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Tips and tricks for frying a turkey without setting fire to your home


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This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 201

9 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 frying turkey – and what can't do .

Get the right equipment first

Turkey fryers exist and you should buy one 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 frying pan with turkey.


This oil-free turkey fryer is great for those who are reckless in handling a literally boiling barrel hot fat, plus there is no used cooking oil to throw away – but technically it is not fried (1945) deep-frying food is not technically fried but 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 ° F 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 ° F and will turn your turkey into charcoal if you are not careful.

If peanut allergies are a problem, corn oil also has a 450 ° F smoke point, but the taste is slightly less neutral than that of peanut oil.

Whatever you do, don't use extra virgin olive oil: Aside from putting you in the poorhouse, five gallons of it at 350 ° F will create a blazing hell – the smoking point is only 320 ° F.

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 have included safety tips and correct usage guidelines for a 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 jar 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 cools down all the fat.
  • 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?).
  • generally don't fry a turkey lightly because it seriously has the potential to kill you, maim you and your loved ones and / or set your house on fire if it goes wrong. Respect the process and take appropriate precautions.
  • If the fryer catches fire, do not put 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 for fried turkey from Chowhound (with a southern friction and instructions for boiling the turkey dry overnight) and see step -for- Chowhound step-by-step guide for deep-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 several times to frying temperature, its smoke point drops.

But if five gallons is more peanut oil than you'll ever use, there are ways to get rid of it, by not pouring it in the drain (don't do that) or putting it in the 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 baked a turkey in 2006, they gave their 10 gallons of used oil to the writer James Nestor from San Francisco, who said it would take his vegetable – oil engine 1978 Mercedes 300D from San Francisco to Big Sur and back – almost 300 miles. So maybe you can give it to someone with a car that runs on straight, unprocessed vegetable waste oil (WVO), or someone who can turn it into biodiesel (a non-toxic, biodegradable and clean-burning fuel made from vegetable oil or animal fat which first needs to be processed a little, and then can drive a diesel car).

Or make like a restaurant kitchen and pay to bring a oil to a professional waste processor.

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