How to Fry Turkey and Avoid the Emergency Room

If you're deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey and you want to keep disaster off the menu, the Houston Fire Department has some important safety tips to keep in mind. Rod Rice reports.
For the 5th year in a row Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen will provide Cajun turkey's to all Houston Fire Stations on Thanksgiving. Chief Phil Boriskie says Popeye's generosity is a far cry from the days when a thanksgiving turkey was a fire department prank played on rookies.

Boriskie was a rookie in 19-82 at station-16.

"The Captain he told me, he said, listen rookie you need to go to station-1 headquarters and pickup our thanksgiving turkey."

Fire fighters gathered at Fire Station 8 at Louisiana and Calhoun to thank the restaurant and to offer the turkey frying tips.

A lot of things can go wrong when deep frying a turkey. Fire Captain Beda Kent says one of the most common is over spilling.

"So to avoid over filling the pot with oil you want to do a displacement measure. You do that the day before.  You measure out that pot with water to where it covers up the turkey and that is your measurement for that pot for that turkey."

Over spilling can also be caused by oil that's too hot or a turkey that has too much water on it. Boiling hot oil spilling or flying out of the fryer can be very dangerous so where the frying is done is critical.

"You want to make sure you're at a level area away from any combustible items, away from the garage away from the home on a level playing field."

And never leave the fryer unattended.

Captain Kent says you are not out of the danger zone even after your turkeys cooked.

"Oh, especially after you're done because that oil will remain hot for hours so we want to make sure no children, no pets anywhere around the pot at all even before, during and after the cooking of the turkey."

And of course the one mistake that will have you in the emergency room on Thanksgiving is put a frozen turkey in boiling oil.

So with all the trouble and the potential for mishap that is possible when deep frying a turkey the question is why bother?

"Once you eat this you'll never what to go back."
Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...