Thanksgiving is about family, giving thanks for what you have…and turkey. Turkey is the main course for most Thanksgiving Day dinners, and sometimes people like to get creative with the way they cook it. One of the more popular cooking methods is deep-frying. Those who use this cooking method for their Thanksgiving beast swear that a fried turkey is more flavorful than an oven-baked turkey.
Frying a turkey does have its benefits. A fried turkey takes less time to cook than an oven-cooked turkey, and the turkey comes out much juicier as well. Frying the bird also leaves the oven open for cooking other delicious dishes that will have your family members’ mouths watering.
The problem with frying a turkey is that it can be dangerous. If the correct safety steps aren’t taken, you can not only ruin the main course, but cause serious property damage and injury. Here are some tips from the U.S. Fire Administration for safely frying your turkey this year.
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors at a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer. (Do a test run by putting the turkey in a pot and filling with water so the turkey is covered with three inches of water and the water is at least 6 inches from the top of the pot. Measure the amount of water and be sure to thoroughly dry both the turkey and the pot.)
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
For more on Thanksgiving safety, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.
So now that we know the steps to safely cooking your main course, what’s your favorite side dish for that turkey? Share yours below and Happy Thanksgiving!