Fully Involved: Use turkey fryers only with great care
November 20, 2014
It is hard to beat the speed of deep-frying a turkey — or the irresistible flavor and juiciness that result.
But turkey fryers have the potential to cause fires and serious burn injuries, which is why organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advise against using them. The NFPA urges those who prefer fried turkey to look for grocery stores, specialty food retailers, and restaurants that sell deep fried turkeys, or consider a new type of "oil-less" turkey fryer. This model uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.
Fryers heat around five gallons of oil up to 350 degrees or more and can be very dangerous if not used properly. If you do plan to deep-fry your holiday bird this Thanksgiving, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and take these precautions to protect yourself, your guests and your home:
• Keep outdoor fryers off the deck, out of the garage and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
• Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
• Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it is in use.
• Leave at least two feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
• Do not overfill the pot with oil. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
• Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that is 8-10 pounds is best.
• Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause splattering and flare-ups.
• Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
• Use a fryer with temperature controls and watch the oil temperature very carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
• Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher (Class K) close by.
• Never leave the fryer unattended and keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
• Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover it to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
On behalf of all of the Grand County firefighters and first responders, we wish you a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Schelly Olson is the Assistant Chief of Administration and Public Education at Grand Fire Protection District No. 1 in Granby. She can be reached at 970-887-3380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.