Deep-frying turkey is a popular holiday tradition for many people across the country, especially on holidays such as Thanksgiving. And while a deep-fried holiday bird is often delicious and festive, it can also be dangerous. Before you make plans to prepare deep-fried turkey for family and friends this Thanksgiving, it’s important to understand how to do so safely using a propane turkey fryer.
The importance of turkey fryer fire safety
Since 2002, there have been more than 170 turkey fryer-related fire, burn, explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning incidents, including 672 injuries and $8 million in property damage reported to the consumer product safety commission. The number one propane-related issue around the holiday season is deep fryer accidents when preparing a Thanksgiving turkey.
How to deep fry a turkey safely: dos and don’ts
- Turn the flame off when lowering the turkey into the oil
- Watch small children around stoves, fryers and other hot surfaces
- Use your deep fryer a safe distance from your home or other structures
- Keep a fire extinguisher near you at all times
- Keep the burner as far away from your propane tank as possible
- Cover bear skin (arms, hands, legs, etc.)
- Deep fry a frozen or partially-frozen turkey
- Overfill the pot with oil
- Wear loose-fitting clothing or leave long hair down
- Put out a grease flame using water
- Deep fry under an awning, patio, garage or cover of any kind
- Drop the turkey in too quickly
Electric turkey fryers: are they safer?
Yes, electric fryers are a safer alternative than traditional deep fryers because they do not require oil. Another safe deep-fryer option is an oil-less propane fryer, like the Charbroil Oil-less Turkey Fryer. This propane-powered, turkey-sized oven will cook a turkey up to 16 pounds in a fraction of the time of a traditional oven, with none of the hazards associated with a deep fryer.
How do you use a propane turkey fryer?
When cooking or heating with propane it’s important to be mindful of how the propane tank is handled and set up. Place both the propane tank and the fryer/heater in a flat area away from flammable materials. Make sure that the hoses connecting to the propane tank and the connecting ports are in working condition. The tank should be placed in an upright position (unless your tank has a lay-down style) and as far from the heat source as the hose will allow.
Can you use a propane turkey fryer inside?
No. Never use a propane turkey fryer anywhere indoors. There are two primary reasons you should never use a propane fryer inside your home or garage. First, the risk of carbon monoxide build-up from the propane gas, and second, the risk of fire hazard from the open flame. There are fryers designed for indoor usage, however. These are often electric or small enough to be used in your kitchen.
How much propane does it take to fry a turkey?
This depends on several factors. But in general, if you are cooking one turkey, one standard 20 pound propane tank will be more than enough to fully cook the bird and then some. Need a refill before the big day? Find a propane refill station near you today to ensure you have enough juice. Or, if you’re not sure if your tank needs a refill, view our tips for when to refill your propane tank.
Are propane heaters safe to use indoors?
Deep fried turkey fires aren’t the only propane safety concern during the winter. If you’re trying to turn up the heat indoors using a propane heater, remember that some propane heaters are not designed for indoor use. Using a heater not designed for indoor use indoors can cause carbon monoxide poisoning due to a build-up of this odorless gas.
Heaters such as the Portable Buddy Heater and the BIG Buddy Indoor Safe Propane Heater have been designed to automatically shut off if they are accidentally tipped over, and are designed to sense when oxygen levels are too low for their location. Visit our propane page for a complete list of portable propane heaters and accessories.
When using propane-powered items, building safeguards will ensure your family and friends stay safe during the holidays. Outdoor heaters, grills, fryers and fire pits are often top heavy with hot lids and handles that could lead to serious injuries. Keeping a careful watch on these dangerous items will keep your little ones and pets safe. Cinderblocks and chairs placed around the perimeter of hot items creates quick and easy barriers to keep your loved ones from accidentally roaming into an unsafe area.
How to use alarms
Be sure to check your smoke alarms and install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. According to the NFPA, approximately 95 percent of US homes have at least one smoke alarm; however, only about 42 percent have a carbon monoxide detector. The threat of odorless carbon monoxide can be detected by a simple alarm that will warn you to get your family to a safe location.