Deep fat fryers are used both commercially and in the home for frying a wide variety of food items. In the U.S., fryers are an increasingly popular method of cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. Although deep fryers are safer than the old-fashioned saucepan method, there are still risks associated with their use.
The main dangers associated with deep fryers are burns and fires. Burns can be incurred when hot fat is spilled or splashed on the skin, and fryers can start fires if they tip over, set nearby items alight, or if the fat becomes so hot that it ignites.
Cheaper models of deep fryers will often have fewer safety features than better quality ones. When buying, look for a fryer with a cool-touch body, a lock-down lid and thermostatic controls. Models that automatically turn themselves off if the fat overheats are also available.
Before you use a new fryer, read the instructions. Do not mix different types of fat, and do not overfill the basket or the fryer. Oil levels should be between the minimum and maximum markers. The fryer should be placed on a flat surface, out of the reach of children and with no trailing wires. Keep it well away from water and inflammable substances.
Top four “Do Not Do's” for deep-frying turkeys:
Don’t Deep Fry a Frozen Turkey Frozen: Turkeys are full of moisture, and we all know how water and hot oil don’t mix well, so make sure your turkey is completely thawed out before trying to fry it. Depending on the size of the turkey it could take up to 3 or 4 days in your refrigerator from solid frozen to ready to go in fryer.
Don’t Let Oil Get Too Hot: When oil gets around 400-425-degrees it can catch on fire by itself. Make sure you have a thermometer and are watching the temperature very carefully. If you see your oil smoking, it’s too hot, you need to back off, back off the heat. Most oils should stay around 350-degrees, but you can check the label to see what the exact temperature limit is for your oil.
Don’t Use Too Much Oil: A common, and potentially disastrous mistake people make is putting too much cooking oil in their pot. If you overfill your pot with oil and you drop the turkey in, it’s going to spill over, and that can be almost as catastrophic as having a frozen turkey go in because you’re going to get spillage, the oil is going to run down next to the flame on the burner, which could result in a catastrophic fire. To figure out how much oil you will need put your turkey in the empty cooking pot, filling it up with enough water to cover it, take the turkey out, and then mark the top of the water line to know how much oil your turkey will need.
Don’t Deep-Fry Indoors: If something does go wrong, the inside of your home is the last place you want flames shooting up in the air. Don’t do this in your garage, don’t do this on your wooden deck. If you’re going to do it, do it out in your yard away from anything that’s flammable that could catch on fire. And by all means do not attempt to deep-fry a turkey with this type of cooker inside your house.
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