Fryer Safety For Thanksgiving Day and Beyond

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — This week it’s all about the turkey, with 46 million turkeys winding up on the dinner tables of American households – that’s about 736 million total pounds, according to the National Turkey Federation.

Most family chefs will roast the turkey in an oven, but a growing number will stretch their culinary muscles by deep-frying their birds, a trend the NTF warns could lead to fire or injury.

If you’re rolling out the deep fryer or otherwise using a gas-powered appliance to cook your turkey, take the risk out of the equation with the following tips from the CSA Group, a Cleveland-based safety advocacy organization.

The rep work

Warning signs: If you’re using a turkey fryer, review the manufacture’s instructions thoroughly, giving special consideration to the “warnings” section. The CSA says any decent turkey fryer will be accredited by certified standards agencies, meaning it meets “applicable national standards.” Look for that certification before you buy a fryer.

Account for wind: Keep the liquid propane cylinder as far from the fryer burner as possible and make sure any wind blows the heat as far away as possible from the propane tank.

No wood: Don’t set your turkey fryer on a platform such as a wooden deck that can catch fire. Better to use the driveway or another non-combustible surface.

Cooking safety

Fully-thaw your turkey. The CSA says that deep-frying an either fully-frozen or partially-frozen is a huge no-no. Frozen turkeys may cause oil to spill out and over your fryer and that could trigger a fire. Make sure to take 24 hours to thaw your bird and alleviate the fire risk.

Dry cycle. Make sure you dry the turkey before you fry it. Focus on the turkey cavity, where water and ice are more likely to accumulate. The CSA also advises avoiding marinades that might combust with heated fryer oil.

Cap it at 400. Never exceed heating the oil above 40 degrees. Use a thermometer, which should come with your fryer, to gauge the fryer’s temperature. Check the temperature on a regular basis and shut the gas valve off if you notice smoke.

Invest in some big mitts. Cooking a turkey in a fryer is nothing like handling a bird in the oven. Invest in some well-insulated oven mitts and always use them when you’re around the fryer. Be especially careful when you’re lowering the bird into the fryer; any overflow can lead to burns and injury. Keep kids and pets away, and lower the turkey slowly into the fryer, the CSA advises.

Don’t put out a fire with water. The CSA says that, if your fryer does catch fire, don’t use water to put out the fire. Instead, clear the area and call 911.

When you’re done frying your bird, don’t drain any oil or remove any pot from the fryer cools down to 115-degrees.

To actually fry your turkey, take these tips from TurkeyFryersOnline.com.

When frying a turkey, cook it 3.5 minutes per pound at 350°F. For a crispier skin, add an extra five minutes to your frying time. For best results, fry a 16-pound turkey or less. If frying a bigger turkey, you'll end up with turkey jerky for the legs and wings by the time you get the breast done.

Here’s to a happy – and healthy – deep-fried turkey experience this holiday.

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