HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Holiday cooks across the Pine Belt will soon be busy, preparing Thanksgiving turkey for family and friends.
But you need to know a couple of things, if you're going to deep-fry your bird.
Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before you fry it.
And make sure you're in an open area, at least ten feet away from any structure.
"(The turkey) needs to be completely thawed, it does not need to have any water on it," said Stephen Mooney, Battalion Chief with the Hattiesburg Fire Department. "That interaction with the oil is going to cause a lot of bubbling and over-bubbling when the flame is near and then you have a fire."
The National Fire Protection Association also recommends using an oilless fryer or getting a professional to fry your turkey.
Here's are some safety tips for deep-frying turkeys:
· Never cook a partially or fully frozen turkey! A frozen turkey can cause the oil to splatter and boil over, posing a potential risk of fire and burn injuries. Prior to cooking, turkeys should be thawed in a refrigerator at least 24 hours for every five pounds of bird.
· Dry the turkey before putting it in the oil. Pay special attention to drying the cavity of the bird as it has the greatest potential for water or ice to accumulate. Avoid marinades that may react with the hot fryer oil.
· When filling the pot with oil, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and never over-fill the turkey fryer. This can cause the oil to overflow posing a potential risk of ignition from the burner flame.
· Never heat the oil above 400°F and always use the thermometer supplied with the turkey fryer to measure the oil temperature. Check oil temperature frequently. If the oil begins to smoke, turn gas to 'off'.
· Use well-insulated oven mitts when touching a pot lid, handles or when adding or removing food to prevent the risk of burn injuries.
· Slowly lower the turkey into hot oil with caution, being careful to avoid any overflow.
· Never leave a turkey fryer unattended.
· Turkey fryers should only be used outdoors and at least 10 feet from structures – including garages, carports and overhangs – vehicles, and combustible materials.
· Always use a turkey fryer on a level, stable, non-combustible surface, and never on a wooden deck or any structure that can catch fire. Be sure to use only the pot that came with the outdoor cooker and that it is centered directly over the burner.
· If any portion of the turkey fryer catches fire, do not attempt to extinguish or fight the fire. Immediately remove all people from the vicinity of the turkey fryer, and contact the fire department or 9-1-1. Do not attempt to extinguish fire with water!