With thanksgiving two days away, turkey is on our mind. While the most common trend around Applied Process is oven roasted turkey, some prefer to deep fry or even cook theirs on the grill, which got us thinking. What goes into the process of oven roasted or deep frying turkey? Is it the taste or convenience factor? Naturally with AP being in the heat treat industry we decided to dig deeper into the details of cooking a turkey.
When oven roasting a turkey the bird must be completely thawed, this can take up to four days in the refrigerator, and the bird cooks for 20 minutes per pound at 350°F if it was frozen and 10-15 minutes per pound if the bird was fresh. The outside of an oven roasted turkey is usually coated in vegetable or olive oil or butter and herb mixtures to brown the skin.
Deep fried turkeys are quicker to cook at 3 minutes per pound in oil at 350°F. It is very important that a turkey to be deep fried is completely thawed and doesn’t contain excess water in any cavities of the bird. If you’ve ever seen how water reacts when in contact with hot oil you’ll understand why. If you haven’t seen this reaction you really don’t want to experience for the first time when making the main part of Thanksgiving dinner. Not to mention the burns a person might sustain from such an accident.
Both birds are cooked at the same temperature, so why does the deep fryer cook faster? Physics. Heat transfer to be exact. In both cases a convecting fluid transfers heat to the food (did you know that a gas is, by definition, a fluid?). In this case oil is more efficient at heat transfer because it is much denser than air.
Heat treating uses a similar rule of thumb as the formula for roasting or frying a turkey. For the turkeys you have to make sure the meat gets to the temperature of 165°F, which is when it is safe to eat. For heat treaters we have to make sure that the core of the part reaches the target temperature and has time to transform. A very general rule of thumb for steel, for example, is one hour per inch plus an hour. So stay safe and enjoy your turkeys, no matter how they’re cooked. Happy Thanksgiving from Applied Process, Inc.!