Deep-fried turkey is popular for Thanksgiving. When safely done, it’s a fun and tasty experience for the whole family. However, when proper precautions are not taken, deep frying a turkey can be dangerous.
The members of Pennsylvania Propane Gas Association want to help ensure that your family and friends have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Here are a few tips from our propane experts:
Buy the right equipment
Your pot should be at least 30 quarts. Your propane burner and stand must be sturdy, capable of holding the weight of the heavy pot, gallons of oil and a bird. We recommend buying a turkey fryer kit that includes the hanger and thermometer.
Smaller turkeys (8-10 lbs.) and turkey parts are best for frying. If a bigger turkey is needed, detach the dark meat from the breast and fry the sections separately.
Properly thaw your turkey
Completely thaw (USDA recommends 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs.) and dry turkey before submerging in fryer, as partially frozen or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter.
How much oil do you need?
While estimating just how much oil can be difficult, it is absolutely imperative to not overfill your pot. Follow these steps:
- Place the turkey in an empty fryer
- Fill the fryer with water until the level is ½ inch above submerged turkey
- Remove and dry the turkey
- Mark the water level after the turkey has been taken out and dump the water
- Dry the pot and refill with oil to the marked level
Speaking of oil, most deep-fryer accidents occur while the oil is being heated. For this reason, it is very important to monitor the temperature of the oil closely. If any smoke at all is noticed rising from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated (the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire).
Protect bare skin by wearing long gloves when handling a hot turkey. Since you are dealing with hot oil, you cannot put out potential fires with water. Water will spread the fire. Have a fire extinguisher (multipurpose, dry powder) ready at all times in the event the oil ignites.
Final tip: Use common sense
While this list may seem long, deep frying a turkey is a great way to shake up your holiday traditions. A little common sense will go a long way in terms of safety; never leave the fryer unattended.; keep your pot on a level surface, do not fry your turkey on or under a garage, breezeway, carport or porch; towards the end of a driveway is he safest; and place fryer in full view and in an open area away from all walls, fences, or other structures (especially wooden decks).
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