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Thanksgiving Safety: How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Regardless if this is your first or fiftieth deep fried turkey, reviewing cooking safety can help prevent serious injuries or property damage.

By Sam LarsonPublished 4 months ago 3 min read

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means family, big gatherings, and of course, lots of food. Turkey is a Thanksgiving staple and is often enjoyed when everyone comes together to celebrate the holiday.

For some families, deep frying a turkey is tradition. For others, it may be something new for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration. Regardless if this is your first or fiftieth deep fried turkey, reviewing cooking safety can help prevent serious injuries or property damage.

Step 1: Chose a Safe Location

Choosing where to deep fry your turkey is one of the most important elements of ensuring a safe cooking experience. Set up the turkey fryer more than ten feet away from your home. Make sure the fryer is not on a deck, is out of the garage and a safe distance from trees and other structures, such as a root eave. Place the fryer on a sturdy, level surface and avoid moving the fryer once it’s in use.

Keep children and pets at a safe distance away from the deep fryer. Also consider the weather. Do not operate a fryer outdoors during the rain or snow!

Step 2: Prepare the Turkey Properly

Before you place the turkey in the fryer, test the amount of oil you need by filling your fryer with water. Place the turkey in the pot to make sure the water does not get too close to the top. By using this method, you can measure the water to use as a guide for filling the pot with oil.

Then, add the turkey. According to food safety experts, completely thaw out the turkey prior to frying. Oil and water do not mix and could cause fire flare-ups.

Step 3: Monitor the Temperature

Without the control of a thermostat, a deep fryer can overheat oil beyond its smoke point and can become extremely dangerous to the point of starting a fire. Opt for a kitchen thermometer that can safely attach to the side of the pot to monitor the oil’s temperature if the fryer does not already have temperature controls.

If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.

Step 4: Use Safety Equipment

Property safety equipment can make a significant difference if things go awry. Wear goggles and use durable oven mitts to protect your hands and arms from any oil. Keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by in case of an emergency.

Refrain from using water or a garden hose on any fire-related turkey fryers as it can escalate the fire.

Step 5: Remove the Turkey and Serve

In addition to general fire safety, it is important to ensure the turkey is cooked fully to prevent foodborne illnesses, like Salmonella. The internal temperature of the turkey should range from 175° F to 180° F for dark meat and 165° F to 170° F for white meat.

When the turkey is fully cooked and ready to be removed from the pot, do so very slowly. Place the turkey on a pan or paper towels to enable it to drain. Give the turkey ample time to drain and cool before carving and serving.

Thanksgiving Safety Statistics

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, from 2017 to 2019, an estimated average of 2,300 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day each year. In total, these fires caused an estimated annual average of 5 deaths, 25 injuries and $26 million in property loss.

Thanksgiving happens to be the one day of the year that has triple the average number of home cooking fires. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve rank second and third, with nearly double the daily average.

While many prepare Thanksgiving meals in their homes every year with no problems, it can and does happen. It is important to review proper cooking techniques to mitigate the chance of an injury or accident!

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About the Creator

Sam Larson

Writer of things, lover of art.

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