Don't Be a Turkey! Important Safety Information on Frying a Turkey

Written by on 11/16/2012 6:45 AM in , , . It has 0 Comments.

 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to be with friends and family, and enjoy great food.  As much of this magic comes from the kitchen it is important to keep some simple safety tips in mind so you don't become the latest hit on You Tube.  According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving Day has the greatest number of kitchen fires.  The largest source of kitchen fires is frying.  Add these two facts together and frying a turkey for Thanksgiving may not be the best idea.

It should be noted that the NFPA states that turkey fryers that use oil are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.  NFPA does not believe that consumer education alone can make the risks of either type of turkey fryer acceptably low because of the large quantities of hot oil involved and the speed and severity of burn likely to occur with contact.

That said, many Americans will fry their turkey this holiday season given how delicious it is and how quickly it cooks.  If you are one of these Americans, please be aware of the following dangers:

  • In deep frying, oil is heated to at least 350 degrees. The cooking oil is combustible, and if it is heated beyond its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite. This is a fire danger separate from the burn danger inherent in the hot oil. Overheating can occur if temperature controls are defective, or if the appliance has no temperature controls
  • Units can easily tip over, spilling hot oil over a large area and igniting
  • An overfilled cooking pot will overflow when the turkey is placed in it, causing the oil to catch fire
  • A partially frozen turkey will splatter the oil causing a physical burn of skin and/or fire from the flame.

I hate to be Debbie-Downer about how to cook a turkey and enjoy the holidays, but this really is a big deal.  If you decide that you want to live life on the wild side and fry that turkey, please follow these guidelines:

  • Always fry your turkey outdoors, on a level surface and away from any building or flammable materials.
  • Never fry on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or other enclosed space.
  • Do not overfill the fryer with oil.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.  The oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Keep pets, children and those who have had a few drinks away from the fryer as the oil will remain hot for hours.
  • Use well-insulated potholder and wear long cleaves, safety goggles and closed shoes to protect yourself from splatter
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before placed in fryer
  • Have fire extinguisher handy
  • If a fire occurs, call 911 immediately.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind.  For some more cooking safety tips, visit HPM's Cooking Safety page.  If you are trying to convince someone else not to fry the turkey, go onto YouTube and look up turkey fryer fires.  There are plenty of examples of what NOT to do.  Be safe and happy holidays!

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