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Really Bad Ways to Deep-Fry Turkey


Deep frying a turkey is great way to impress your friends on Thanksgiving. Deep frying a turkey is a very fast method of cooking that is gaining in popularity. The turkey comes out very moist and tasty with dark, crispy skin.

However, if you don’t do it correctly you ay be a few moments away from lighting your garage on fire. In fact, you get a few uninvited guests, like some of the brave men and women of the Sioux Falls Fire Department.

Deep-fry fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage every year.  Even the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning regarding frying turkeys. Really, they have time for that?

Here are my 10 commandments of frying that Thanksgiving turkey:
  • 1. Dropping a frozen turkey in a molten vat of boiling peanut oil will not end well. Please do not be the next Youtube idiot for a Thanksgiving fireball.
  • 2. Do NOT fry your turkey on the wooden deck. Unless you don’t really like that side of the house.
  • 3. If, at any time, uncle Dale just polishes off a six pack of Old Milwaukee, hooks his thumb under his suspenders, and declares “Hey, y’all…watch this”, run.
  • 4. Do not try to stuff a 23lb turkey into a small fryer. It will overflow and cause burns and fires.
  • 5. Watch the temperature of the oil very closely throughout the cooking process. It should be around 350 degrees. If it gets too hot, say over 400 degrees, it could start on fire. If it starts smoking on the surface of the oil, it’s too hot. Back it down.
  • 6. Never try to use a turkey fryer indoors. Experts warn about using them in the garage as well. If anything goes wrong, it’s much easier to contain outdoors in an open area.
  • 7. Read fryer instruction manual carefully. One of the most common mistakes is that too much oil is used to fill the canister. This can result in an overflow and ultimately, a really burnt turkey. However, you could just eat the crispy sparrows that flew through your fireball, just as a backup.
  • 8. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby. Unless it’s part of uncle Dale’s “watch this” trick.
  • 9. These important words from a man who actually set his truck on fire while cooking his turkey: “If anything goes wrong, get away.” Don’t try and be a hero, don’t try to turn off the propane, don’t throw anything on it, just get the hell away from it.”
  • 10. This one for the ladies, if your man isn’t the sharpest knife in the…um, place where you keep knives, and this is his first time deep-frying a turkey, you might want to have a thawed spare turkey lying around. Just a thought.
Finally, here is a pretty basic way to cook your turkey in a deep-fryer now that we know what not to do. This also might be a fine time to remind uncle Dale to remove the giblets from the cavity of the bird.
Basic directions:
In a large stockpot or turkey fryer, heat oil to 400 degrees F. Be sure to leave room for the turkey, or the oil will spill over.

Rinse turkey, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub your favorite seasoning over turkey inside and out. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird.

Place turkey in drain basket. The turkey should be placed in basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil to completely cover turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F, and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 45 minutes.

Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees. Finish draining turkey on the prepared platter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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