Be Careful Deep Frying That Turkey!

November 22, 2004 – Posted at 3:55 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- Here in the South, we like things deep fried, even turkeys. If you haven't tried it, you don't know what you're missing. But before the bird hits the oil, there are some things you should know. It's turkey time, and cooks everywhere are bypassing the old oven and dipping their turkeys in the deep fryer.

"It kind of gives them a crispy taste on the outside and hold all the juices on the inside," said Wal-Mart Assistant Manager Sue Wery.

And it seems everyone wants one for Thanksgiving.

"Our turkey fryers are so popular we're constantly having to reorder," said Wery.

Frying turkeys have become somewhat of a holiday tradition. It's quicker than baking and if you cook them right, it can taste really good, however there is a catch. If you cook them wrong, the results could be devastating. Start by following your turkey fryer's guidelines word for word.

When purchasing a fryer, look for one with four or more legs; this will make the fryer more stable. Never put a turkey that's not completely thawed in a fryer. Water from a semi-frozen bird reacts with the oil, causing it to literally explode out of the pot. And of course, oil and water don't mix, so if you put a semi-frozen turkey in the explodes.

"Definitely follow the instructions, you don't need to use anymore oil than what it calls for in the turkey fryer and I can not stress enough to make sure that it's completely thawed out because oil and water do not mix," said Wery.

Always keep your fryer in full view while burner is on. And be sure to wear protective gloves that cover your hands and arms when adding or removing food. Keep close tabs on fryer oil temperature during frying. Do not let it get above the recommended temperature. If oil begins to smoke, the oil is overheated. And in case of a fire…

Jonesboro Fired Department Chief Leonard Jadrich said, "Don't put it out with water. The water will just slash hot grease and fire everywhere. You can turn the power off but it's going to burn until it cools down.."

You can try to smother a small fire with a lid or use a fire extinguisher but call 911 and get the professionals there immediately. You should not attempt to put out a huge oil fire by yourself because you don't want to risk your life or your home for a piece of meat.