The Dangers of Deep-Frying Turkey: Tips For a Safe Thanksgiving Tradition

by Staff Blogger | November 21st, 2023

Injury Lawyer in Modesto

The age-old tradition of serving turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is here to stay. However, many Americans are ditching the oven for deep-fryers to save time and achieve a better-tasting bird.

Fire departments warn against deep frying turkey because this cooking method can be dangerous. Despite these warnings, many amateur chefs feel the benefits outweigh the risks. Unfortunately, cooking turkey in deep-fryers has resulted in thousands of serious burn injuries and the loss of millions of dollars in property damage over the years.

Our Modesto injury lawyers can help victims recover damages if they have suffered due to someone else’s negligence.

Why is Deep Frying Turkey so Dangerous?

Deep frying involves significant amounts of hot oil, which can cause severe burns. Some of the dangers associated with deep fryers include:

  • Oil splatters

Placing a cold bird into hot oil causes splattering. The wetter the turkey, the more the splatter. Splashing occurs because water has a lower boiling point than oil. When the water comes into contact with high heat, it boils and steams instantly, displacing dangerously hot oil.

  • Open fires

The average American does not own a deep fryer large enough to cook a whole turkey safely. As a precaution, many fry the turkey outside. and use portable propane tanks and open flame burners. An open flame is a hazard in and of itself. Having hot oil near an open flame only exacerbates the risk of starting a fire.

  • Fryers can tip over.

Deep frying pots are built tall to accommodate the rising oil when cooking. This feature, unfortunately, also means they can easily tip over. If this happens, the hot oil inside can cause severe burns or explosions.

  • Risks of overheating

Most turkey deep-frying pots lack heat-control thermostats. Temperatures will continue to rise, causing the oil to smoke and easily catch fire.

  • High rising flames

Fires caused by deep fryers can rise several feet high. If there are flammable materials close by, property damage may be inevitable.

Despite these risks, some hosts prefer the deep fryer over the oven or smoker. If that’s the case, careful preparations and precautions can be taken to mitigate the risk for the chef and those planning to attend. If the person responsible for the deep fryer fails to take enough care and someone gets hurt, an injury lawyer in Modesto can help the victim prove negligence.

Precautions for Deep Frying Turkey

Below are some necessary precautions that anyone planning to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving should take:

Measure the oil

Before filling the deep fryer with oil, you must decide how high you want the oil. You can measure the level beforehand using cold water. Place the bird into the deep fryer and fill with water until submerged. Next, remove the turkey, ensuring that you drain all the water back into the pot. Mark the water level. Do not add oil beyond this line. Always leave enough room in the fryer for oil to bubble and rise during cooking.

Cook the turkey in an open space.

Placing the deep fryer outdoors is essential because of the high-rising flames and open fire. Avoid cooking beside walls, on wooden decks, or under pergolas and gazebos.

Wear fireproof gloves

You can reduce the danger of burns by wearing gloves to protect your hands. You can also wear long sleeves so splatters do not directly contact the skin.

Keep fire extinguishers nearby.

Keep a working fire extinguisher close by, just in case. Confirm that the extinguisher you have is safe to use with oil fires.

Never deep fry frozen turkey

Ensure the turkey completely thaws before dipping it into the oil. Defrosting can take several hours, depending on the weight of the bird. Deep frying turkey requires preparations ahead of time. You may need to let the bird sit in the refrigerator for over two days to melt all the ice.

Dry the bird before dipping in oil

Pat dry the turkey with a towel to remove as much moisture as possible.

Track oil temperature

Using a thermometer to track the temperature can help prevent overheating. If the oil becomes too hot, it is best to turn the flame off briefly.

Keep watch.

At no time should you leave your deep fryer unattended. Even a few minutes of distraction can cause a devastating accident.

Call 911 in case of a fire.

Do not hesitate to call for help if a fire starts. Firefighters can significantly reduce damages.

Recovering Damages Resulting from Deep Fryer Accidents

You can recover damages from defective fryer manufacturers if their error causes you injuries. A host or property owner who fails to ensure the safety of their guests is negligent and should be held responsible. With a skilled injury lawyer, Modesto residents injured by a manufacturing defect can recover the compensation they deserve.

If you or someone you love sustains injuries in a turkey deep-frying accident and you’re not sure if you have a valid claim, contact an experienced Modesto burn injury lawyer. Our attorneys can assist with identifying the negligent party and filing the claim.

Consider speaking to the experienced lawyers at Berg Injury Lawyers. We don’t charge attorney fees unless you receive compensation.