Even more than roast beef and ham, a well-cooked fried turkey is a holiday essential for millions in the United States. To put it into perspective, Americans consume roughly 46 million turkeys around Thanksgiving. That’s almost the population of Spain!
Turkey fryers have become an increasingly popular way to cook America’s favorite bird, especially in the South. And why wouldn’t they be? They cook the meat from all sides, can be used just about anywhere outdoors, and cook much faster than conventional ovens.
Frying fans also say the machines make for moister light meat, savory dark meat, and crispier, less slimy skin.
It’s easy to get it wrong, though, and turkey fryers cause a surprising number of accidents each year. Among these are 900 destroyed homes, five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage.
But don’t let this information keep you from using a turkey fryer. You can enjoy your holiday to the fullest with just a little preparation. Today we’ll cover some of these simple steps and help you fry your fowl safely this Thanksgiving.
Let’s dig in!
Foolproof Turkey Frying
Some of the easiest ways to decrease the odds of injury and fires include the following:
- First, keep your turkey fryer on a sturdy, level surface, and don’t move it until after you’re done and it has cooled off.
- Keep your fryer at least 10 feet from your home; this includes 10 feet from under roof eaves as well.
- Don’t overfill your cooking pot. Before filling it with oil, use water to get an idea of the amount you’ll need instead. You can do this by placing your turkey in the water and seeing how close the liquid gets to the top.
- Fully thaw your turkey before frying it; it shouldn’t have any frost, either. This is because partially frozen meat splatters cooking oil, which can cause severe burns.
- Use a fryer with a thermostat. If you don’t have one, a kitchen thermometer attached to the pot’s side will get the job done. You decrease the odds of overheating and fire by simply keeping an eye on the temperature.
- On that note, bring your oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that the oil’s temperature will lower when you place the turkey in it. When this happens, keep your turkey at 325 degrees until you’re done cooking.
- It should go without saying, but always protect yourself while cooking your bird. It’s best to do this with flame-retardant clothing, oven mitts, and eye protection, especially when placing the turkey into the oil and removing it.
- Lastly, the person cooking should be the only one close to the fryer. On that note, keep children and pets at least 3 feet from the device as well.
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