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A huge flame erupts from a boiling pot of oil, used by some to fry turkey for Thanksgiving, after New Orleans Fire Superintendent Tim McConnell, right, poured a cup of ice into it demonstrating how dangerous it is to put a frozen turkey into boiling oil.

Fried turkey is great. It's even better if you don’t burn your house down while cooking it.

Here are some tips from State Farm Insurance and The Home Depot on how to safely deep fry a turkey:

Preparation

Set up outdoor fryer on a level surface, but not on decks, and safely away from the house, garage, trees and other structures.

Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.

Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water can cause flare-ups when it hits the hot oil.

If oil overflows when the turkey is put in the pot, it can catch fire. So first determine how much oil you’ll will need. Place the turkey (and fry basket, if applicable) in the empty pot and add water until it covers the top of the turkey by about half an inch. Remove the turkey and basket, allowing the water from the turkey to drain into the pot. Mark the water line with a food-safe marker. When it’s time to cook, fill the pot with oil to that mark. The final oil level after the turkey is submerged should be at least 3 to 5 inches below the top of the pot.

Do not add the stuffing when frying a turkey.

Avoid water-based marinades.

Here's a look at what can happen when turkey frying goes wrong, in a 2018 video from the St. Tammany Parish Fire department.

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The St. Tammany Fire Department completed a turkey frying demonstration Saturday morning (Nov. 17) to warn people of the dangers of improperly frying a turkey this holiday season. Video courtesy of the St. Tammany Fire Department.

Cooking

The ideal cooking temperature for a turkey is 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If the oil reaches 400 degrees, turn off the burner until the temperature drops to 350. If you don’t have a thermometer — which is a bad idea — turn off the burner if the oil starts smoking.

Turn off the burner before putting the turkey in the hot oil, then reignite after the turkey is submerged.

Wear a barbecue apron and oven mitts to protect yourself and have an "ABC" or grease-rated fire extinguisher at hand. Do not use water on a grease fire.

Do not leave the fryer unattended — even briefly.

Cook the turkey about 4 to 5 minutes per pound. For example, a 10-pound turkey needs to cook about 40 to 50 minutes. Dark meat must reach an internal temperature of 175 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. White meat must reach an internal temperature 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing of it.


Email George Morris at gmorris@theadvocate.com.