Safety Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey This Holiday Season

Using a deep fryer to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey has become a popular process in recent years. A deep-fried turkey is delicious and moist, but there are some safety concerns that come along with this process. Every single year, there are thousands of grease fires that lead to death and injury. If you plan on using this method of cooking your turkey this holiday season, we here at Williams DeLoatche, P.C. would like to share some safety tips to keep you and your guests safe.

Man carving a deep fried turkey next to two glasses of red wine and a side of green beans for Thanksgiving dinner

Set Up Away from Your Home

A turkey fryer is something that needs to be set up outside of the home for safety reasons, but you also want to make sure that you situate your fryer at least ten feet away from your home. Make sure it is protected from wind, so the fryer doesn’t get knocked over and debris doesn’t get blown into it. Your fryer should be placed on flat ground, such as a patio or driveway. You don’t want to put it on soft dirt where it could become unstable.

You also need to make sure that there isn’t the opportunity for children or pets to come into contact with the fryer. There’s a substantial amount of oil that’s needed to cook a turkey this way, and you don’t want someone to accidentally get splashed and burned with that hot oil. During the time that you are using your turkey fryer, you should keep an eye on it. Leaving the area unattended only sets the stage for a disaster and injury.

Prepare Your Turkey Ahead of Time

Before you actually place your turkey into a deep fryer for Thanksgiving, there is some prep work that will enhance the safety of the cooking process. You should thaw the turkey completely ahead of time. This cuts back on its water content. If the turkey is frozen, it could literally explode. If it’s partially frozen, it could end up making the oil splatter or bubble up to the point where a fire could start or someone could get burned. For this same reason, you should also dry your turkey using paper towels before it’s placed into the fryer.

Mom and daughter preparing the turkey to be deep fried for Thanksgiving

Don’t Use Too Much Oil

A lot of people assume that they should fill their fryer with oil all the way up to the top. While you want to make sure that your turkey is completely submerged during the cooking process, you have to take displacement into account. Overflowing your fryer could lead to a fire. Rather than having to remove hot oil (burn risk!) because you realize that you’ve used too much, do a test run with water to measure how much oil you’re actually going to need when the turkey is in place. Place your turkey in your empty fryer, fill the pot with water, then take the bird out and make note of where the new water line is. Your oil should be filled no higher than that line. (In fact, you may want to fill it a little lower.)

Grandma serving the Thanksgiving turkey while daughter and granddaughter look on

Keep an Eye on the Temperature

Once your deep fryer is turned on, you’ll want to use caution whenever you’re handling it or are around it. Depending on how your fryer is set up, the lid and the handles may become very hot. If you’re not watching the temperature adequately, you could quickly grab onto something that would burn your skin. A lot of fryers don’t have a thermostat built into the unit, so you’ll want to invest in a thermometer and use that throughout the cooking process.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher on Hand

The goal is to not have to use a fire extinguisher at any point during your Thanksgiving meal preparation, but it’s better to have it on hand just in case. For this type of equipment, a small, dry-powder extinguisher will suffice. You should check it yearly to make sure that it still works.

Large family around the table at Thanksgiving with deep fried turkey, sides, and drinks

It’s important that you know there is help available to you if something goes wrong at your home while you’re preparing your Thanksgiving turkey and somebody gets hurt. You can reach out to our experienced staff here at Williams DeLoatche, P.C. We offer premises liability support, which is necessary if somebody gets injured on your property. Whether you’re responsible for the injury that occurred or not, we are happy to take a look at your case to see how we can support you through this process.