Turkey frying is an exceptional way to lock in the delicious flavor and juices of a Thanksgiving bird while offering a crisp and tasty alternative to the traditionally roasted main dish.
Unfortunately, turkey frying can become very dangerous if it’s done without general fire safety knowledge. According to the National Fire Protection Association’s 2012 Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment report, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.
Thankfully, there are simple fire safety precautions you can take in order to make sure your turkey frying experience is of the tasty kind.
A frozen turkey should never be placed directly into hot oil. Experts suggest thawing your turkey for 24 to 48 hours prior to placing in a fryer; always hand-dry the turkey to make sure no moisture remains. (Water can cause the oil to bubble up and spill over.) Getting the proper turkey size for the fryer is also important. Read your instruction manual carefully, and never get a turkey that is larger than the recommended size.
Oil quality matters. When cooking, you’ll want to use good-quality oil that has a high smoke point, such as peanut or safflower oil. When it comes to fire safety, smoke point is important because, when frying at temperatures around 350°F, you want to make sure the oil isn’t easily ignitable, which could potentially start a serious fire. Make sure that, when filling the fryer, you leave plenty of room at the top to prevent accidental spills and overfilling. Remember that oil inside the fryer can remain hot for hours after being used, so make sure kids or pets do not play close to or go near the fryer.
When deep-frying a turkey, it’s important to keep the fryer under constant supervision to prevent fires. Always cook outside, making sure to stay off any wooden decks or structures (and a safe distance away from them), as spilled hot oil can result in a fire.
Also, keep the fryer away from low-hanging branches or yard décor to help ensure that nothing can accidentally be set aflame. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire, and always keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher on hand.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, parades, football and, of course, a big feast. By following these basic turkey deep-frying safety tips, you can help make sure you and your family will enjoy the holiday with a delicious meal—safely.