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Safely deep fry a turkey: Tips to Follow

Posted at 8:18 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 20:18:25-05

A lot of people forgo the oven and cook their Thanksgiving Day turkey in a deep fryer.

However, using a vat of boiling oil comes with dangers.

According to fire officials, deep fryer fires have been responsible for at least five deaths, 60 injuries and more than 900 homes destroyed in the US each year.

One common mistake is deep frying a frozen turkey because water and oil don't mix. In a matter of seconds, a frozen turkey dropped into a fryer can turn into an inferno. You should only deep fry a turkey when it's completely thawed out.

"People will not want to get out in the cold, or if it's snowing. So people might put them on their patios, or under their decks or even in their garages. Sometimes even in a basement, I've heard. So I'd rather have people be a little bit cold than have their holidays ruined by having their house or garage on fire," said Michael Roberts, fire inspector for Delta Township.

Another common mistake that people make is using too much oil. Fire officials recommend that before you cook the turkey, put it in the deep fryer and fill with water until it reaches slightly above the turkey. Then mark the water line and that will be your oil fill line.

Another tip is to make sure the oil is not too hot. Use a thermometer to keep the oil around 350 degrees.

Kitchen safety is another thing to have in mind for when you are cooking this holiday season. Fire officials recommend that you set timers and have pot and pan handles turned in, away from the edges of the stove.

"We get caught up in enjoying life, and when I say we get caught up in enjoying life it's unattended cooking. We are not paying attention to what's cooking. So one of the things when you are deep frying a turkey outside or you're cooking on your cooktop in the kitchen you have to keep an eye on what's going on. Also with kids around sometimes things get knocked over or bumped," said State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer.