Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Fry-Off a Sizzling Success

eHarmony employees in line for the delicious Thanksgiving feast, organized by our awesome HR department.

I’ve been out of the office for a few months, but I’m back now and it’s great to be blogging again! I’m glad that for my first blog back, I’m able to write about one of eHarmony’s favorite events, the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Fry-Off.

CEO Greg Waldorf tending to his submission in the fried turkey competition.

Because I’m such a foodie, I was lucky enough to be selected as a judge. I sampled each of the six fried turkeys—all unique and delicious.  It was hard to choose from among the culinary masterpieces, but in the end, the winner was Carly in Legal Affairs/Finance with her sweet-and-savory, pomegranate-glazed fried turkey. See below for her prize-winning recipe!

After the judging, the eHarmony crew gobbled up a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. In an unofficial poll, the stuffing was everyone’s favorite and we witnessed several colleagues going back for seconds and thirds. 🙂

This event also gave us an opportunity to give back—Greg Waldorf thanked all eHarmony employees for the 1,000+ cans we donated to Union Station, a local homeless shelter. This donation will help them feed over 5,500 people at their Thanksgiving meal. Great job, fellow eHarmony-ites!

Congratulations to all of our turkey contestants—we’re looking forward to next year already.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Here's Carly with her prize-winning bird. Two words: Legen. Dary.

And the super-secret Thanksgiving turkey recipe courtesy of our winner is …

Carly’s Sweet-and-Savory Fried Turkey

Chef’s note: I generally don’t use measurements when I cook, and even when I do I tend to tinker with ingredients as I go.  However, I do have a pretty good idea about the measurements of this (plus a couple of things I would have done differently).

The rub:

  • Garlic (at least one head, possibly more)
  • Rosemary (2 Trader Joe’s packages)
  • Thyme (2 Trader Joe’s packages)
  • Sage (2 Trader Joe’s packages)
  • Fleur de Sel (this salt has a more mineral-y quality to it; very distinct from iodized salt)
  • Cumin (probably 2 tablespoons, more would have worked)
  • Cayenne (probably 2 teaspoons)
  • Pepper (several grindings)

I like to use fresh ingredients whenever possible.   Spices lose their flavor over time and can end up tasting very flat.   I finely minced the above, mixed it thoroughly in a bowl, and rubbed it under the skin.

The marinade (here’s where it gets a little more time-intensive):

Part I:

  • 2 cups 100% POM Wonderful pomegranate juice & 2 cups 100% cranberry juice
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey

I reduced the juices down to 1 cup, total, adding balsamic and honey to taste.  It took a lot of balsamic.  I think using a juice that’s already sweetened (with other juices) would actually have been a better idea.  I would also either double or even triple the amount I used.  On the game hen I practiced on, the sweetness of the juices and the savory flavor of the herbs was amazing. Alas, I felt the turkey really overwhelmed the juice.  Set the reduction aside.

Part II:

  • Butter (6 tablespoons)
  • Onion (2 cups, chopped)
  • Garlic (several tablespoons, minced)
  • Stout beer (I used 2+ pints of ‘Class V Stout’*)
  • Part I reduction
  • Rosemary**
  • Sage**
  • Thyme**
  • Fleur de sel

Melt the butter in a large pot.  Add the onions, stirring occasionally until translucent.  Add garlic, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds.  (Just enough to let the garlic become aromatic.)  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Strain the marinade.  Inject the bird.  (I did this the night before.)

*Class V Stout is a really mellow and smooth stout I found at Whole Foods.  It ended up working really well.  A stout with more hops would have probably been more bitter in the reduction, or imparted more of a beer flavor, which could also work.

**For the injection, I didn’t bother to chop the herbs, and just used whole sprigs.  I knew I would have to strain the marinade, so I wanted to save time.  I probably used, in total, about 1 package each of the herbs.

The glaze:

Pomegranate & cranberry juice

Balsamic vinegar


For this, I know I started with maybe 4 cups total of juice.   I added a LOT of balsamic and honey.   I let reduce until very, very thick.   So thick, in fact, that I had to re-heat it in a microwave and stir with a whisk to be able to brush it on.

Brush glaze on turkey after cooking.  (One note – before I brushed on the glaze, I added some salt to the skin of the bird.   For this, I used some freshly ground pink-Himalayan salt.)

It was somewhat labor intensive, (lots of chopping/reducing), but not difficult.  This would be a really easy recipe to recreate, play with, and make your own.  I plan on using the marinade in the future on poultry I broil/roast.

Jose, Carlos and Seth from Customer Care team up for fried turkey domination.

If this article gave you the confidence to find your match, try eharmony today!

Join Now