Deep frying a turkey safely

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - If you have ever tasted a fried turkey you know how delicious it is.

However every year there are fires and injuries that result from misuse of turkey fryers.

Look up turkey fryer fires on YouTube and just watch the flames fly high.

Getting the bird ready is important.

Captain Eric Simmons is a Fire Marshal with the Jonesboro Fire Department.

"If the turkey's wet or if it's still halfway frozen or if it's completely frozen and you put it in there you have the potential for a fire."

Turkeys are usually deep fried in peanut oil. Using the right amount of oil is important. Here is a simple way to see how much you need to cover the turkey.

I took a hose and filled up the pot with enough water to cover the turkey. That way I would know about how much oil it would take. Most turkey fryers use about 3 -6 gallons to fry a turkey.

Once that level is set, dry the pot, dry the turkey and fill the cooker up with oil. Be careful not to overfill. Then light the burner and begin to heat the oil.

Before you even strike a match, make sure you locate your cooker well away from any structures and buildings so in case of spills, nothing is going to get damaged. But just in case make sure you have an ABC rated fire extinguisher with you.

In case of a fire don't use a water hose to try and put it out. Oil and water don't mix. Call the Fire Department and stay clear.

Once the oil reaches 350 it's time to put the turkey in, slowly. We had a little too much oil in our cooker and enough spilled over to cause a small fire on the burner and grass below.

Russ Walker, who was cooking the turkey for me, had to take out some of the oil and we started the cooking process again.

It takes about 35 to 40 minutes to cook the bird. If you must lift the lid and look make sure you have on shoes and pants. No exposed flesh.

Walker, "Once you're at this stage it's not going to jump up and get you. But it's boiling in there."

Finally the time was up, the temperature was right and Russ pulled a beautiful bird out of the oil..Cooked safely, it looked and tasted perfect.

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