Turkey Fryer Safety

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Deep-fried turkey has grown in popularity over the past several years. They are truly a delicious and unique way to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey, however extreme caution is needed. Deep-frying has many hazards such as:

- Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil within the cooking pot.

- If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.

- Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too, may result in an extensive fire.

- With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.

- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

Here are some tips for safer use:

- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

- Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

- Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.

- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer. Fill the fryer with water and place the turkey in it. Tip off the excess water, remove the turkey and mark the level. Thoroughly dry the pan prior to adding oil up to that level.

- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles.

- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

- Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot, hours after use.

(editor note: see the video demonstrations in the Safety Files section of this site)

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