Don’t Be a Turkey: How to Safely Fry Your Turkey This Thanksgiving Season

turkey-4249165_640When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, we all know that the bird is the star of the show. While the iconic picture is of mom (or grandma) pulling the perfectly roasted turkey from the oven and carrying it lovingly to the table to be carved, not everyone enjoys roasting their turkeys. Between the messy pan cleanup, the difficulty in gauging temperature, and the constant battle between serving a raw bird and having dry meat that no one wants to eat, alternative cooking methods have become a mission for many. In recent years, the most popular choice has been deep-frying turkey. It’s no wonder, with it’s close cousin the fried chicken being such a staple (and delicious) menu item…but it carries its own set of risks.

Deep frying turkeys is responsible for a huge number of injuries, damage claims, and house fires each year. Thanks to the high temperature, the large amount of oil, and inappropriate frying conditions, the process is dangerous to say the least, especially when handled irresponsibly. Does that mean you shouldn’t fry your turkey? Not necessarily, but if you choose to cook the Thanksgiving bird in this way, there are some safety tips you need to keep in mind.

First, choose your cooking surface carefully. Outdoor environments ONLY should be used when frying a turkey, but that’s not the only requirement. Surfaces should be flat and level, free of any flammable materials (including dry grass), and a safe distance away from any houses or other structures (like garden sheds, play houses, etc.). You should never use a fryer in a garage, on a deck or patio, or under any type of sheltered space. Be sure only the person frying the turkey is nearby. Children, bystanders, and pets should be kept at a safe distance or, preferably, indoors away from the action.

Additionally, you need to prepare your turkey carefully. Turkeys should be completely thawed before you prepare to fry it. Check even the inside of the turkey, as frozen spots can make the oil bubble up and over the sides of the fryer thanks to the temperature reaction. Pat the surface of the turkey dry of any condensation before placing it in the oil as well as water hitting the oil will have the same type of reaction as ice.

Finally, have the appropriate safety equipment on hand just in case. Use well-insulated cooking mitts when handling anything related to the fryer. Wear safety goggles and long sleeves to protect yourself from any hot oil splatter. In case of accidents, keep a cell phone nearby to call 911 right away, and keep a fire extinguisher on hand to quickly put out fires if possible. Last but not least, keep the instructions for the fryer with you, as each individual unit will have its own specific oil measurements and operation steps that should be followed exactly to ensure safety and proper cooking of your turkey.

As always, Carroll Marshall Insurance hopes you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving with the ones you love most. We are proud to consider the Winter Haven community our home, and count each of you as friends and neighbors as well as clients. For all your insurance needs, you know we are waiting to help you right here in our downtown office!

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