Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for many reasons. Cooking fires are 3X more common on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving cuts the cooking time in half, ensures the meat is juicy, and crisps up the skin, but not knowing how to properly fry a bird can set your feasting holiday ablaze.
First of all, never deep fry a frozen turkey. Water and ice on the turkey is going to interact with the oil and explode. It needs to be completely thawed — and ideally, brined — for one to three days.
Here’s why you never deep fry a frozen turkey…
Make sure you have the right size bird. Smaller turkeys between 8-10 pounds are best. The maximum size is 14 pounds. Larger birds are harder to get in and out of the pot safely, take longer to cook, and risk burning the skin.
Measure the proper amount of oil before you cook the bird, and use oil with a high smoke-point. You can put a thawed turkey in cold oil to make sure the oil completely covers the bird without spilling over.
Turn off the burner just before lowering the bird into the fryer. Lower it slowly to avoid splattering. As soon as the turkey is safely in the pot, immediately turn on the burner and keep it at 350°F. Allow 3-4 minutes of cooking per pound of whole turkeys, and 4-5 minutes for parts.
Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Your turkey is done when the internal temperature is between 165°F and 170°F in the breast and 175°F to 180°F in the thigh. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Got it? Here’s a few videos of people who messed up…
More Turkey Fryer Safety Tips
- Make sure your deep fryer is on a stable surface away from anything that can catch on fire.
- Never leave a turkey fryer unattended during heating, cooking, or cooling. Make it a “kid-free and pet-free zone”
- Do not try to cool down the oil with ice or water. Let it cool off completely before disposing or storing the oil.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy — one that is approved for cooking oil or grease fires
Source: National Turkey Federation