Is a deep fried turkey on your Thanksgiving menu? Follow these safety tips

Are you planning to deep fry a turkey for your Thanksgiving feast? It is vital to exercise caution and follow recommended guidelines in deep frying a bird, so as to avoid including the fire department as emergency responders to a house fire.

Members of the Philadelphia Firefighters’ and Paramedics’ Union, Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters stopped by Good Day with tips and advice for serving that perfect, deep fried turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.

A firefighter told FOX 29’s Jenn Frederick Thanksgiving is their busiest day; the day they receive the most number of calls. They want to avoid yours being one of those calls.

The firefighters with Local 22 recommend having a plan for turkey day and they recommend rehearsing your plan ahead of the big day. This involves knowing how to turn the deep fryer on, how the fill line works and how much oil to use.

The most catastrophic thing that can happen is filling your deep fryer too full of oil and then dropping the bird in to the fryer, as the oil will spill out over the sides and there will be a giant fireball.

You can use peanut oil, or canola oil, if anyone you are serving is allergic to peanuts.

One vital element to a safe day - do not set up your deep fryer inside the home and do not even use it on your deck. Do not set it up near power lines or trees. Do not set it up near anything flammable.

Make sure to check the fill line. If you don’t have a fill line on your pot, fill it up with water and put the turkey in the pot. This way, you can see how much oil to put in the pot. Mark that level with tape, making sure to remove the tape before you begin to fry. Toss the water out and fill with oil, again, making sure to remove tape.

Set the temperature to 350 and follow all directions. Or, think of cooking time as 3 ½ minutes per pound of turkey.

Fully defrost the turkey. Oil and water really do not mix. Make sure your turkey is thoroughly defrosted and patted down after cleaning. Do not put a bird in the deep fryer that is wet.

In the same vein, keep a lid on the pot while the turkey is cooking, especially when there is the threat of rain on Thanksgiving.

It is ideal to have only one person in charge of the bird while it’s in the hot oil. No dogs and no kids nearby and your dinner should be able to cook without a disaster.

Do not use stuffing in the bird when cooking, as it upsets the temperature balance. You can use marinade with your turkey, but do that ahead of time and not right before you put the bird in the oil.

You can also avoid a visit from your local fire department, even if you aren’t deep frying a turkey by cleaning your oven ahead of Thanksgiving. As one firefighter stated, all too often, people are using their oven for the first time Thanksgiving Day or because they have been using the oven and it’s dirty. Just go ahead and clean it, before you set your turkey in it.

Some other tips to avoid accidentally setting your kitchen on fire are:

  • Do not leave items cooking unattended
  • Do not wear loose clothing
  • Don’t drink and cook – save the alcohol for the meal

Following these tips and advice should allow your meal to be delicious and without harm or disastrous circumstances. It can be a day your family will remember with love for many years to come.


For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.


Sign up for emails from FOX 29, including our daily Good Day Digest