Safe Thanksgiving and Holidays Tips for Deep Frying Turkey

Nov 20, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson Turkey days are coming.

In advance of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, joined by fire departments and fire officials statewide, is issuing an annual reminder to use extreme caution when using turkey fryers.

Propane-fired turkey fryers allow for the quick deep-frying of large turkeys or wild fowl by immersing them in a hot cooking oil reservoir, which can result in accidents.

“The mere act of plunging a frozen turkey into the hot oil container can cause the oil to splash, which can be ignited by the propane-fired burner below the reservoir, which can ignite the propane canister itself, causing fire and explosion,” cautioned Louis Kilmer, acting Division of Fire Safety director and state fire marshal.

“At the very least, severe burns are possible,” he added.

The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds in weight.

Kilmer recommended the following tips for consumers who are planning to use a turkey fryer or actively shopping for one:

Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors – a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.

Never use turkey fryers under an overhang, in a garage, or on a wooden deck.

Many units are manufactured as tripods. Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce the likelihood of accidental tipping.

Never leave the fryer unattended, as most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

Never let children or pets near the fryer, even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.

To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

The lid and the handles can become dangerously hot, posing a severe burn hazard. Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix. Water can cause oil to spill over, resulting in a fire or even an explosion hazard.

Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help. —P.J.

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