More home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day, and the United States Fire Administration says that deep-frying turkeys is one of the greatest causes. Don’t get burned—get the facts about safely frying your fowl here.
A golden, deep-fried turkey may sound like a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner menu. However, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly advises against frying your turkey at home, stating that deep fryers can cause destruction of property and potentially serious injuries.
Take a look at the top five ways deep fryers can cause injury:
- The fryer falls. The United States Fire Administration states that between 2006 and 2010, two-thirds of home cooking fires began when food or cooking materials caught fire. If a turkey fryer tips over, it can spill hot, flammable oil that may burn someone or easily catch fire.
- The pot gets hot. The lid, sides and handles of the cooking pot can get dangerously hot and cause injury to anyone who touches them without oven mitts or other protection.
- Oil overheating. Frying oils can reach temperatures of more than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oil overheats, it can start a fire, especially if the oil is left unattended in a pot without temperature controls.
- Oil overflow. A specialist from the University of Utah Health Care Burn Center explains that if there’s too much oil in the pot, adding the turkey in can cause the oil to overflow. If frying oil makes contact with open flame, it doesn’t just cause a fire—it can cause an explosion.
- Oil and water don’t mix. When water encounters oil at temperatures higher than 350 degrees Fahrenheit, it instantly vaporizes and turns into very hot steam. It also expands quickly and causes the oil to splatter. By frying a partially frozen turkey or frying a turkey outside in the snow or rain, you risk water getting into the frying oil. If hot oil splatters, it could burn somebody. If it gets into the frying fire, it can cause an explosion, just like oil overflow.
Instructions on how to safely deep-fry a turkey are available, but the NFPA says that even the most well-informed and careful cook should still avoid it. If a deep-fried turkey is part of your annual tradition, check with local restaurants, grocery stores or specialty food retailers who can deep-fry your family’s turkey for you.