Scottsdale Fire Department demonstrates proper way to deep fry a turkey

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Exploding turkeys are uninvited guests at Thanksgiving dinner.  But every year it can happen when a turkey fryer catches fire.

The Scottsdale Fire Department gave ABC15 a demonstration on the right and wrong way to fry a turkey for this upcoming Thanksgiving's festivities. 

"350 degrees Fahrenheit is all you need to cook your turkey," said Scottsdale Fire Division Chief Kerry Swick. "Above 400 degrees, that's when your oil gets to it's ignition temperature and can violently catch fire."

Swick said that Thanksgiving has the highest call volume for kitchen fires of any day out of the year.

"Probably people who haven't cooked the other 364 days a year giving it a shot," joked Swick. 

So take some advice from the experts.  Swick said make sure your turkey is completely defrosted. 

Water in a frozen turkey can explode.

"Typically the problem is the oil level is too high initially. It's over-flowing and going right into the open flames of the gas burner," said Swick. 

Swick recommends doing the water test before frying. 

Put the turkey in the empty frying pot and add water until it rises an inch or two above the top of the turkey. Next, remove the turkey and mark the water level after it drops. This is the oil fill line prior to adding the turkey during frying. 

Other safety precautions include frying your turkey outside away from your house, wood patios or overhangs. 

And of course, always have a fire-extinguisher nearby.

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