The star of the Thanksgiving table is obvious, but the safety concerns over frying a turkey has contributed to the holiday becoming the peak day for home cooking fires.
In 2015, fire departments across the country responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
Equipment was also involved in about half of all reported in fires and its injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
The NFPA strongly discourages using a turkey fryer. The organization believes the fryers that use cooking oil are not suitable for use at home, no matter how well-informed or careful the consumer may be. The turkey fryers use a substantial quality of oil at high temperatures. The hotel oil could be released at some point during the process resulting in a dangerous situation.
If you choose to use a turkey fryer, there are important steps to take to ensure safety, according to Butterball:
- Completely thaw your turkey, or use a fresh turkey
- Remove excess fat
- Add oil to the fryer, but don't exceed the maximum fill line. Preheat oil in the fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Do not stuff the turkey when deep-frying. Cook the stuffing separately.
- Minimize sticking to the basket by submerging the empty basket in the hot oil for about 30 seconds, and remove and place turkey inside and submerge.
Additional tips here
- There should be at least three to five inches from the fill line to the top of the pot so oil doesn't blow over.
- Take the wrapper off the turkey, then remove and discard the neck and giblets
- Use deep-fryer on a flat surface, far away from homes, garages, wooden decks, etc.
- Preheat oil in the fryer to 375 degrees
- Add oil to the fryer, based on the water line
- Pat turkey dry with paper towels
Additional tips here
General Home Cooking Tips:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.