Here's How To Deep-Fry Your Thanksgiving Turkey Safely

It's your turn to host Thanksgiving this year. You may not like to hear it, but the sooner you accept it the sooner you can start figuring out what to do. Your biggest concern, aside from making sure you have enough space and how to invite those "colorful" family members, is probably going to be cooking, especially the turkey. You really want to impress your folks this year, so you decide to read up on some of the best ways to prepare a turkey. One article you come across is particularly interesting: deep-frying a turkey. Can you actually deep-fry an entire Thanksgiving turkey?

The earliest mentions of a deep-fried turkey seem to be traced back to an article published in the Times-Picayune newspaper in 1984 (via NOLA). USA Today reports that the act of deep-frying turkeys goes back a bit earlier, with roots in Cajun cooking during the 1970s. While this may not come as a surprise to some (after all, if we can deep-fry a chicken, why not deep-fry a turkey), the idea of tossing an entire bird in a pot of boiling oil sounds both absurd and yet temptingly delicious.

Just as tossing drumsticks and chicken wings into a deep-fryer requires some degree of safety, you'll need to know a few simple but important safety tips before you go lowering your Butterball into a vat of oil. After all, a safety-conscious mind is all that stands between a delicious dinner and a holiday trip to your local ER.

It's best to deep-fry your turkey outside

Unlike preparing your average fried chicken, deep-frying a whole turkey will require two key things: a larger fryer and plenty of space. As PBS explains, the most important thing you should do involves thawing and drying your bird instead of dunking it in right from the freezer. If not, the excess water in the turkey will react to the scalding oil, according to Scientific American, causing it to bubble over and cause a fire hazard. Ensure that your turkey is completely dry before you start the fryer. 

As to where you should deep-fry your turkey, it's suggested to move that giant deep fryer out of the kitchen and outside, preferably away from the house and on a flat, level area. As you follow the chosen recipe for a deep-fried turkey, it's recommended to have someone accompany you to ensure that the fryer isn't left unattended. You should also keep a small fire extinguisher or other fire-prevention tools with you, just in case your deep-fried fun takes a nasty turn.

Does this imply that deep-frying a turkey is insanely dangerous? No, but in the hands of someone who hasn't done it before, it can be. According to The Atlantic, deep-fryer accidents (alongside other cooking fires) occur the most on Thanksgiving Day, presumably to people who are wildly inexperienced with a deep-fryer. 

While a deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey is both juicy, tender, and delicious, common sense and a focus on safety should always come first.