Thanksgiving may look a little different this year. Even if you are setting the table for fewer guests, you may still find yourself making the traditional turkey. If cooking that bird in the fryer is your preferred method, be aware: Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, and turkey fryers are a big contributor.
To help make your Thanksgiving delicious and safe, here are seven deep fryer tips to keep in mind before and during your bird-cookin’ process.
Before you start cooking:
1. Buy the right size bird: A 12- to 14-pound turkey is usually the biggest bird a turkey fryer can accommodate.
2. Follow the thawing process: Let your turkey thaw and dry. Excess water causes oil to bubble up, which increases the chances of a spill. The National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every four or five pounds of turkey.
3. Find the right spot: Place a propane-fired outdoor fryer on a level spot far away from your house and any other structures. Indoor electric fryers are often safest on porches, patios, garages or an outdoor area within reach of an electrical outlet; otherwise, place it on a countertop that’s a safe distance from any overhead cabinets.
4. Do not overfill: Most fryers have a “fill line” indicating how much oil to put in the fryer. If yours doesn’t, place the turkey in the fryer and fill three to five inches from the top of the fryer. Do not exceed the fill line.
5. Take it slow. Heat the oil slowly, and monitor the oil’s temperature as it increases. Always check your user manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation on cooking times and temperature ranges.
6. Don’t go anywhere: Stick around the fryer while you are cooking. Many flare-ups happen when no one’s keeping an eye on things. The quicker you spot a fire, the faster you can put it out.
7. Be ready (just in case): Keep an all-purpose, dry-powder fire extinguisher close by in case something goes awry. And never use water on a grease fire.