How to fry your turkey safely this Thanksgiving

Home for the Holidays

(Photo courtesy: U.S. Air Force via mgn online)

(WFXR) — Before you pull out the fryer, dump in the oil, and drop in the turkey, there are some steps you should take to make sure you are and your family are safe this Thanksgiving holiday.

“You might be inclined to do it in an enclosed area because it’s chilly out,” said Howard Hill, president of King & Queen County Farm Bureau. “But it should always be done outside in an open area … a lot of problems can happen when people are in enclosed areas.”

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), “Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than three times the daily average for such incidents.”

The NFPA, put this video together showing the dangers behind Turkey Fryers:

(Video courtesy:

The National Turkey Federation recommends cooks use a 40- to 60-quart pot with a basket and the fryer should be placed in the grass or dirt away from anything that can catch on fire. They also state the pot should be filled with enough oil to cover the bird without spilling over.

Cooking tips for fryers:

The smaller the turkey the better. The bird should be between 8 to 10 pounds and no larger than 12 pounds. Make sure to have thermometers nearby — one for the oil and one for the bird.

  • The oil temperature should be 350 degrees
  • The turkey is cooked throughly when the internal temperature is 165 degrees

“If you’re cooking to 165 degrees, you’re going to kill any bacteria that might be on or in the turkey,” said Hobey Bauhan, president of the Virginia Poultry Federation. “When it comes to foodborne illness, follow the four core principles: Clean, keep separate, cook thoroughly and promptly refrigerate leftovers.”

On Thursday, Nov. 18, the Butterball hotline opened its lines to make sure everyone’s turkey comes out picture-perfect. If you have any questions, just head to the Butterball website where expert cooks are standing by to help.

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