Thanksgiving is on its way, and for most of us, that means turkey. In recent years, fried turkey has grown significantly in popularity; this has led to a lot more people deciding to pick up a large fryer and try their hand at frying their own at home. Unfortunately, this has led to a sharp increase in fryer-related accidents as well. Nothing can ruin a Thanksgiving faster than fryer incidents that result in burns, fires or other serious problems.
To that end, let’s look at a few ways to keep your turkey-frying adventures safe. Whether you’re a first-time fryer or a seasoned turkey-frying pro, here are some things to keep in mind to help keep your holiday safe.
Picking the Right Fryer
There are a few different options available when it comes to turkey fryers. You can opt for a propane fryer that heats with a burner or an electric fryer that you need to plug in. Regardless of the option you choose, make sure that it has temperature controls so that you can keep the oil below its smoke point. One of the big causes of fires at Thanksgiving is that people turn turkey fryers up too high and the oil starts to burn.
Proper Turkey Preparation
While everyone loves the thought of a big juicy turkey as a centerpiece, if you’re frying a turkey, you’re better off going with a smaller bird. Ideally you should opt for a turkey that’s no more than 8 to 10 pounds, or 12 pounds at the upper limit. While fryers can typically handle more than this, bigger birds are more likely to cause oil spills as you put them into the fryer pot. Make sure that frozen turkeys are completely thawed and patted dry and avoid using any water-based marinades to season the bird. Dry brining or other dry rubs are best when prepping your turkey.
Choosing the Right Location
Make sure that your fryer is on a flat, level and solid surface before filling it with oil. Don’t place the fryer on a deck, porch or other area where the surface underneath could shift or shake as people walk by. Don’t place the fryer under trees, near piles of leaves or around other flammable materials. If possible, place the fryer in a place that doesn’t get much foot traffic and where you can easily keep children and pets away.
Watch the Weather
Rain, snow and other inclement weather can cause major problems with turkey fryers, so only fry a turkey outside if the weather will be nice for the entire time that the fryer is hot. If you have a covered carport or garage then this may be a safe place to fry the turkey provided that it can’t be affected by heavy winds or other weather problems.
Be Safe While Frying
Wear eye protection, heat-protectant gloves and long sleeves while around the fryer. Always place the turkey into the oil slowly, don’t just drop it in. If using propane, turn the burner off before placing the turkey in the oil and then turn it back on once the risk of splashes or spills is over. Make sure that somebody is watching the fryer at all times, even if everything seems to be going well.
Have Your Bases Covered
Everyone wants to have a perfect holiday, but it never hurts to plan for the what-ifs and accidents that can take us by surprise.