For those of you, like me, who plan to fry a turkey for Thanksgiving, here are some safety tips from experts (I don’t count myself one, though it’s a family tradition).
On the safety checklist is setting up the fryer far enough away from the house. Another big safety reminder is making sure that the turkey isn’t frozen when it descends into bubbling peanut oil.
But there are plenty of other potential pitfalls. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences points out that some of the most serious injuries are caused by faulty or misused equipment, like unstable fryer stands, uninsulated pot handles and/or fry pots that have been overfilled with oil.
Filling the pot too full of oil can cause the oil to spill over when the turkey is placed in the pot. In addition to creating an oily mess, spillovers at cooking temperatures can cause severe burns.
Whole turkeys require about 3 minutes per pound to cook. To be sure your bird is safely cooked, the temperature must reach at least 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast. Some cooks prefer the innermost part of the thigh to reach 180 degrees.
You may be nervous about lowering a 12-pound turkey into 8 gallons of bubbling oil in a pot suspended over an open propane flame. That’s understandable. Fortunately, there are now electric fryers available that take some of this guesswork out of the process, too.
Andy Miller is editor and CEO of Georgia Health News.
Check out this video from Orange County Florida firefighters to see what can happen if you place a frozen turkey in a fryer too full of hot oil.