This post was originally published on November 19, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, football and home-cooked meals. When planning Thanksgiving dinner, many Americans opt for deep-fried turkeys. While deep-frying creates a delicious and juicy turkey, it’s also much more dangerous than traditional oven roasting.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires. In 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day. Without proper safety precautions, deep-frying can result in burns and fires. Protect yourself and your family this Thanksgiving season using these tips.
How to Prep for Deep-Frying a Turkey
The first thing you’ll need is appropriate equipment. If cooking a whole turkey, a 30-quart, deep-fryer pot with an insert basket should do the trick.
It’s vital that you cook in a pot large enough for your turkey. A pot too small runs the very real risk of overflowing oil, which can cause burns and fires.
Set up your station outside, at least 20 feet away from the house, garage and other flammable materials. Have handy:
- A cooking thermometer
- Fresh oil
- Steel wire or baker’s twine to truss the turkey
Heat the oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, carefully and slowly lower in the completely thawed turkey. While thawing can extend the cooking process, a partially frozen turkey has a greater risk of causing a fire or explosion.
Remember, buoyancy plays a big role in the deep-frying process. Since solid displaces liquid, it is important to have an exact measurement of how much oil per pound of turkey is necessary. Too much oil, and it’ll overflow; too little oil and your turkey won’t cook properly.
As a general rule of thumb, let the turkey cook for a total of three minutes per pound. Then, let it cool outside of the oil for roughly 15 minutes before carving.
What to Wear During Cooking
Proper attire is a must when deep frying. To prevent fires and burns, wear:
- Closed-toe shoes.
- Long pants.
- Long-sleeved shirt.
- A long, heavy pair of oil-resistant, heat-resistant cooking gloves.
Safety Precautions for Deep Frying a Turkey
Safety should be your first priority when deep frying. Take these precautionary steps:
- Keep a fire extinguisher close in case of mishaps.
- Have a first-aid kit handy.
- Write out emergency numbers, and keep them nearby.
- Test home fire and smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly.
- Follow proper food preparation safety practices.
In the case of a fire, a monitored security system can sound your alarms and immediately contact your 24/7 operators to dispatch emergency services.
Contact a member of the Vector Security team today to learn more about protecting your home and loved ones with our custom home security solutions.