The latest trend in holiday feasts is fried turkey. While it's crispy outside, and juicey seared inside is a special treat, frying a turkey can be rather dangerous. In fact, the US Fire Administration reports that Thanksgiving Day sees more in-home fire reports than any other day, largely due to improper cooking methods.
Many cases are the result of people frying turkeys indoors, which is a no-no. That being said, here are some additional—and equally important—turkey frying risks to be aware of even when cooking these birds up outdoors.
Don’t Be a Turkey! Know the Risks Before Frying Yours
Anything involving heat and especially oil poses certain risks, even in outdoor environments. Let’s explore a few of those here.
- Hot oil splashes while cooking are a big concern and can result in severe injury to the skin and eyes.
- Frozen turkeys cannot be placed in the fryer without sourcing intense splashing of the oil. To avoid spattering grease, completely thaw your bird before dipping it into the fryer.
- The average turkey fryer uses about five gallons of oil, and turkeys tend to be heavy. Should it suddenly slip and fall into the grease upon removal, a substantial amount of oil will spill over. If a propane fryer is being used, a serious fire could start.
- Most fryers come with stands that can be tipped over fairly easily. These collapses causes oil to go everywhere, putting anyone around at risk. There are some countertop models that can be used on tables outdoors that are more stable.
- Don’t fry turkeys when it’s raining. Water and oil don’t mix and result in spatter or steam that can result in burns.
- Keep kids and pets away from the fryer, because we know that accidents happen with pets and kids are…well, they like to touch out of curiosity not realizing the risks.
Frying a Turkey? Tips for Turkey Frying Safety
Whether it’s your first turkey frying experience or 500th, following these tips can keep you and those around you safer. This advice can be potentially life-saving, not to mention that it could prevent a major fire that destroys your property and perhaps even your neighbors'.
- Check out the new oil-less turkey fryers on the market today. Not only will you avoid the fatty grease but the risks that come with using it.
- Avoid overfilling the fryer, and follow the guidelines in the instruction booklet.
- Don’t use turkey fryers on wooden platforms such as patios or decks that can lead to a serious fire should an incident occur.
- Avoid frying the turkey directly beneath flammables like overhead roofing, trees or overhangs.
- Completely thaw your turkey prior to frying.
- Keep kids and animals at a good distance from the fryer. You might want to put a pet in a room or leash them while cooking.
- Never attempt to fry a turkey that has been stuffed.
- Always turn the burner off when putting the turkey in (restart after insertion) and taking it out.
- Have a fire extinguisher or grease fire retardant nearby, and wear heavy duty mitts and goggles at all times.
- Never touch the sides of a hot fryer without adequate hand protection.
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Throughout The Woodlands and Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Emergency Communication District (MCECD) has streamlined communications between 9-1-1 and emergency dispatch services.