ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – If you're thinking of deep frying your turkey this Thanksgiving, you may not be entirely out of "cluck."
Firefighters from Orange County Fire Rescue demonstrated both the safe and unsafe methods of turkey frying Tuesday. An OCFR spokesperson said the department is hosting the demonstration because of how popular the cooking method is, especially in the southern U.S.
If you're trying to make sure frying your turkey doesn't go "afowl," the National Fire Protection Association recommends consumers buy a cooked turkey and prepare it using professional-grade equipment. They warn against the use of propane turkey fryers and instead encourage using outdoor units that don't require oil.
If you do use an oil fryer, OCFR Assistant Fire Marshall Inez Pressler said it's important to keep the unit on a flat surface away from vegetation. She also said the turkey should be thawed.
Here's how Pressler said oil should be measured:
- Place the thawed turkey in the fryer vessel
- Cover it with water
- Remove the turkey from the fryer
- Mark the water level on the inside of the fryer -- this will show you the perfect amount of oil to use
The demonstration's timing is intentional. According to a report by the U.S. Fire Administration, Thanksgiving is the top day for cooking fires. The report states that an annual estimated 2,000 residential cooking fires occur between noon and 4 p.m. on the holiday in the U.S. alone.
The turkey fryer fires often pose "significant danger," according to OCFR officials. They said the large amount of hot cooking oil can often spill over the side of the fryer and cause fires. That oil also stays hot for hours after the fryer is turned off.
In the case of a fire, Pressler said the first step is to turn off the heat source. She also said it's important to keep from trying to extinguish it with water, instead using sand, dirt or a fire extinguisher to cover the flames.
If you're still planning to gobble down a fried bird this Thanksgiving, with guidance from professionals, you may not have to give it up cold turkey.