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deep fried turkey

thinking of deep frying a turkey this thanksgiving. people rave about it, but i've always been worried about the safety issues. found a great blog post about the topic...


think i'll give it a try this year. any other tips out there?

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  1. I'll just say, like I say every year "Be extremely Careful" and "Have A fire extinguisher nearby". I've never tried it myself as I have an extremely active toddler and minimal space but would love to.

    1. It is SO delicious!!!
      The peanut oil ends up costing more than the turkey so do make plans to strain and store it for another turkey fry.
      One of my neighbors will invite others to fry up a turkey in his pot when he does his so sometimes it's been a group party. And then we all carry the turkeys to our own homes for lunch or dinner.

      Be careful on a wood, slate, brick or other surface that will absorb grease. It can get messy if you splatter.
      Keep kids well away.
      As well as anybody who's had a few to drink.
      That turkey is awkward when you pull it out of the hot grease and it's easy to let it splash if you aren't careful.

      1. The article sounds spot on to me. The only other thing I'd recommend is placing the deep fryer away from your house. I do mine in the driveway, in case something goes wrong I don't burn down my house!

        4 Replies
        1. re: altond

          has anyone used the electric fryer described in the article? sounds safer...

          1. re: hungry_bear

            Don't be scared of the gas, Hungry bear. I've got a friend that deep fries 2-3 turkeys a year and is usually 6-7 beers in before he starts. He hasn't had a fire incident yet. Although, he may just be extremely lucky.

            1. re: altond

              Just goes to prove dumb luck, the beer won't be a problem if everything goes well. I wouldn't want to have my judgement that impaired if something went wrong.

            2. re: hungry_bear

              I have used both an electric fryer and gas fryer. We actually have used the electric fryer indoors in the kitchen. I feel safer with the electric fryer but you are still dealing with a large quantity of hot oil.

              I would have no issues using the gas fryer again. But you definitely need to be more cautious with the gas fryer. If you plan on using the electric fryer on a regular basis, then it may be worth the extra money.

          2. My brother always rigged a pulley system from which to suspend the bird. It made the descent into and ascent from the oil much, much safer, since hands and body were off to the side and my brother could halt the pulley and tie the cord at any point in the process (very handy for the exit, when it takes some time for the oil in the gut of the bird to exit through the neck cavity). I would not consider doing this without that kind of system, as my brother explained all the things that can go wrong without it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              Until the pulley system breaks :)

              OP: no system is foolproof, but care and attention will minimize the chances of any major disasters from occuring. I will second/third the idea of keeping it away from the house (we usually do it in a sand pit well away from the home), which of course, necessitates gas. Otherwise, that article is pretty accurate.

              1. re: Karl S

                Pulley system sounds great. If the bird is wet when you lower it into the hot oil, it will "boil over." It would be nice to not have to be right next ot it if that happens.

              2. Smart and Final carries peanut oil in large quantities so that it won't break the bank. If you purchase that much in a regular grocery store, the oil will cost more than the turkey!

                1. This topic comes up every year about this time.
                  Look back for reams of answers.
                  I have done it many times, it's not hard, it's not overly expensive if you strain and reuse your peanut oil, and it's not that dangerous if you use your head.
                  For me it all comes down to this - I like deep fried turkey better at the first serving, but I like leftover oven roasted turkey better, and for me, the turkey leftovers rule.
                  This year the deep fryer stays in the utility room.

                  1. If you have good common sense and a modicum of outdoor cooking/frying experience, it's not very hard at all. The blog entry does cover the basics--submerge the turkey in water before hand to determine the appropriate fill level for the pot being the MOST important tip, iMHo. Don't run out and buy an electric fryer; good ol' propane will do the trick. A word or two on propane burners...if you have the basic "jet" type, rather than the ring burner kind, it is a good idea to get a piece of 3/8 inch scrap steel (any thinner will warp with repeated uses) cut into a round slightly larger than your largest pot. This acts as a heat diffuser; once you heat up the steel, it will transfer heat evenly across the entire bottom of the pot, instead of the spot beneath the jet being MUCH hotter than the edges of the pot.

                    And you should endeavor to dry the turkey well before dunking. Wear long pants, boots, long sleeves in case of oil spatter. Don't set up under the carport or overhang in case of flameup. Think ahead about used oil disposal, too (you can dig a hole in the backyard and pour it in if necessary--cooking oil will biodegrade fairly quickly, but it is not a good idea if you have a dog or other animals around).