Dangers of Frying a Turkey

getty-turkeyfryerfireman_1500_2763453.jpg - Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News
The fire department wants you to be safe if you decide to deep fry your turkey.  Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News

In recent years deep-frying turkeys has become increasingly popular. The cooking method requires placing the turkey in three gallons or more of oil, heated by propane.

Before you ever get near the deep fryer, The Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department wants you to know that, however you cook your turkey, safety starts with proper thawing. Leaving a turkey out on a counter to thaw can cause Salmonella.

Turkey (and all meats and fish, really) should be thawed in the refrigerator. Give yourself enough time to properly thaw your turkey. Here are the USDA guidelines for thawing a whole turkey in the refrigerator:

  • 4 to 12 pounds: one to three days
  • 12 to 16 pounds: three to four days
  • 16 to 20 pounds: four to five days
  • 20 to 24 pounds: five to six days

The Avondale Fire Rescue Professionals warn that cooking with deep-fat turkey fryers can be very dangerous as they have a high risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil. That could lead to fires, burns, or other injuries.

Dangers of Frying a Turkey

Here are 5 dangers associated with deep frying a turkey, according to the Avondale Fire Department.

  1. Units can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  2. An overfilled cooking pot or partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is inserted.
  3. A small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.
  4. Without thermostat controls, deep fryers have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  1. The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot, creating severe burn hazards.

Avondale Fire Rescue advises against using a turkey fryer. If you decide to do it anyway, these precautions should be followed.

If You Fry a Turkey

  • Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.
  • Do not overfill the fryer.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended because, without thermostat controls, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.
  • Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers nearby.
  • If a turkey fryer fire occurs, call 911 immediately.

For more information on Avondale Rescue Safety tips, contact Avondale Fire Rescue at 623-333-6112 or visit them online.

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