by Chief Eric Maloney

Kerrville Fire Department

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to get together with extended family and friends.

We want to encourage the NFPA’s safe cooking tips and add a few safety tips if you are still insisting on frying a turkey.

The deep fryer is a delicious way to enjoy turkey but if prepped incorrectly can lead to a huge grease fire that will ruin any holiday feast.

Turkey, boiling oil, fire, and a propane tank can be a recipe for disaster. These are a few safety tips to protect yourself, your guests and your home.

Safety Tips

• Never leave fryers unattended;

• Frying a bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds;

• Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow;

• Keep outdoor fryers off wooden decks or combustible material, and out of garages and away from trees and other structures;

• Set up the fryer at least 10 feet from any structure and on a level surface;

• Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Mixing ice or water into hot oil can cause flare-ups;

• Leave two feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer;

• Verify the proper oil level with the frozen turkey and water to mark the line;

•    Do not fill oil past the maximum fill line;

•    Spilled oil when lowering the turkey can cause a fire when it makes contact with the burner;

•    Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on;

•    Do not drop the turkey and instead lower slowly;

•    Use a fryer with temperature controls and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. Turn the fryer off if the oil is smoking;

•    Wear goggles, use oven mitts and keep a grease-rated or “ABC” fire extinguisher nearby;

•    Do not use a water hose on a fire related to turkey fryers;

•    Skip the stuffing and avoid water-based marinades when frying turkey;

•    Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times, and;

•    Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.

If this seems like a lot of safety tips just to fry a turkey, you are correct. Instead opt for an oil-less fryer that uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.

The Kerrville Fire Department wishes you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

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