How to Avoid a Fried Turkey Fiasco
Fried turkeys are getting more popular every year, and for good reason. They're delicious! But without following a few tips, they can be very dangerous to prepare.
Turkeys should ALWAYS be fried outside. Just because you’ve been doing it in your garage for 10 years and never had a problem doesn’t mean it can't happen to you. Because the hot oil will spray everywhere when cooking, a 10’ radius around the fryer is necessary. It quickly starts a fire when making contact with combustible materials, such as wood or fabric. If the oil touches bare skin, it can also cause severe burns.
One common mistake people make is using a frozen turkey. This is because when a frozen turkey is submerged into a pot of oil, the oil doesn’t mix with the frozen water on the turkey. Instead, heavy pockets of water will sink to the bottom of the fryer while the oil surrounding them quickly heats it beyond its boiling point. The water then evaporates, expands, and splatters the oil everywhere, including the burner. Upon hitting the burner, the beads of oil ignite into flames that spread out in all directions. If you have marinated your turkey in a brine, make sure it is fully dry prior to putting in the oil.
Measure your oil carefully, making certain that it is 4-6” below rim after the turkey is placed in it. . When you lower the turkey in, be sure to be wearing oven mitts, long sleeves, pants, and closed-toed shoes. Hot oil will stick to bare skin, causing severe burns that can result in an emergency trip to the hospital.
Even a seasoned turkey fryer can have an accident that causes disaster. The turkey can slip from your hands when lowering it into the fryer or your rope-and-pulley system could break, spilling the oil everywhere and igniting a fire. The point is that something can always go wrong when frying a turkey; therefore, you should always be prepared and have a fire extinguisher by your side at all times.
Be safe and enjoy your holiday!