While eating deep fried turkey on Thanksgiving may be a special treat, cooking one is another story. In fact according to a report by the National Fire Protection Association “nearly 4- times as many home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year (except the day before Thanksgiving).” This is especially true for accidents involving hot oil used to deep fry the celebrated birds. As a result, many homeowner insurance companies, such as State Farm, recommend not only cooking the birds outside, but making sure that you find a safe (level) place at least 10-feet away from the house, and far enough away from fences, trees, and other plants. This also means not setting your fryer up on decks, patios or inside garages, etc. In addition, make sure it is not in a spot where kids or pets can get too near it, and never, ever, leave the fryer unattended. If you have to go inside for any reason, be sure another adult can keep an eye on the turkey until you return.
Fresh vs frozen
Before you even begin to cook your bird, you need to decide whether you will be using a fresh one or one that is frozen. While turkeys that are still a little frozen can cause major problems when roasting them in the oven, it is very important that it is thoroughly defrosted before placing it in the fryer, especially since wet or icy birds can cause the oil to splatter. For best results, the USDA suggests you let the turkey sit for at least one day for every 4-5 lbs of weight. However, bathing the bird in a basin of hot warm may cut the time down considerably. You should also rinse the turkey inside and out to get rid of any bacteria. Just be sure you pat it dry thoroughly before frying. Again, DO NOT attempt to cook a wet bird. And while it may sound dumb, be sure you remove any bags containing the neck and giblets from the cavity before cooking.
Monitor your oil
The important thing to remember is that the oil can get very messy once it is heated and can easily splatter, so lower the turkey into the cooker slowly. In fact, using too much oil can cause the burner, itself, to catch fire if you use too much. In addition, it is important to wear safety goggles, a thick apron and oven mitts to guard against getting scalded when handling the turkey. Remember, you need to heat the oil to at least 325ºFfor the best results. In addition, Butterball Turkey Talk-Line expert Nicole Johnson told Fox News that it could take as long as “4-5 minutes per pound to reach the recommended temperatures, of white meat to an internal temperature of about 170º F for white meat and about 180º F for dark meat.”
Once the turkey is done, turn off the heat and lift it out of the pot gently.You also need to clean up your cooking area thoroughly to prevent any chances of the drippings from igniting. It is now time to enjoy your feast! Read also how to avoid weight gain during Thanksgiving!