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Smoke-Fried Cajun Turkey

This smoke-fried Cajun turkey is bold, spicy, bright and exciting. A far cry from traditional turkey flavors like sage and thyme, the homemade Cajun turkey injection makes this turkey a shining star on your holiday table.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 30 minutes
Marinade Time1 hour
Total Time5 hours
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cajun Turkey
Servings: 12 people
Author: Susie Bulloch


  • 1 18-20 pound turkey neck and giblets removed
  • peanut, canola, or soybean oil for frying

Cajun Turkey Injection

  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco Sauce
  • ½ cup chicken stock


  • Prep the turkey. Ensure your turkey is completely defrosted, and pat thoroughly dry. Place the turkey in a large bag and set the bag in your frying pot. Fill the pot with water to where it just covers the turkey. Remove the turkey from the bag and place it on a flat roasting rack above a cookie sheet to catch any drippings. Mark the fill line in your pot where the water hits. This line is your fill line for the oil when it is time to fry. Dump the water out of the pot and dry completely.
  • Make the Cajun turkey injection. Combine all the ingredients for the Cajun turkey injection in a small saucepan. Simmer together over medium heat for 5 minutes to soften all of the herbs and spices. Pour the butter mixture into a narrow vessel (like a cup or liquid measuring cup) with the 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir to combine.
  • Inject the turkey. Using a meat injector, fill the syringe with the blended injection liquid. Insert the needle into the center of the turkey breast and depress the syringe about ⅓ of the way. Pull the syringe back slightly, but not completely out of the breast, and reinsert it at a different angle. Depress the syringe another ⅓ of the way. Pull back slightly (again, not all the way out), and reinsert at yet another angle and depress the syringe entirely. Repeat on the other breast, in each thigh, and in each leg. The goal is to distribute the injection as evenly as possible while creating as few holes in the skin as possible.
  • Marinate the turkey. Place the injected turkey, uncovered, in the refrigerator and leave for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
  • Smoke the turkey. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F with your favorite hardwood. I like a strong wood flavor with this Turkey, as the smoke time is short and some smoke flavor is lost in the fryer. Oak, hickory, even mesquite would be a good option here if you want to taste the smoke. Pat the turkey dry on the exterior once again (it should be pretty dry) and Place directly on the smoker grates. Close the lid and smoke for 3 hours.
  • Prepare the fryer. Fill your fryer pot with oil to the fill line you marked in step 1. Preheat the oil to 350 degrees F. Ensure your fryer is set up on a flat surface, far away from your house or any exterior structures.
  • Fry the turkey. After the turkey has been smoking for 3 hours, pat dry once again, including the interior cavity of the bird (you don't want any excess moisture on the turkey when it hits the hot oil). Slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the oil. The oil will bubble up and spit, but should not boil over. Fry the turkey for about 2 minutes per pound. An 18-20 pound bird will take approximately 30-40 minutes. Test the doneness of your turkey with an internal thermometer. You want your breasts to hit 155 degrees F and your thighs should be closer to 165-170 degrees F.
  • Rest the turkey. Carefully transfer your fried turkey to a flat baking rack over a cookie sheet. Allow the turkey to rest and the excess oil to drip away from the bird for the next 30 minutes. The carry-over heat will bring the turkey up to a finished temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Carve and enjoy! After the turkey has rested, carve the meat onto a serving platter and dig in.



Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 931IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg