Don’t Let Your Thanksgiving Go Up in Flames: Tips to Deep-Fry Your Turkey Without Setting Your House on Fire

The first step is to make sure the bird is fully thawed.

Instead of cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in the oven, some Americans are opting to deep-fry their bird. But firefighters warn home cooks to be very careful with the hot grease.

Thaw Your Bird

Firefighters urge that before you stick the bird in a vat of boiling oil, make sure the turkey is fully thawed. 

"You don't want to drop a frozen turkey into burning oil and you don't want to be at any excessive temperature. We had ours at about 400 degrees,” Ruckersville Fire Chief Sean Ryan told WCAV

Go Light on the Oil

Don't overfill the fryer with oil so it doesn't spill out when you put the turkey in, they said. Ryan and his comrades from a Virginia fire department demonstrated how quickly a grease fire can get out of control.

They placed a bird inside a vat of hot oil, which spilled onto the flames and caused havoc, as they predicted it would. The controlled demonstration was quickly extinguished.

Avoid the Back Deck

Another mistake is placing your deep fryer on a wooden deck, which can easy catch on fire. The fire chief said to stand it on concrete or in the grass, and keep the gas tank at a safe distance.

"You want to make sure all safety mechanisms are in place and that the gas is away from your fryer,” he said. 

When done properly, a fried turkey can be a delicious treat for all of your guests, but nothing will spoil your holiday more than having to call the fire department should things go wrong.