Sam Sifton's Advice on Deep-Frying Turkeys: Do Not Brine
Sam Sifton has been all over the Diner's Journal blog, answering Thanksgiving-related questions posed by readers. In the post "On Frying Turkeys, Smoking Them and Other Outdoor Matters," he recalls a moment of his reckless youth, in which he and a friend, "amped on beer and adrenaline, redneck in the extreme," attempted to deep-fry a brined turkey (which apparently is a very bad idea):
We put the brined turkey into the superhot peanut oil, which almost instantly converted the excess moisture the bird had been given by the brine into steam. The steam, caught inside the bird, exploded the breasts off the carcass and sent them hurtling skyward on a plume of boiling oil. It was a fairly intense couple of seconds. DO NOT BRINE A TURKEY THAT YOU ARE GOING TO FRY.