Thanksgiving is a week away and I am already imagining the deliciousness. My mouth is literally starting to water as I type this! Mmm.
There are many ways to cook your holiday turkey, such as roasting it, slow cooking it in a crockpot, smoking it, etc. Deep frying has been popular because if done right, the results are a bird with super crisp skin, moist meat, and a fabulous flavor! However, if you want to deep fry your turkey, be very careful! For the safety of your home and family, only attempt this outside away from buildings or flammable material. Safety first, people!
Get this…according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 470 home cooking fires PER DAY from 2013-2017. These fires caused $1.2 billion in direct property damage per year, and worse, an average of 550 deaths and 5,020 fire injuries. Home fires caused by cooking peaked at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
You can find hundreds of great recipes for deep-fried turkeys online. Once you find one, and before you start frying, use a few simple precautions to make sure you won’t be calling the fire department and moving your family celebration to a restaurant!
- Make sure to use the proper equipment. Begin with either an electric or propane deep fry cooker with a 30 to 60 quart capacity heavy pot. Many stores now have fryers specifically built for deep frying turkeys. If your cooker does not have a thermostat, you will need a deep-fry thermometer to control the temperature of the oil. You will also need a meat thermometer, an injector, oven mitts or pot holders, and MOST IMPORTANTLY that fire extinguisher. Keep a grease-rate fire extinguisher close by.
- Thaw the turkey! Put your turkey in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 days prior to frying. When a frozen turkey is dropped into hot oil, the ice turns to steam and the rapidly expanding steam causes the oil to boil over. We don’t want a B.L.E.V.E. – Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion!
- Don’t use too much oil. Dipping your turkey into too much oil will cause the oil to spill from the pot and can result in significant injury and/or fire once the oil comes into contact with the fire or heating element. Keep oil under 350° F; the hotter the oil is the more combustible it is! This leads me to my next point…
- Turn off the burner before putting in your turkey. Once the turkey is submerged in the oil, you may turn the burner back on.
- Please don’t leave the fryer unattended. This is the leading factor in home cooking fires.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner. Place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing of it.
No matter which way you cook your turkey, always be mindful about what you’re doing and follow safety tips. Let’s try to keep firefighters and first responders home with their families this holiday!
Here is an NFPA webpage for general Thanksgiving cooking safety!
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