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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Avoid a Deep-Fried Turkey Fire

By November 25, 2013

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I've talked about the dangers of chip pan fires, but you may not have realized you can get the same disastrous fire from frying a holiday turkey. The oil can overheat and ignite or water can vaporize and cause the oil to splash up and burn you or ignite. If you fry a turkey, be extremely careful.
  • Don't drink alcoholic beverages when frying a turkey.
  • Set up the turkey fryer on a level surface, at least 10 feet away from anything flammable.
  • Be sure the turkey is thawed and drained, since juices can splash up from the hot oil and cause a grease fire. Ice crystals react vigorously with hot oil and can vaporize it, making it easier to ignite.
  • Don't over-fill your fryer since it could overflow when the turkey is added and start a fire.
  • Don't heat the cooking oil over 350°F. Oil can ignite at 375° F.
  • Be sure you are strong enough to handle the turkey.
  • Deep-fry your turkey outdoors, not in the garage. If a fire does occur, it will be much easier to contain it.
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