Thanksgiving is a holiday built around the four F’s: family, friends, football and FOOD!
We love the feast and look forward to every November, beginning first and foremost with the turkey. After all, it’s not called “Turkey Day” for nothing. Deep-frying turkeys has become a Thanksgiving fad in recent years, and the end result is delicious. However, if you’re going to deep fry that turkey, you need to read all directions carefully and put safety measures in place before you begin.
With this in mind, here are five tips to help you and your guests stay safe when preparing your turkey this year:
- Be Prepared in Advance: Before you begin cooking, make sure you have an all-purpose fire extinguisher handy, as accidental fires are the most common accident that happens when deep-frying a turkey. Be sure to also keep a phone nearby in case you need to call 9-1-1 in the event of a larger emergency. Keep all children and pets away from the fryer. Children and pets, running and playing present the greatest threat to accidently tipping the fryer, which can cause life-threatening burns and start a fire. Most importantly, never leave the fryer unattended. Make sure an adult is monitoring the cooking site at all times.
- Protect Yourself: If you’re the chef cooking the turkey, dress accordingly to limit your risk of getting burned. All clothing items should fit properly. You don’t want any material hanging or bunching. Wear long sleeves, long pants, and shoes and socks no matter the weather, and be sure to use heavy duty oven mitts as well. The fryer is extremely hot and you also want to make sure to keep oil from accidently splattering or running onto and burning your hands. The cook should always wear goggles to protect his/her eyes in the event of oil splatter. And remember, alcohol and deep frying don’t mix. If you want to drink, wait until after your chef duties are completed before you open a beer.
- Don’t Overfill the Fryer: Be extra careful when filling your fryer. Read all directions carefully, ahead of time, before beginning the frying process. If you have questions or concerns, call the customer service number. Be sure to fill the fryer only to the fill line, even if you think you’ll need more oil. If you overfill the fryer it may overflow, especially when you add the turkey. The oil spilling over the sides can cause a serious burn hazard for anyone operating the fryer, and if any of that oil reaches the propane burner it can cause a fire.
- Move the Fryer Away from Your House: Because the fryer is such a burn and fire hazard, it’s vital that you move your fryer at least 10 feet away from your home or any other structure on your property before you start cooking. Do not use the fryer inside your home, garage, screened in porch, or on a deck or patio as that will create a serious fire risk. The further you move the fryer away from your home, the less of a threat it is to the structure of the home and the belongings inside if there is a fire. Make sure you use the fryer in an open space outside. Don’t operate the fryer near or under trees, as those locations also present a fire hazard. It is imperative that the fryer is placed on a stable, even surface to keep it from tipping over. Never place the fryer directly on the lawn or dirt.
- Properly Thaw Your Turkey
If you try and deep-fry a frozen turkey, it will explode and you will start a fire. A frozen turkey must be completely defrosted before frying. It is important to properly thaw your turkey to ensure it is safe for the fryer by the time the big day arrives. Read thawing directions when you buy your turkey. You can thaw your turkey in the refrigerator or in cold water in the sink if you have less time. If you thaw in the fridge, leave the turkey in its original packaging and set the refrigerator to 40 degrees. Leave the turkey to thaw for six hours per pound, or 72 hours (three days) for a 10-12 pound bird. If you thaw your turkey in cold water in your sink, let it thaw for 30 minutes per pound, or six hours for a 12-pounder. However, when thawing a turkey in the sink, you must change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays just as cold throughout the entire process. Thawing times are only estimates. Check your bird before frying to make sure that is completely defrosted and dried, inside and out, before putting it in the fryer.
Everyone at Foundation Insurance Group wishes you a joyful Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day with friends, family, and great food!