Can I Deep-fry My Turkey In My Garage?

November 25, 2013
The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner and my family is all abuzz about what we will do for our Thanksgiving meal.  This year we’ve considered making a fried turkey over the expected oven baked, stuffed turkey.  It’s a tasty spin on a traditional meal that seems to be a hit whenever it’s made.  Unfortunately, turkey deep fryers have been the cause of many fires, injuries, and instances of property damage.  Just last Thanksgiving the Chicago Tribune reported that a single turkey fryer caused $80,000 in damage to a wealthy homeowner’s garage.  The entire contents of the garage were ruined by time the flames were extinguished roughly 20 minutes later. Other homeowners have been even more unfortunate and lost entire homes to a flaming deep fryer.  That seems like a steep price to pay for a crispy bird.


In hopes of having a happy, and ultimately safe Thanksgiving holiday Above & Beyond Door Systems would like to remind you of one very important warning:  NEVER FRY A TURKEY IN A GARAGE!  Believe me, we know how chilly and unpredictable the weather is on an Ohio Thanksgiving day, but the danger present is just not worth the risk.  If you’re going to fry the bird, you’d better bundle up and do it out in the open.


Look at the design of a turkey fryer – combining a container of boiling oil and an open propane flame – it’s a disaster waiting to happen.  When oil is heated over 300 degrees it can become as flammable as gasoline.  Considering that gallons of oil are needed for use, that’s a lot of flammable material to be playing with.

Here are some additional safety tips Above & Beyond Door would like to recommend to our friends attempting to fry turkeys this year:

1.  Read the instructions!

2.  Never use the turkey fryer on a wooden deck, in a garage, under any awnings, or near a wooden structure.  The fryer should always be used a safe distance away from the home or attached buildings.

3.  Keep the fryer away from all flammable and combustible materials like gas grills and vehicles.

4.  Try to place the fryer on a level dirt surface to avoid accidental spills and tipping.  Avoid frying on grass lawns as the vegetation can catch fire.  Do not fry on top of concrete because the dripping oil may cause stains.

5.  If it’s still hot, it’s still dangerous.  Because most units do not have thermostat controls the oil just continues to get hotter and hotter.  Monitor the heat and make sure it is properly cooled before leaving.  When a turkey fryer becomes too hot they don’t just catch fire, they explode.

6.  Never leave the fryer unattended.  It’s a 2 man task.  The best bet is to have a helper to run in and out while you do the frying.  It only takes a few moments of a fryer being unwatched for disaster to strike.  The fire that forms when a fryer catches fire has been referred to as a vertical flame thrower by many.

7.  Use the right amount of oil.  There has to be enough room to allow for the turkey to be placed inside.  Too much oil will be displaced by the turkey, running over the sides and igniting into massive upward flames as they instantly meet the propane fire below.

The best way to determine how much oil you will need is to do a “test run” with water.  Place the turkey in the basket or pot and fill the frying pot with water.  You want the water to be about 1 to 2 inches above the turkey.  Once the water is 1 to 2 inches above the turkey, remove the turkey and note the level where the water remains.  You will want to fill the pot up with oil to only that point.  Be sure to thoroughly dry the frying pot before placing oil in it.

8.  Be cautious of what kind of oil you use to fry the turkey as guests might be allergic to certain kinds like peanut oil.

9.  Do not stuff deep frying turkeys.

10.  Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before being lowered into the fryer.  The National Turkey Federation states an average turkey takes about 24 hours per every 5 pounds of turkey to thaw in a refrigerator.  The trapped ice and water beneath the turkey’s skin will cause the oil to burst out of the fryer as the water is released.  This hot oil can splash a nearby guest or splash down into the fire below.

11.  Make sure the turkey is cooked through and not raw.  A thoroughly cooked turkey should start to float in the oil.

12.   Be prepared!  Have a fire extinguisher nearby and always wear safety apparel when frying.  I recommend some protective goggles for your eyes and a heavy duty, well insulated oven mitt.

13.  Never use water to extinguish a grease fire, it will only make things worse.  That’s why it is so important to have a proper fire extinguisher handy.

14.  Keep all children and pets away from the fryer.  It can remain extremely hot for hours after its use has ended.

From this Akron, Ohio garage repair guy’s family to yours, have a happy Thanksgiving.  As always, Above & Beyond Door Systems looks forward to serving your garage door needs all year long.

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