Tag Archives: risk

How Not To Deep Fry A Turkey For Thanksgiving

Turkey fryer used the wrong way. Photo: State Farm
Turkey fryer used the wrong way.
Photo: State Farm

Thanksgiving is almost here and every year injuries or damage result from deep frying turkey. Now you have read the postings here and elsewhere warning about the unsafe ways to avoid. So this is short and sweet. The indoor electric deep fryers are the best way to go if you have no outdoor area to cook in (they keep the oil at the right temperature and you have a lid to close it up). General safety rules always apply but for the traditional outdoor variety the safety rules are simple:

1. Never put the turkey fryer in a garage, on a balcony, or back porch. It needs to be on level ground and not close to any structure should the worst happen. And it goes without saying never use these outdoor ones inside unless you want to burn down your home.

2. Keep pets and kids away from the actual cooking.

3. Always make sure to put in the correct amount of oil. People often forget displacement occurs when the turkey is put in resulting in hot oil hitting the flames. Always test with water and mark exactly where the oil line is. Never assume the oil line inside the container is where it ought to be.

4. Remember to pat dry the turkey before you put it in. And this next part is important: NEVER EVER PUT A FROZEN TURKEY INTO HOT OIL. The resulting fireball will cause damage to people and property. Make sure it is completely defrosted and dry when you put it in the oil.

5. Wear appropriate clothing. This is hot oil and it will burn on bare skin. Wear long sleeve shirts or chefs coat.

6. Lower the turkey carefully into the hot oil.

Deep fried turkey is delicious but you must be careful or Thanksgiving will be ruined.

Now for some videos. The first one is a guy who thinks he knows what he is doing. Notice where he has the turkey fryer and how it is not set up right at all. This idiot even mentions Archimedes principle of displacement but clearly does not understand it when applied to liquid in a container. A heavy object in liquid displaces liquid around and over it. If the objects mass is greater than the liquid overflow results. [Update 25 Nov 2015-The first video is no longer available except in compilations. A different video has been substituted in its place.]

Here is a demonstration on the correct way to deep fry a turkey.

And because, just like those guys on Mythbusters who like their explosions, here is what happens when you put a frozen turkey in hot oil.

Have a safe Thanksgiving everyone!