An established favorite in the southern United States, deep-fried turkeys have experienced a boom in popularity in recent years due to exposure from celebrities such as Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse.
Many say that the quality is increased when you use a turkey fryer, and at the proper temperature the taste is locked within the turkey, making sure every bite is succulent, juicy, and bursting with flavor. One advantage is that they are not just for Thanksgiving anymore. You can take one anywhere there is space to safely use it.
Above all, remember the cardinal rule: a turkey fryer should never be left unattended. Frying a turkey is not like baking one. You cannot simply throw it in the oven and leave it to cook. Many people turn the time into bonding with friends and family. This has evolved into a social event rather than a conventional cooking experience.
Though taste has been a deciding factor in whether or not to deep fry a bird, certain safety issues arise that should be considered to ensure that your experience is a memorable one.
Important Turkey Fryer Safety Tips:
- Turkey deep fryers should always be placed outside, a safe distance away from buildings and other combustible materials.
- Never use on wooden decks or inside garages.
- To reduce the risk of tipping, always place your turkey fryer on a flat surface.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful of marinades before placing it in the pot. Excess water in partially frozen turkeys will cause the pot to overflow, resulting in a fire hazard. The National Turkey Federation recommends 24 hours of thawing for every 5 lbs of bird before cooking.
- Be careful to not overfill with oil. If overfilled, the oil may spill over, engulfing the entire unit and possibly injuring bystanders.
- Most turkey fryers do not come with a thermostat, and if left unattended the unit may overheat the oil, resulting in combustion. Turkey fryer themometers and other accessories are available.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and handles become very hot, posing a severe burn threat. Before touching the pot, cover your hands with oven mitts or use well-insulated potholders. Whenever possible, use protective eyewear.
- Make sure an all-purpose extinguisher is handy at all times. Never use water to put out a grease fire. Use common sense when fighting a fire. If it is within reason, use the extinguisher to put it out. If the fire is unmanageable, dial 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.
- Even after you are finished cooking, do not let pets or children near the unit. The oil in the container remains extremely hot for hours after cooking.
- And remember the most important safety tip of all: NEVER leave a turkey fryer unattended.
Follow these safety tips and you should be well on your way to enjoying a delicious, deep-fried turkey!