It’s mid-November and the leaves are falling, the temperature is falling, and in some parts of the country, snow is falling. The holidays are right around the corner and thoughts of Christmas trees, family gatherings, gift wrapping, and of course all that food are now dancing around in my head!
One of the most popular, and in my mind tastiest, ways of preparing that Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey is deep-frying. Unfortunately it is also one of the fastest growing causes of home fires resulting in millions of dollars in damage and numerous injuries and deaths. But if it’s done correctly and safely, a deep-fried turkey can be a delicious part of your holiday feast.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to more than 1,000 fires involving a deep fryer each year resulting in an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15 million in property damage. My own state of Texas leads the way in deep-fried turkey related fires and injuries.
With a few precautions, however, you can safely enjoy that moist, sweet taste brought about only by deep-frying your bird. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for deep-frying a turkey:
- DO make sure you have 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 a fire extinguisher.
- DON’T deep fry a frozen turkey. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 4 days prior to frying.
- DON’T use too much oil. Dipping your turkey into too much oil will cause 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.
- DON’T deep fry indoors. If something goes wrong, you would rather have it happen in the back yard than in your home. It’s also a great reason to hang out in the back yard with friends and family!
You can find hundreds and hundreds of great recipes for deep-fried turkeys on the Internet. Using a few simple precautions can result in the best holiday turkey you will ever taste! Take that from a Texan…we fry everything!
Do you have any tips for a delicious deep-fried turkey?
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If I might add one more tip: Turn the burner off before adding the turkey in. This will help reduce flare-ups.
Thank you for your suggestion! Definitely a great tip to remember.