Safety tips for frying a turkey this Thanksgiving

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CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Although frying turkeys is a popular way to prepare your Thanksgiving main course, hot oil poses significant safety risks, including tipping the fryer or contacting the oil with the burners. Turkey fryers can also have temperature control flaws, potentially causing the oil to overheat and cause combustion. Frying a turkey could put someone’s life in danger.

The Corpus Christi Fire Department would like to remind residents of the dangers of using turkey fryers when preparing holiday meals.

Here are some tips to help reduce the risks associated with cooking with turkey fryers:

  • Read and follow all instructions that came with your fryer
  • Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors, placed on a flat surface and located safely away from buildings and other materials that can burn.
  • Do not use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck, wood surface or in a garage
  • Never leave the fryer unattended
  • Watch the oil temperature carefully to avoid overheating. If the oil continues to rise in temperature, it could catch fire
  • Only fry smaller turkeys – up to 12 pounds
  • Use oils with high smoke points, such as peanut, canola, and safflower. If you use peanut oil, make sure none of your guests have a peanut allergy
  • To determine how much oil you need, put the turkey in the basket and place it in the pot. Add water until it reaches one to two inches above the turkey. Lift the turkey and use a ruler to measure the distance between the water and the top of the fryer. This will be the amount of oil you need to use. Pour out the water and dry the fryer completely before filling the pan with oil
  • It can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to heat the oil, depending on several factors including outside temperature, wind and weather conditions.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed. Pat the turkey dry with paper towel before placing it in the fryer to prevent the hot oil from splattering and bursting
  • Be sure to lower the turkey VERY SLOWLY into the hot oil
  • You must maintain an oil temperature of 350ºF. At this temperature, fry the turkey for three to four minutes per pound. Cooking time for a 10-12 pound turkey is approximately 35-42 minutes
  • Do not let children or pets near the fryer when it is in use or hours after use while the oil is hot and dangerous
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety glasses
  • Always keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to put out a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If fire escalates, call 911 immediately for assistance

For more information, contact the Corpus Christi Fire Department at 826-3900.

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