There are a half dozen "Just Turkey" franchises in Chicago, most of them on the South Side and in the south suburbs. They sell turkey-inspired sandwiches, ribs and chili throughout the year, but in November, they gear up for Thanksgiving by frying a whole lotta birds.
But rather than simply roast your bird for hours, the team behind Just Turkey - with six locations scattered throughout the South Side and suburbs - is preparing to deep fry dozens of turkeys this week.
"Around the holidays we get so much demand from the customers and so many phone calls about doing deep-fried turkeys that last year around Christmas we decided to do a test-run and the results were phenomenal," said Earl Husbands, co-owner of Just Turkey.
They offer four flavors: fresh herb - loaded with rosemary, thyme and sage; jerk - with a fiery blend of scotch bonnet chilies; regular and also roasted garlic.
They start by seasoning 10 to 12 pound turkeys with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then, in the case of the roasted garlic, they remove the cloves from their papery husks, combine them with melted butter, then rub it everywhere - above and beneath the skin. The turkeys are trussed with some string, to keep them intact, then they're lowered into peanut oil, which fries them in about a half hour.
They're removed when golden brown, and Husbands says re-heating them just before serving is a snap.
"You just pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, put it on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven for 30 to 40 min. depending on how hot you like your turkey," said Husbands.
Orders for fried turkeys must be placed by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 25th.
4353 S. Cottage Grove
1234 N. Halsted St.
(This location will have a free tasting of roasted garlic and regular flavors starting at 12 p.m. on Nov. 23rd, until supplies last)
1132 W. Bryn Mawr
1761 River Oaks Dr., Calumet City
17947 S. Halsted St., Homewood
4142 167th St., Oak Forest