‘Babysit your bird:’ Austin Fire shows what not to do when frying Thanksgiving turkey

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Deep frying a turkey is a quick way to pack a ton of flavor into Thanksgiving’s main course in a short amount of time, but as the Austin Fire Department demonstrates, a lot can go wrong if the rules aren’t followed.

AFD released its yearly video about frying a turkey the safe and correct way Tuesday, just in time for rookie chefs to learn the proper way to get the bird done and not burn your house down.

First thing is first, don’t overfill your pot with oil. As the firefighter in the video shows, overfilling your pot causes huge flare-ups while the oil splashing out and can start a structure on fire quickly. To see how much liquid you’ll need to submerge your turkey for cooking, use water in the pot without the gas on to test it out.

“It’s important to drop the turkey slowly,” said Capt. Bennison with AFD.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and patted dry to get as much moisture off the turkey as possible. Give it at least three days (more depending on the size of it) to thaw in a refrigerator. When the ice hits the hot oil, Bennison said, the water vaporizes and sends steam bubbles filled with oil into the air.

Keep your fryer away from buildings (like your house, or perhaps a tree in your yard) and anything that’s combustible. AFD said more than one-third of fires involving turkey fryers start in a garage or on a patio.

Never use water to put out a grease fire. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case, but if it gets too hot to handle, call 911 immediately.

“Water will make the situation worse,” Bennison said. “You have to use an extinguisher.”

Don’t leave the fryer unattended. Typically, the fryers hooked up to propane don’t have a thermostat, so if you aren’t watching it, the oil can get too hot and combust.

“Be sure to babysit your bird,” AFD said.

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