We hear a lot this time of year about the dangers of deep-frying turkey, and rightfully so. From 2005 to 2009, State Farm Insurance reported roughly 1,000 deep-fryer fires each year, with the number of grease and cooking-related claims nearly doubling during the month of November.
Texas was ranked the number one state for Thanksgiving Day grease and cooking-related fires for the ’05-’09 time period with 33. But Pennsylvania, you’re not too far behind, coming in at number 7 nationally with 12.
For those of you planning on deep-frying your turkey this year, the National Turkey Federation recently released their official how-to guide for staying safe this holiday season. Stick with us here and read on for the highlights!
Deep-Fried Turkey Guide
The best bird
Size matters when you are deep-frying a turkey. At maximum, the turkey should weigh no more than 14 pounds, with 8-10 pounds being ideal.
The safety concern here should be obvious, bigger birds are more difficult to maneuver in and out of a vat of boiling oil. Beyond that, they require more time to cook, often times resulting in overexposed skin.
All about oil
Most turkey fryers will feature a fill line, but not all. If your fryer doesn’t have a fill line, do this to determine the mount of oil to use:
Place your thawed turkey into the basket and lower it into the empty pot.
Add water until the top of the turkey is covered.
Remove turkey and drain off excess water.
Grab a ruler to measure the distance from the surface of the water to the top of the pot. The minimum oil level is 3-5 inches from the top of the fryer.
When choosing oil for frying, be sure to use one with a high smoke point: peanut, refined canola, corn oil, rice oil, or sunflower.
Prep and safety tips
Choosing a location:
Set up in an OUTDOOR, level space
If you are using a propane unit, never use it indoors or in an attached structure
Do not fry on a wooden deck (fire hazard) or concrete, which can be stained by the oil
At no point should the fryer be left unattended (heating, cooking, or cooling)
Allow oil to cook completely before disposing of or storing.
Thanksgiving warning: Deep fried turkey a danger
A Deep Fried Delicacy: The How-To on Deep Frying Turkey