Deep-Frying Your Turkey? Be Safe

The Jemez Agency

First, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  And with it being turkey day I thought I would do an article on something I haven’t done personally, but is apparently quite popular.
One of the most popular ways of preparing that Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey is deep-frying.  Unfortunately it is also one of the fastest growing causes of home fires resulting in millions of dollars in damage and numerous injuries and deaths. But if it’s done correctly and safely, a deep-fried turkey can be a delicious part of your holiday feast.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to more than 1,000 fires involving a deep fryer each year resulting in an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15 million in property damage. Our neighboring  state of Texas leads the way in deep-fried turkey related fires and injuries.

With a few precautions, however, you can safely enjoy that moist, sweet taste brought about only by deep-frying your bird. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for deep-frying a turkey:

  • DO make sure you have the proper equipment. Begin with either an electric or propane deep fry cooker with a 30 to 60 quart capacity heavy pot. Many stores now have fryers specifically built for deep-frying turkeys.
  • If your cooker does not have a thermostat, you will need a deep fry thermometer to control the temperature of the oil. You will also need a meat thermometer, an injector, oven mitts or pot holders, and MOST IMPORTANTLY a fire extinguisher.
  • DON’T deep fry a frozen turkey. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 days prior to frying.
  • DON’T use too much oil. Dipping your turkey into too much oil will cause oil to spill from the pot and can result in significant injury and/or fire once the oil comes into contact with the fire or heating element.
  • Don’t let the oil get too hot.  When oil gets around 400-425-degrees it can catch on fire by itself
  • DON’T deep fry indoors. If something goes wrong, you would rather have it happen in the back yard than in your home. It’s also a great reason to hang out in the back yard with friends and family!

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