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Food & Recipes

3 Firefighter Tips for Safely Deep Frying Your Turkey This Thanksgiving


Deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey sounds like a great idea, but it can be disastrous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Luckily, a firefighting crew in Sacramento put together a demonstration on how to safely deep fry a turkey. Their main advice is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

A local news crew headed out to a Sacramento Fire Department station to broadcast the demonstration ahead of the big holiday. And it’s a vital warning, as reporter Mike TeSelle revealed some grim facts about how often things go wrong on the day. “Thanksgiving has three times more calls of cooking fires than any other day of the year. The incidents average five deaths a year, 60 injuries, 900 homes destroyed, and some 15 million dollars in damage,” TeSelle said.

So, how can you safely deep fry a turkey? TeSelle read off the top tips from the firefighters.

1. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed.

The number one way to cause a massive fire when deep frying turkey is to add in a bird that’s not entirely thawed. Since the oil is so hot, it immediately reacts with the moisture from the bird and ignites. That’s why it’s so important to take your bird out of the freezer with plenty of time. In fact, a turkey expert said your bird should already be thawing one week ahead of Thanksgiving.

2. Lower it slowly.

You can’t just plop the bird in! If you do that, the sudden momentum and temperature change will cause the oil to splatter. That could be dangerous for everyone around the deep fryer, and can lead to fires if it catches on something nearby. Instead, hang the turkey on a pole and use two people to very slowly lower the bird in. It can take a few minutes but it’s important for the turkey to not cause any splatters.

3. Bring the oil to the right temperature — and measure it!

To further prevent problems with the hot oil, you should make sure it’s at the right temperature when you add the turkey. It should be right around 325 degrees, TeSelle said. If you let it get to 400 degrees or more, the oil can ignite and be very dangerous. You should also pre-measure the amount of oil you’re putting in the fryer. It can’t come all the way to the top or else there won’t be room for the turkey. That could lead to oil spilling over and igniting with the open flame.

Deep frying can make a truly delicious, moist, and juicy turkey — but it can be dangerous! Follow these tips to safely deep fry a turkey.

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