Originating in New York, owner Aricka Westbrooks of Jive Turkey decided to pack her things and head to Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood in November to open up a pop-up deep fried turkey restaurant. What makes Jive turkey so unique is that it is the only restaurant of its kind in the entire nation. No other restaurant in the US specializes in whole, deep-fried turkeys. Best part is they ship nationwide to give everyone a taste of New York…. errr… Chicago on Thanksgiving, Super Bowl, Mother’s Day, or whenever you have a random hankering for fried turkey. Their storefront in Morgan Park also offers fried turkey sandwiches (try the jerk turkey sandwich), dips (Aricka gave me a free pan of the chili cheese turkey dip, which was to-die-for), and all sorts of random soups and sides.
With the recent Super Bowl (holiday) Sunday, the friendly folks over at Jive Turkey invited me to come by for a turkey tasting and tour of the facility.
Each turkey is deep-fried in peanut oil for about 25 minutes. The end-product is a juicy, flavorful chunk of 12-14lb poultry. Being a food blogger, nutritional information is something that usually concerns me. These turkeys are only 2 grams of fat more per serving than a traditional oven-roasted turkey. I was shocked to find something so good and fried could be so lean.
Lined up against the wall were about 8 commercial deep-fryers, which can cook two turkeys each. I was informed that during the Thanksgiving season, thousands of turkeys pass through these fryers. Before each turkey is fried, it is coated and marinated in a dry rub, which will remain a secret of Jive Turkey.
Once the turkey is done, it is removed from the fryer and placed on a cooling rack. Once the turkey cools down, it is glazed, packed inside an oven bag and shipped to the homes of people nationwide. The turkeys can be reheated in an oven, and still retain all their juices and flavor.
Jive Turkey offers over 15 flavors, so I decided to sample a few of them. The Jamaican jerk was my favorite. It was packed with very strong flavors, which mingled well with my taste buds and left a nice afterburn. In fact, I liked it so much I decided to get a jerk sandwich to eat while my turkey was fried. The peach bourbon glaze adds a nice sweetness to the turkey, which I can only compare to an Americano version of duck a ‘orange. The cajun flavor also had a nice spice to it, but was much more mild than the Jamaican jerk. If you’re looking for a unique and creative centerpiece for your next holiday dinner, I would recommend giving Jive Turkey a try.