We hope you’ll decide to fry your bird in Bacon Up this year — we know you’ll love the moist, tasty turkey that results!
But PLEASE – be safe doing it. We’ve been frying turkeys since 1987 when we welded together a burner that could hold a pot big enough for a turkey, and we’ve put together some safety tips based on things we’ve learned along the way:
Begin with the Bird
- Smaller turkeys are safer to fry. Birds in the 8-10 pound range are best and we recommend that you do not exceed 12 pounds. If you have a big crowd and need more meat, then do two! At 3 minutes a pound, a 10-pound turkey will be done in 30 minutes and you can keep it warm in a 180° oven while you fry the second one.
- Be sure the turkey is COMPLETELY thawed! Start early in the fridge and if you suspect there may still be pockets of ice anywhere internally, soaking in warm water may be helpful.
- Then dry like the dickens!! Water and oil are a dangerous combination, so dry your bird thoroughly to prevent flare-ups and flames. Our family likes to take the turkey out of the refrigerator two hours before to help it dry out. And when you’re drying it off, don’t forget to dry under the flaps and in all the little pockets!
- Be sure the internal cavity is empty! Remember to remove all the turkey innards, skip the stuffing (at least in the bird!) and do not prep your turkey with water-based marinades. Your safety depends on a clean, thawed, dry turkey.
Check list: Stock up on Supplies with Safety in Mind
- THERMOMETER – You’ll need a thermometer and a clamp that holds it onto the top of the pot – or a fryer that comes with a built-in thermometer/temperature control gauge.
- FIRE EXTINGUISHER – Be sure to have a grease-rated fire extinguisher on hand. It should be a medium-sized ABC dry chemical extinguisher. And remember – NO Water! NO Garden Hose! Ever!!
- METAL LID – Have a metal lid handy that will completely cover your fryer pot. This is a quick way to smother flames and kill a fire, if you catch it while it’s small. If your fryer did not come with a lid, a flat baking sheet will also work, if it’s large enough to cover the entire pot.
- OVEN MITTS or GLOVES – Protect yourself with oven mitts or flame-proof, protective gloves that will cover your wrist and forearm. Note: Welders’ gloves work very well!
- GOGGLES or SAFETY GLASSES – Protect your eyes from bubbling oil that may jump the pot and reach your face.
- SIDE TABLE – Set up a table to hold all of the above safety equipment, as well as the other frying equipment you’ll use.
- PROPER CLOTHING – Long pants, old shoes, and an apron are also suggested.
Setting the Scene for Safety
- It’s obvious, I know, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow this one – Outdoor fryers MUST BE USED OUTDOORS! And this does NOT mean the garage, under a covered porch, or next to the house!
- Find a level, fire-proof surface away from the house/garage, trees, bushes, overhangs, fences, etc. And, no, the deck is not safe! A patio, driveway, or flat/level part of the yard away from the house, etc. will work.
- Think it through and choose a safe spot wisely, because once you fire-up your fryer, do not move it! Let it cool completely before moving or cleaning up – a minimum of a couple hours, typically.
- As you set everything up and prepare to fry, be sure the propane tank is at least 2 feet away from the burner.
Ready, Set, Fry – Safely!!
- Check the weather and DO NOT deep-fry in rain, sleet, snow or hail. Remember that warning about oil and water?
- VERY IMPORTANT – Keep children and pets INDOORS. Away from the fryer. Period. Make sure the football game and cornhole tossing is on the other side of the yard so no errant objects hit the pot!
- Do not overfill the fryer with Bacon Up. Check the manufacturer’s suggested fill level OR gauge with water by placing your thawed turkey in the pot and covering it with water. Remove the turkey and then note or mark where the water line is. This is how much bacon grease you should add to account for how much the level will rise due to displacement when the turkey is in the pot.
- Before submerging the (completely DRY) turkey, TURN THE BURNER OFF. And, of course, you remembered to put on your gloves or oven mitts and goggles. Of course!
- Don’t leave the fryer unattended. Hang out, and monitor the temperature of the oil throughout. You’ll want to target about 370° to start and then maintain the temperature in the 350°-360° range. If it exceeds 400° or you see smoke, turn the burner off right away to allow the temperature to decrease. If you see a flame, cover with the lid or use the fire extinguisher, depending on the size/severity of the flare-up.
- Once the turkey has reached the desired internal temperature of 165°F – which will generally take 3 minutes per pound – then TURN THE BURNER OFF before lifting the finished turkey out of the fryer. Oil dripping onto a lit burner can ignite, and we certainly don’t want that!
- Even after you’re done frying, someone needs to continue monitoring the pot. Never leave hot grease unattended in a back yard! The grease remains dangerously hot for a LONG time after the burner is off and a hot pot of oil should never be unattended. Never!!
So there you have it… Enjoy. Be safe. BACON UP!