Once the oil was hot enough, Pete put the first turkey on a three-pronged stand and lowered it into the keg. We realised at that point that perhaps we had filled it a bit too high, as oil started running over the side and setting alight around the bricks. “That’s okay, as long as it doesn’t get to the gas line we’ll be right,” he said. The rest of us took a few steps back.
People gradually started turning up with food and firewood and drinks. Eventually we had around 23 people in total, mostly from the St John’s 5pm congregation. Once the first turkey went in, it was done in about 40 minutes and we feasted on succulent and perfectly cooked meat, roast potatoes and delicious salads.
The first turkey looked quite dark, but the second one (which I forgot to photograph) was a perfect golden brown. Both tasted delicious.
It was about 5°C outside once the sun went down – so not actually as cold as I’d thought it might be (it was forecast to be around -2°C overnight). People moved between the cosy indoors to sit around the fire outside and back again. The kids toasted marshmallows and played with sparklers. Everyone seemed to be having lots of great conversations and just generally getting to know each other better, which was the point (the hot oil was really just the gimmick). Even though everyone goes to St John’s, we don’t often get to know each others’ stories. Even at Bible study there’s usually not too much time to have extended chats about anything and everything. But spending time together over a meal is where the magic happens (and why the weekly dinners at Wild St were/are so special).
This morning, Pete came back to drain the cooled oil back into the original bottles, to be stored and used next time, apparently.
It was such a pleasure to be able to use our house for such a gathering! It’s so exciting to have so much space to be able to do things like this in. Already thinking about what we can do in the summertime…