Melanie Lawson uncovers the secrets of cooking a perfect fried turkey

Every year, ‘The Morning Show’ anchor visits Copeland’s of New Orleans on Southside Boulevard ahead of Thanksgiving

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, if you’re frying a bird, News4Jax has some advice from the experts.

Copeland’s of New Orleans on Southside Boulevard in Jacksonville is frying 1,400 birds for this Thanksgiving holiday -- up from 1,200. So News4Jax “The Morning Show” anchor Melanie Lawson went inside Monday morning to uncover the secrets. It is her assignment every year to investigate how you can get that perfect fried turkey. And she has discovered that you have to think ahead.

“We do take care of these turkeys very well. We do it with love. We bread it right. We season it right. We brine it right. We marinate it for 24 hours at least before we start cooking the turkey,” said BoBo, with Copeland’s. “Once you taste the turkey, you can’t go back.”

There is a lot of work before the turkeys go in the oil, and that is precise, as well.

Copeland’s started frying turkeys in 2001. BoBo remembers the first year when 30 turkeys were in the fryer.

“We have a lot of fryers. We said, ‘Why not fry turkeys?’ And once we started seasoning and the cooking process, it just took off,” he said.

And now the formula just works.

After about 40 to 45 minutes in the oil, which needs to be about 340 degrees, the turkeys are ready to go. The key is, the chef checks the temperature in the breast and in the thigh. They need to about 165 degrees.

Copeland's fried turkey
Copeland's fried turkey (WJXT)

The turkeys rest and then they are ready to go.

But that’s not all that Copeland’s is serving up for Thanksgiving. The sides include gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and biscuits.

If you don’t feel like cooking or hosting, the restaurant is an option, as it will be open on Thanksgiving Day.

If you want to preorder your Thanksgiving feast from Copeland’s, go to copelandsfeast.com or call 904-998-4414. A warm turkey holiday dinner is $109.99 and a cooled turkey holiday dinner is $102.99. A warmed 12- to 14-pound fried turkey is $69.99 and a cooled fried turkey is $62.99.

Copeland’s can cook 50 turkeys per hour, so you’re encouraged to order soon to get your bird for Thursday.

Copeland's (WJXT)

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