Posted by: Christy Poteete | November 21, 2011

Don’t Be a Turkey When It Comes To Safety

This Thanksgiving season, keep food and fire safety at the top of your list. Deep frying turkey is all the rage these days and it is delicious when prepared this way…so tender and moist.  As with many things in life, in order to achieve the desired outcome we must follow the proper steps and understand that there are some safety concerns to keep in mind along the way.  Failing to follow the proper steps can do more than just leave a bad taste in your mouth…in this case you can literally get burned. 

 

Some tips to remember when frying a turkey.

  • Never fill the frying pot with more oil than is necessary to submerge the turkey.  On most commercially purchased pots, fill lines will be marked on the inside based on the size of turkey you are frying.  If the pot that you are using does not have fill lines then a good rule of thumb is to not exceed more than ¾ of volume of the pot.  Too much oil in the frying pot can cause an overflow when the Turkey is inserted resulting in the hot oil spilling onto the burner and causing a fire.
  • A simple way to determine the amount of oil needed  is by place the turkey in the pot, adding water until it the turkey is submerged, removing the turkey, and marking the water line with a sharpie to show you how much oil will be needed.  Be sure to thoroughly dry the pot before adding the oil and placing it on the burner as water and oil do not mix.  Residual water will “boil off” once the oil temperature rises and can cause a dangerous fire scenario.
  • Ensure that the turkey is completely thawed.  If a turkey is placed into hot oil without being completely thawed a reaction will occur similar to water except to a much greater degree.  The oil pot can literally explode while you are holding the turkey.  A turkey can be safely thawed by placing it on a tray and allowing it to warm up slowly in the refrigerator.  Allow 24 hours of thawing for every 4 to 5 pounds of poultry.
  • Only use turkey fryers outside and on a level surface.  Keep them a safe distance from your home, children, pets, or vehicles.  Should a fire occur it will be violent so it is not safe to use Turkey fryers on your deck or in a garage as the fire can spread quickly to your home.  Use extreme caution if you plan to fry a turkey while it is raining and strongly consider other cooking options if available.  
  • Be sure to clean the turkey, your hands, and any area that may have been exposed to dripping in order to cut down on the spread of bacteria.
  • Cook your turkey until the thickest part of the bird reaches 185 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Remove the turkey from the fryer very slowly and carefully as the oil will be in excess of 200.  Dropping the turkey back into the oil could be very dangerous. 
  • Oil cools very slowly so the fryer will stay hot several hours.  Take steps to ensure that children, pets, and activities remain at a safe distance to prevent accidental burns.    

By following these simple steps you can help to ensure that your turkey day remains a day of Thanksgiving and not a day of sorrow.


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