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Tips to Safely Deep Fry a Thanksgiving Turkey
Frying a turkey is a serious undertaking and, as many online videos confirm, incredibly dangerous if done wrong. So here are some tips on how to deep fry your turkey - and what not to do.
portable outdoor propane oil-filled turkey fryer
portable outdoor propane oil-filled turkey fryer

Frying a turkey is a serious undertaking and, as many online videos confirm, incredibly dangerous if done wrong. So here are some tips on how to deep fry your turkey – and what not to do. 

Use the Right Tools for the Job

Turkey fryers exist and you should use one if you intend on frying your Thanksgiving bird. For safety reasons patching together a homemade rig is not advised. You have more than one option when it comes to a commercial turkey fryer. There are oil-less propane turkey fryers, electric turkey fryers and of course, the traditional portable outdoor propane oil-filled turkey fryers.

Get Ready

Be sure to read the instructions! Your manual will advise usage guidelines and safety tips. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and safety prior to the day you’ll be cooking. You’ll need to know what type of oil to use in your specific fryer. Different oils have specific smoke points. For the best Turkey taste and everyone’s safety, read the instructions.

Make sure you have a fire extinguisher close at hand. Verify that it’s capable of putting out oil and grease fires. Acquaint yourself with how it works ahead of time as well.

What NOT To DO

•          Do not set up the fryer on uneven ground, on a wooden surface, on grass or anywhere too near a house, outbuildings or flammable objects (like trees). The general rule is at least 10 feet away from all such things.

•          Do not use an oil with a low smoke point.

•          Do not overfill the pot with oil or it will spill over and ignite in a fireball when you lower the turkey in.

•          Do not drop the turkey in; lower it slowly and carefully into the hot oil so it doesn’t displace grease over the sides.

•          Do not put a frozen turkey into the fryer; the sudden temperature change can cause an explosion of flames. Make sure to thaw the turkey completely and pat it dry before cooking.

•          Do not leave the fryer unattended. Not even for a one second. Do not take your eyes off the thermometer for too long.

•          Do not let children, pets, friends or family members get anywhere near the fryer, including for several hours after you’re done. It takes a while for the grease to cool back down.

•          Do not scoff at safety equipment like heat-resistant gloves and goggles

•          If the fryer does catch fire, do not pour water on it.

Every day, we at Terrell • Hogan, represent victims of personal injury and wrongful death as they seek justice, but helping prevent accidents and injuries is also a constant focus.  Lawsuits we have pursued for deserving victims have prompted safety changes, but that came after the accidents and injuries happened.  We think it’s important to try to find ways to prevent injuries and wrongful deaths before they happen.  That’s why we feel it’s important to help spread this information.


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About The Author

Picture of Wayne Hogan

Wayne Hogan

Wayne Hogan, a Jacksonville native, has been with the firm since 1977. He graduated from Florida State University, where he received both his bachelor’s and J.D. degrees. He specializes in all areas of personal injury law. In addition to participating in many professional associations, he and his wife, Pat, are also actively involved in the community.