Deep-Fried Turkey: 5 Fiery Reasons Not To Do It

If you're reading this, it's probably because you have at least a passing interest in the highly dangerous art of turkey frying. And, if you're seriously considering such a potentially deadly endeavor — and it is deadly, with 15 fire-related deaths reported on Thanksgiving in 2012 — for Turkey Day this year, you should start by learning how not to fry a bird.
We know what you're thinking. Yes, plenty of Americans deep-fry their turkeys each year without incident. But, that's probably because they understand the basics of frying anything. First, recognize that your food (especially a giant fowl) will displace the oil in your pot, causing the oil level to rise closer to the edge. Wet food makes water flash to steam, resulting in violent bubbling that can send oil out of the pot; dropping food into the oil will cause similar splashes.
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If the oil hits the heating element, you have yourself a grease fire like this one.
Since a frozen turkey is basically full of trapped water, make sure your bird is entirely thawed. Otherwise, you get a festive flame ball.
Also, don't fry your turkey in a garage or other enclosed space, unless you're not all that attached to the idea of having a house.
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The man in this video proclaims, "We are now frying a turkey." What he really meant was, "My turkey is engulfed in flames."
If you do find yourself with a fire on your hands, do not spray it with a hose or cover it with a rug. Listen to your daughter (or the nearest child), who learned about baking soda's grease-fire-extinguishing abilities in "biology class."
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If all of this hasn't dissuaded you from dumping a dead bird into an explosive vat of hot fat, please review Alton Brown's safety check list now.
Good luck — you'll need it.
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