According to a survey by the National Turkey Federation, eighty-eight percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also has one of the highest percentages of home fires caused by cooking – especially since turkey fryer fires have hit the scene. The U.S. Fire Administration reports Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, with more than three times the daily average for such incidents, which causes an average of $28 million in property damage each year. In 2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,400 home-cooking fires on Thanksgiving. While deep-fried turkey may seem like a tasty alternative to the traditionally oven-roasted variety, deep-frying an entire bird can be extremely dangerous. If you're planning to try this technique at home, be sure to read all of our turkey fryer safety tips ahead of time to keep yourself, your home, and your guests safe.
Dangers Of Deep Frying A Turkey
Any time a home cook opts to deep fry, there's a risk for burns or injuries caused by splash-back from the hot oil needed for the frying process. Deep frying a turkey requires a significant amount of oil heated to temperatures of 350 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Oil is combustible, and at high temperatures, the risk for cooking oil vapors to ignite increases. Moreover, the risk of severe burns is high when deep frying a turkey. The fryer stand can tip, boil over, spill, or splash hot oil. Using too much oil or trying to fry a wet, partially defrosted, or frozen turkey can have catastrophic results.
Safety Tip: Thoroughly thaw and completely dry your turkey before deep frying.
Turkey Frying Safety Tips
Before frying your turkey, consider and follow each of these vital and potentially life-saving safety tips:
- Follow all instructions on your turkey fryer
- Never overfill the oil in a turkey fryer
- Always be sure the turkey has been properly and thoroughly thawed
- DO NOT stuff a turkey that you intend to deep-fry
- Never use a turkey fryer inside
- Never use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck or patio, which can easily catch fire
- Fry turkeys in flat, open environments, away from trees, buildings, overhangs, and tripping hazards
- Keep children and pets away from your turkey fryer at all times
- Turn the burner off when putting your turkey in or taking it out of the fryer
- Never use ice to cool hot oil – oil and water don't mix
- Wear safety goggles and heavy-duty mitts while frying
- Don't touch the sides of a hot fryer without protection
- Always have an all-purpose or grease fire extinguisher nearby when frying
ServiceMaster Restore urges everyone to follow our turkey fryer safety recommendations for a safe and successful turkey frying experience. Even if you have been frying turkeys for years, accidents can still happen. A cooking fire can be devastating, causing injury and severe damage to your home or property. If an accident does happen, you can always call the experts at ServiceMaster Restore at 1-800-RESPOND. We'll be there to help get you 24/7/365, even on Thanksgiving. Check out our blog for more general Thanksgiving safety tips.