The traditional Thanksgiving turkey
When prepared traditionally it can be a tasty healthy protein that anchors your Thanksgiving dinner.
Or… You can deep fry that Thunder-Chicken!
This is America! We deep fry butter. So why should a turkey be any different.
In 1621, when the Pilgrims at Plymouth and the Native Americans got together for dinner, the Native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to cook poultry by the fire. Fast forward to 1622. The Pilgrims invited the Native Americans back for dinner and said, “Hey guys, watch this!”. And they dropped that bird into a cauldron of boiling fat.
True story. And we’ve been burning our houses down ever since.
So, what if you want all the juicy meat without the temporary displacement and lost treasures? We’ve got some tips for you to safely deep fry your turkey.
Preparing for the fry
- First, you’ll want to use a bird that’s on the smaller side. Think 8 or 10 pounds. Give that 12 pounder to the neighbor and then call the cops on them for having too many people over.
- Next, buy a quality fryer. Make sure it has enough capacity and has good temperature controls.
- Skip the stuffing. Correction – Never skip the stuffing. Just cook the stuffing separately in the oven.
- Watch the weather. If it’s going to be excessively cold, windy, rainy or snowy then you may have to switch back to a traditional bake.
- Gentlemen (and ladies), thaw your birds. If you’ve never heard the story about the chicken cannon, here’s the Mythbusters’ version.
- And last, make sure the turkey is dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
Location, Location, Location
The ideal place to fry your turkey will be:
- Outside. Pro tip – your garage is not outside.
- You’ll want a hard, level surface, away from the house that is not your deck.
- Pick a low traffic spot where pets and kids won’t be running around.
- Remember, you shouldn’t move the fryer once the process is started, so plan ahead.
- Make sure there’s enough space to leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Check your site lines. Make sure you can see that football game or all day Christmas Story marathon from your frying station.
While you’re frying
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. This will prevent scaring the bird. Once the turkey is submerged, then turn the burner back on.
- Never leave fryers unattended. So make sure you have a cooler full of beverages handy.
- Watch the oil temperature carefully. Once oil is heated to its smoke point it can easily catch fire. If you notice smoke, turn the fryer off. Your turkey is unable to stop, drop, and roll.
- Wear goggles, use oven mitts and keep an grease-rated fire extinguisher close by.
Turkey is delicious but also very easy to screw up. Deep frying is easily the most delicious way to cook a turkey. It is also hands down the most dangerous.
This time of year, we often get asked how homeowners insurance responds to deep fried turkey incidents. Fire is a basic covered peril on your home insurance. So even if you ignore the tips above, we’ll still be here for you.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. From our family and everyone at Hurley Insurance Brokers!