Safety Tips to Consider Before Deep Frying the Turkey

As Thanksgiving approaches, many people are looking for the best recipes for preparing the perfectly cooked turkey that would entertain and impress family and friends. Deep fried turkey has become popular in the recent years thanks to the availability of the cookers as well as the popularity of celebrity chefs and the cooking shows on which they are demonstrated.

Westchester Medical Center has put together a list of safety tips for deep frying a turkey and would like to remind all cooks about the dangers associated with the improper use of turkey deep fryers.

“There are many burn hazards in the kitchen and around the house centered around cooking to begin with, adding the use of a deep fryer for a turkey poses a significant risk of serious burns and fires,” said Dr. Joseph Turkowski, Director of the Regional Burn Center at Westchester Medical Center. “These pots are filled with 300 degree boiling oil, making them as flammable as gasoline, so before you even begin to cook your turkey, they are already a potential hazard and in many cases an accident waiting to happen. Every year around this time we see patients with serious burns as a result of misuse and carelessness.”

Cooking a turkey in a deep fryer should only be done outdoors in a well ventilated area well clear of buildings and any other combustible material. The fryers should be placed on a flat, firm surface, and should never be placed on a wooden deck in a garage or inside your home. “Make sure your turkey is fully defrosted. Never place a frozen turkey into the hot oil. In addition to rapid displacement of boiling oil which may come in contact with the ignition source and cause a fire, serious burns can occur as ice under the turkey’s skin rapidly defrosts and turns to steam which rises sending boiling oil into the air around the fryer. “Children should be closely monitored when a turkey fryer is in use and it should never be left unattended,” added Dr. Turkowski.

Safety Tips:

  • Always, read the instructions and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.
  • Make sure your turkey is fully defrosted before you place it in the fryer.
  • Never deep-fry inside your home.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Cordon off the cooking area. Keep pets and children out of the area.
  • Keep the birds to a manageable size.
  • Know how much oil will safely fit in your deep fryer and how much oil will be displaced.
  • Monitor the temperature.

For more information on the safe use of turkey fryers, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website

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