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Thanksgiving safety tips for frying a turkey without setting fire to your home


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This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 2019 with tips on the best ways to manage the holiday season.

Deep-frying makes everything taste good, including Thanksgiving turkey. But deep-frying a turkey is a serious undertaking and, as countless flame-flooded YouTube videos & # 39; s confirm, incredibly dangerous if done wrong. So here are some tips about deep-frying turkey – and what can't do .

First buy the right equipment

There are turkey fryers and you should buy them if you plan to fry your bird. Assembling a self-made rig is badly advised for safety reasons. But you have more than one option when it comes to a commercial turkey fryer.


This oil-free turkey fryer is great for those who are reckless in dealing with a literally barrel of boiling hot fat, plus there is no used cooking oil to throw away – but it is also technically not fried (in the same way the frying food is not fried technically but it is still nice and crispy). It uses a propane tank and infrared heat to "roast" the turkey and accommodates birds up to 16 pounds.


This electric fryer is the real deal (because it is frying your turkey in a pool of oil). There is an oil drain valve for easier cleaning up and it costs a turkey up to 20 pounds; however, we do not recommend trying to reach the maximum. The company says it's safe for indoor use, but according to some reviews you might want to take it to the garage because of the deep-fried turkey scent that will penetrate the room – great in the run-up to the meal, not so much three days later, when it still hangs in the air.


This is your traditional outdoor turkey fryer with a portable gas burner and a huge metal pot. It also contains a turkey rack and lifting hook, an aluminum frying pan, a perforated cookie basket and a thermometer. It requires more care when using it and should never, ever be used indoors, but your 20-pound turkey should also fit nicely.

Be sure to use the thermometer to monitor the oil temperature, because if it gets too hot, it can catch fire in the blink of an eye. You need a propane tank to connect it.

Choose the right oil

The makers of the Bayou Classic turkey fryer recommend peanut oil, because the high smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit allows the oil to reach the right temperature to properly roast the turkey without it having a burnt taste to give .

Canola, another popular frying oil, has a smoke point of only 400 degrees and will turn your turkey into charcoal if you are not careful.

If peanut allergy is a problem, corn oil also has a smoke point of 450 degrees, but the taste is slightly less neutral than that of peanut oil.

Whatever you do, do not use extra virgin olive oil: Aside from bringing you into the poorhouse, five gallons of it at 350 degrees will create a blazing hell – the smoking point is only 320 degrees.

Read more about Chowhound: A manual for common frying oils

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What NOT to do

  • Do not forget to read the manual of the fryer you are using well in advance. They contain safety tips and correct usage guidelines for very good reason. Meet them before the turkey day arrives.
  • Do not place the fryer on uneven ground, on a wooden surface, on grass or somewhere too close to a house, outbuildings or flammable objects (such as trees). The general rule is at least 10 feet away from all such things.
  • Do not use oil with a low smoke point as noted above.
  • Do not fill the pot with oil or (of course) it will overflow and ignite in a fireball when you leave the turkey in it.
  • Do not drop the turkey in ; slowly and carefully lower it into the hot oil so that it does not move any grease over the sides.
  • Do not place frozen turkey in the fryer ; the sudden change in temperature can also cause an explosion of flames. Make sure you completely defrost and dry the turkey before you cook.
  • Do not leave the fryer unattended . Not even for a hot second. And don't keep your eyes off the thermometer too long.
  • Do not allow children, pets or drunken friends or relatives anywhere near the fryer for a few hours after you have finished, because it takes a while for all the fat to cool down.
  • Do not mock with the right safety equipment including heat-resistant gloves and glasses (do you really want to take risks with so much hot oil?).
  • Do not fry a turkey lightly because it seriously has the potential to kill you, maim you and your loved ones, and set your house on fire if it goes wrong. Respect the process and take appropriate precautions.
  • If the fryer catches fire, do not pour water on it .


Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand and make sure that this oil can extinguish and fire to burn. Familiarize yourself with how it works in advance.

How to fry a turkey

If you are not afraid yet, check out the recipe of fried turkey from Chowhound (with a southern rub and instructions for the & # 39; brining the turkey overnight) and see step -by van Chowhound -step guide for frying a turkey to guide you through the process in more detail.

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What to do with all the remaining fat

So you have successfully fried your turkey without incident. Congrats! What do you do with all the oil?

Let it cool first. Do not attempt to move the fryer until it is fairly close to room temperature. If you press the oil through cheese cloth to remove all particles, you can use the oil again. Simply place it back in the original container and store at room temperature. However, you may not want to use it again for frying – when oil is heated to frying temperature several times, the smoke point drops.

But if five gallons is more peanut oil than you'll ever use, there are ways to get rid of it without pouring it into the drain (don't do that) or putting it in your trash. Bayou Classic recommends taking waste oil to your local recycling center – after you have called to check if they accept food grade oils. From there it will be turned into all kinds of things.

When the Chowhound team first fried a turkey in 2006, they gave their 10 gallons of used oil to the writer James Nestor from San Francisco, who said it would send his Mercedes 300D with vegetable oil from San Francisco to Big Sur bring and back – almost 300 miles. So maybe you can give it to someone with a car that runs on straight, unprocessed waste vegetable oil, or someone who can turn it into biodiesel (a non-toxic, biodegradable and clean-burning fuel made from vegetable oil or animal fat that must be processed a little and then be able to drive a diesel car).

Or make it like a restaurant kitchen and pay to have your oil transported by a professional waste disposal company.

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Originally published earlier this week.

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