Deep-fried turkeys have experienced a popularity boom over the last several years, thanks in part to exposure by celebrity chefs like Paula Deen. Deep-fried turkey is a Southern favorite that boasts a crisp exterior and tender, succulent, and juicy interior. However, it’s important to follow certain turkey fryer safety tips to avoid accidents. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year. Learn more about how to fry a turkey in a turkey fryer safely so you can enjoy a deep-fried turkey without the risk.
1. Monitor the Oil’s Temperature Closely
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the majority of reported incidents involving turkey fryers occurred while the oil was being heated, prior to the turkey being added. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor the oil’s temperature closely and ensure that it doesn’t overheat. If you notice smoke coming from the heated pot of oil, turn the fryer off immediately. Cooking oil that has been heated beyond its cooking temperature may ignite.
2. Place the Fryer in an Open Area
Place your turkey fryer in an open area outside, a safe distance away from walls, fences, and other combustible structures. Never use a turkey fryer inside of a garage or on a wooden deck. Deep-fry your turkey outdoors on a flat, non-combustible surface.
3. Raise and Lower the Turkey Slowly
Hot oil in your turkey fryer can splash or spill, causing burns and fires. Place your turkey fryer on a flat surface to reduce the risk of tipping. Raise and lower the turkey very slowly and carefully so that the oil does not splatter.
4. Cover Bare Skin When Adding or Removing the Turkey
The sides, handles, and lid of a turkey fryer pot can get very hot. Cover your hands with high-quality oven mitts or potholders and wear protective eyewear before handling a turkey fryer.
5. Fully Thaw the Turkey Before Cooking
Make sure that a frozen turkey is fully thawed before you place it in the fryer. Excess water in turkeys that aren’t completely thawed can cause the pot to overflow. As a rule of thumb, you should allow 24 hours of thawing for every 5lbs of turkey.
6. Never Leave Your Turkey Fryer Unattended
Make sure that your turkey fryer is always in full view when the burner is on. Many turkey fryers do not have a thermostat, so if they are left unattended, the oil can overheat and ignite.
7. Do Not Overfill Your Turkey Fryer with Oil
Avoid overfilling your turkey fryer with oil, because if you do so, the pot may overflow when the turkey is lowered into it. If the oil spills out of the pot, it could cause a fire or injure bystanders.
Turkey fryer safety is a serious concern because of the potential risk of fire and injury. Deep-frying a turkey is not like roasting a turkey – you cannot just pop the turkey in the oven and turn your attention to other things while you wait for the turkey to cook. Follow these turkey fryer safety tips so you can enjoy a delicious, deep-fried turkey without putting yourself, your loved ones or your home at risk!