Thanksgiving is almost here, and that means you’re probably looking forward to a home-cooked meal, featuring a turkey, of course. The turkey is the cornerstone of the Thanksgiving meal. Maybe you’re planning on deep-frying a bird for your dinner. The thing is that that Thanksgiving is already a huge day for house fires. And deep-frying a turkey substantially increases your risk for house fires. So, maybe there’s a better idea…but if you’re absolutely set on having a deep-fried turkey, here are a few tips.
Safety tips for deep-frying a turkey
1. Keep the fryer away from the house.
Okay, so you have to keep the deep fryer away from the house. (Placing the flyer 10 feet or more away from the home is probably a good plan.) Basically, keep the fryer away from flammable things. That way, even if things go south, the potentially explosive turkey cooker will be away from the house and things that could catch on fire.
In short – don’t explode anything.
2. Keep the kids and pets away.
Turkey fryers can be dangerous. It’s important to keep the kids and pets far away from the turkey-related action. Lay down some ground rules for your children so they know not to get too close to the fryer, and consider keeping the pets secured inside and far away from where unwitting paws or tails could tip things over. (You don’t want your dog to get hurt!)
3. Don’t abandon the deep fryer.
If you’re going to deep fry a turkey, don’t abandon the bird. Keep an eye on the turkey as it cooks so you can respond to an emergency as quickly as possible. Just like with any cooking – oven, stovetop, microwave – you can’t leave the food or the deep fryer unattended.
4. Place the fryer on level ground.
You’ll need to scout out a good spot for your deep fryer. It needs to be set on level ground so that it won’t wobble or tip over. The oil really has to be still, not tipping or wobbling or anything. You don’t want any oil spilling, sloshing, or exploding anywhere.
5. Measure the oil with care.
It’s also important that you measure the amount of oil that you need with a lot of care. Remember, when you add the turkey to the liquid, the liquid will rise. You don’t want to cause a spill, which can happen if you’ve overfilled the pot. To help get the right amount of oil, do a test run with water first. Then you can experiment and figure out how much oil you’ll need. That way you won’t accidentally have too much oil and not enough fryer.
6. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed.
The turkey needs to be completely dry and entirely thawed out before you fry it. If the turkey is still kind of frozen, it can result in the oil popping or splattering, or it could cause the oil to bubble up and spill over, which isn’t good. (If the oil spills over the fryer and onto the burner, a major fire could happen.) Anyways, just make sure that you’ve properly thawed the bird – both to avoid foodborne illness and to avoid turkey oil splatter paint.
7. Keep an eye on the temperature.
So, turkey fryers can overheat, and that can cause a fire. And you probably don’t want a fire, right? Anyways, you’ve got to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil – lots of fryers don’t have their own thermostats. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot.
Also, remember that the lid and sides of the turkey fryers can get extremely hot – as in the pot can cause serious injuries and burns. To avoid getting a burn, make sure that you wear long cooking gloves to keep your hands and arms safe. You don’t want to end up in the hospital being treated for burn injuries, right? That would make Thanksgiving a little less joyful than one would hope.
8. Have fire-fighting equipment at the ready.
If you’ll be deep-frying a turkey, have a fire extinguisher at the ready. Okay, maybe it seems a little pessimistic, but hey – better prepared than not. It’s not a good idea to disregard fire safety. You may want to go with a multi-purpose, dry-powder fire extinguisher. At any rate, be prepared for potential fiery situations with a fire extinguisher.
So, there you have it. If you’re planning to deep fry a turkey this Thanksgiving, stay safe. Keep the deep fryer away from your house, wear gloves, use the right amount of oil, keep track of your oil’s temperature, and make sure the fryer is on level ground.
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