Fire Safety Awareness

Frying Your Thanksgiving Turkey Safely


If not done carefully and correctly, deep-frying a Thanksgiving turkey can be a very dangerous and possibly disastrous undertaking. Then again, anyone who has ever tasted a delicious, juicy and flavorful deep fried turkey can probably agree that it might actually be worth the risk! Fortunately, you never have to come close to setting your house on fire or blowing up your entire backyard, just for some of the best turkey of your life, if you just follow some important safety precautions. Yes, you can have your fried turkey and eat it too; and here’s how.

1. Only use your turkey fryer outside.

Never, ever use a turkey fryer indoors or in any type of enclosed space, like a garage or shed. You should keep your fryer at a safe distance from your home, patio, deck, outdoor furniture or low hanging tree branches. If it can catch fire, stay far away from it. Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful for the things that we have, not for burning them to the ground.

2. Make sure you don’t overfill the oil drum.

If you accidentally overfill your turkey fryer’s oil drum, hot oil will overflow as soon as the turkey is dropped in, causing flames to pour out over the edge. If you’ve never seen this happen before, you can consider yourself lucky and trust that it’s not something you want to experience. The easiest and most effective way to avoid this hazardous dilemma is to use the water test.

To accurately measure the proper oil level with water, all you have to do is place your turkey in the fryer and then fill it with water until it reaches the designated fill line. After you’ve done so, remove the turkey and mark the new, lower water level. This is the exact line that you should fill the oil to. Using this method will ensure that harmful and flammable, hot oil does not spill out of your fryer and put a major damper on your Thanksgiving feast.

4. Use proper protective accessories and safety equipment.

Be sure to use protective potholders and oven mitts when handling turkey fryers and keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher close by, as an extra precaution. You should never attempt to use water to put out any kind of grease fire, so if you haven’t acquired a fire extinguisher for your home yet, you should make it a point to do so before this Thanksgiving.

3. Make sure your turkey is completely, 100% thawed.

A frozen turkey plus hot oil equals an explosion! That may not be the exact scientific equation but hopefully it’s enough to explain that you absolutely must make sure your turkey is not frozen before introducing it to extremely hot oil. You’ve probably seen some truly horrifying turkey frying accidents on YouTube, and we can guarantee you that worst of them are frozen turkey incidents.

The average sized frozen turkey requires about 3 days, or approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight, to completely thaw. If you’re planning to fry a turkey at the last minute, just don’t. Giving your turkey plenty of time to thaw and reducing the amount of moisture that can come into contact with heated oil will make the difference between an incredibly delicious main dish and an incredibly embarrassing YouTube video – like the ones compiled here, courtesy of the FW.

As long as you practice all of the proper safety precautions above, you shouldn’t have a need for the fire extinguisher but when deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey is concerned, you’re always much better safe than sorry!



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