Kieva Fontenot-Hicks is the daughter of a retired Army Lt. Col. Although she has lived all over the country, Kieva calls Louisiana home, because her grandmother Mabel and much of her family are still there. She returns as often as possible. But when she can’t get down south, Kieva can be found in her Chesterfield kitchen, stirring or frying up something to bring a little bit of Louisiana here. “My grandmother Allie taught me to cook by smell,” she says. “I can go to a restaurant and come home and duplicate it.” She recently began her business, Nola-N Catering, and Kieva says proudly, “I can do everything under the sun. But my specialty is authentic Louisiana cuisine.”
At Thanksgiving, the Hicks family looks forward to deep-fried turkey. Kieva seasons the bird with a homemade Louisiana dry rub, injects it with seasoned basting fluid, and gets the help of her husband Ricky, who lowers the bird into the specialty deep fryer they bought last year. For safety and convenience, they usually fry the turkey outside. It cooks for about forty five minutes, and the result is a crisp, browned skin, and succulent meat within. Although Kieva’s grandmother Allie passed away in 1995, she would be proud.
by Cesca Janece Waterfield
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1-1/2 Teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 Teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3-1/2 to 4 Pounds turkey breast, non self-basting
- As Needed peanut oil
- In a small bowl mix salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders and red pepper together.
- Rinse the turkey breast well with cold water and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels, including the inside cavity.
- Coat all surfaces of the breast with the seasonings mixture. Place the turkey in a basket or on a rack, neck down.
- Place the OUTDOOR gas burner on a level dirt or grassy area. Never fry a turkey indoors, in a garage or in any structure attached to a building. Do not fry on wood decks, which could catch fire, or concrete, which could be stained by the oil. (Safety tip: have a fire extinguisher nearby for added safety.)
- Add oil to a 7-10 gallon pot with a basket or rack. At the medium-high setting, heat the oil to 375 degrees F, (depending on the amount of oil, outside temperature and wind conditions, this should take about 30+ minutes).
- When the oil temperature registers 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer, slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil. The level of the oil will rise due to the frothing caused by the moisture from the turkey but will stabilize in about one minute. (Safety tips: to prevent burns from the splattering oil wear oven mitts/gloves, long sleeves, heavy shoes and even glasses. It is wise to have two people lowering and raising the turkey.)
- Immediately check the oil temperature and increase the flame so the oil temperature is maintained at 350 degrees F. If the temperature drops to 340 degrees F or below, oil will begin to seep into the turkey.
- Fry about 4 to 5 minutes per pound. Stay with the cooker at all times as the heat must be regulated.
- When cooked to 170 degrees F in the breast, carefully remove the turkey from the hot oil. Allow the turkey to drain for a few minutes. (Safety tip: allow the oil to cool completely before storing or disposing.)
- Remove turkey from the rack and place on a serving platter. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
- NOTE: Use only oils with high smoke points, such as peanut, canola or safflower oil. To determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey breast in the pot before adding seasoning and add water until turkey is covered. Take turkey breast out of the water before marking the oil level. Measure the amount of water and use a corresponding amount of oil. Dry the pot thoroughly of all water.
Recipe by The National Turkey Federation