How to fry a turkey without burning the house down


by Sherry Williams / KHOU 11 News

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:16 AM

HOUSTON — Fried turkeys have bumped the baked versions off the menu for many families, but the moist meat can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.

Safety is first when frying your bird and we're here to help, with a few tips from the Pitmaker.

1. Never overfill the deep frying pot. To gauge how much oil to put in the pot, first place the raw turkey inside it (it can be in its wrapper). Then fill the pot until the water line is half an inch above the turkey. Then remove the turkey and mark the water line, empty the water out, dry the pot and fill the oil to the marked line.

2. Make sure your propane tank is at least a couple of feet from your frying pot.

3. Never fry a turkey indoors 

4. Never leave the fryer unattended 

5. Thaw the turkey completely in the refrigerator. A 4 to 12 lb. bird requires one to three days to thaw. A 12 to 16 lb. turkey requires three to four days. Sixteeen to 20 pounders need four to five days and 20 to 24 lb. birds require five to six days.

6. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Oils that work best are peanut, canola or safflower. Do not use peanut oil if you have any peanut allergy concerns. Use a cooking thermometer.  Do not overheat as this increases the risk of fire. 

7. Pat your turkey absolutely dry before placing it in the oil.  Water or ice will cause major grease spatters.  They can even cause a fire.

8. Wear oven mitts and make sure your arm handling the turkey is completely covered.

9. Never throw water on a grease fire or you will scatter the flames.

10. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy.

Good luck and good eating!

Click for the Pitmaker's delicious fried turkey recipe