Introduction: How to SAFELY Fry a Turkey

Picture of How to SAFELY Fry a Turkey

I know there are many how-to Fry a turkey Instructables already so I will refrain from reiterating proper oil levels, having fire extinguishers on hand, keeping away from combustibles, completely thawing and drying the birds and the such.

The most dangerous time in turkey frying is putting it in, and taking it out and this is where I'll focus.

You will need:

Fryer kit
2' piece of dimensional lumber (1x2 or 2x4)
3/8" Rope

Step 1: Set Up

Picture of Set Up

Set up your fryer outside away from houses and vehicles. This is a fire hazard.

Fill the fryer to a predetermined level.

Set up ladder over the pot. Tye pulley to your board and position over the opening of the pot.

Step 2: Rig It Up

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When the oil is hot rig up your turkey.

Attach your kits retrieval handle to the end of a 8-10 rope and thread through pulley.

With a smaller piece if rope tie it to your board.

Place board across Rungs of ladder.

Tye the other end of your rope off on a rung and hang your turkey.

Step 3: Lowering Away!

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Untie the bitter end and slowly lower it in.

Step 4: Removal

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Hook your bird and pull it up when its done. You can let it drain over the pot on the line.

Step 5: Be Safe.

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Remember to apply common sense when dealing with fryers. 1000's of turkey fryer accidents happen every year, the majority of which could have been avoided with safety precautions.

Be safe and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving


Azayles (author)2010-11-07

You just know when there's rope and pulleys in the equipment list, a cooking instructable's gonna be fantastic :D

SweetKelly (author)2013-01-30

Nice Tony!

D00M99 (author)2011-11-21

And here's what happens when your not safe-


KNEXFRANTIC (author)D00M992011-11-21

william shatner will come and inform me on how unsafe i am?

hitachi8 (author)2011-11-21

stolen from "Good Eats" American food tv show.

reboney (author)2011-11-21

I have been deep frying turkeys for holidays and family events for some time. One suggestion I would like to add is that once the oil is up to temperature you can turn off the burner. Then put the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is in and worst of the moisture boil off is done (shouldn't take more that a minute) you can relight the burner. That way if there are any accidents or surprising burst of steam and oil vapor the flame will not be there as an ignition point.

vagatarian (author)2010-11-12

I've been frying turkeys for 10 years. His instructables is good, but epic failure on the mess left behind on driveway. DUDE, you should have put down a sheet of plywood or at least some large flat cardboard box panels to "soak up" the oil you spilt, yo

Oh and this was already done with Alton Brown on Good Eats (you obviously got it from him).


static (author)2010-11-09

A good instructable as far as it goes. I'd recommend watching Alton Brown's episode on frying turkeys.. Can be seen at youtube. But you don't get to the step ladder "turkey derrick" and the actual frying until the third part. I really must be from hicksville. Oil on the driveway? Shrug, oil on the driveway is a natural state for a driveway. Though I'd use floor dyr to sop up as much as possible, because I never know when I'd have lay or sit on that spot. Safety to all those fry cooks the upcoming holiday season. Keep the young apprentices safely back from the action

me tun (author)2009-11-23

That oil has left an almighty mess on your driveway! Your wife will not be happy.

Lextone (author)me tun2009-11-23

That's why I did it in the Neighbors driveway ;o)

mbainrot (author)Lextone2010-11-08

That my friend is a WIN :D

edit: Needless to say, Your neighbors wife is prolly not happy :)

Lextone (author)mbainrot2010-11-08

Heh... I've posted this several times but no one cleaned up rather easily and left no stain.

Dr KAZ (author)Lextone2010-11-09

Yup, So what if you spilled - a little bit of drain cleaner flakes/powder spread over the spillage, left for a few minutes and hosed down properly will take care of it in a flash. Less effort and much cheaper than kitty litter/ruining the lawn.

junits15 (author)2010-11-07

Dont touch the fries in the hot fat it really hurts bad and so do skin grafts! Would you like an apple pie with that?

alanhowe (author)junits152010-11-07

DING fries are done, DING fries are done...

Nice to find camaraderie among the sickos out there!

Lextone (author)alanhowe2010-11-08

Im glad someone picked up on that...heh heh

rrmola (author)2010-11-08

That turkey was probably fantastic, but now you must be prudent wiyh your car: you now have a slipery garage entrance...

pfdradio (author)2010-11-08

I have a similar setup, but I use it on the grass to avoid the oil mess. Definitely better with the ladder & pulley setup.

biffula (author)pfdradio2010-11-08

Yes pfdradio, definitely dont do it on your concrete like this guy. Huge mess and stain. Do it out on the grass, or over a piece of plywood or something.

jsummerlin (author)2010-11-08

So it takes a hoisting pulley system to put a 10-12 pound bird in the oil?
First off if you knew anything about frying a bird you would put cardboard
underneath the fryer.
Next use a long glove and slowly put the bird in the oil. If the bird is dry and the butt is cut off, there's no problems.
This comes from a Cajun where turkey frying was invented.
Now go look up Cajun Microwave for the roasted version of a gobbler.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

kckckc2522 (author)2010-11-07

After several years of deep frying, we purchased a Big Easy infrared turkey fryer. No oil ~ tastes the same ~ easy clean up ~ love it!

Remag1234 (author)2010-11-07

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but look for the video of Alton Brown deep frying a turkey. It may still be on the Food Network Channel. He does not make any mess because it's done on grass/dirt

Lextone (author)Remag12342010-11-07

Yeah, saw that after someone sent me the link. I learned this from a buddy of mine who saw it down south.

I should have done an ible on clean up. Took 2 minutes to splash some Simple Green on it...hit it with a brush and hose it off. Really, not a big deal and not permanent.

siliconghost (author)2010-11-07

Not sure what happened while you were cooking but that seems like an awful lot of splashing going on to your driveway. When I do them I might have a couple drops on the ground and that's it. I also use one of those BBQ grill mats (found at Home Depot or Lowes) to protect the surface underneath.

I've found that the key to safety is taking your sweet time when lowering the turkey in. Watch how the oil is responding and lift the bird back out if needed. The oil will instantly settle back down. It can take 1 - 2 minutes to get the bird completely submerged when doing it this way, but I've never had a problem and nothing even close to a boil over. Every case of "disaster" I've seen or heard of involved people dropping the turkey in way too fast.

Someone else also recommended turning the flame off while lowering the turkey in. I agree that is the safest method of all if you're really paranoid or a 1st time fryer.

Lextone (author)siliconghost2010-11-07

It was lowered in slowly. When it was almost submerged we had a "volcanic" reaction out the neck of the turkey from a trapped pocket of broth that was injected. Kinda exploded all at once. We did 3 turkeys that day. Only the first one did that. Im glad I did the ladder...that would have hurt!

Made for a good pic though.

The oil cleaned up quickly with Simple green, a brush and a hose.

Hiroak (author)2010-11-07

I fry a turkey about 4 or 5 times a year and never have problems. I just lower the turkey or duck or what not into the fryer like it tells you to and follow the instructions that come with the fryer and I never get spill or splatter or need a latter.

lanceearlhaines (author)2010-11-07

I cant help notice all the splatter and overflow all over your driveway. Not very safe, and your pristine driveway is stained. Too much oil or the bird is too large for your fryer. Don't spill splatter or drip for maximum safety and minimum cleanup. I have done the fry for the past 5 Thanksgivings and have only had a few drops on the ground post flame.

explosivemaker (author)2009-11-29

Even safer technique:

Turn off the flame right before lowering in turkey. If there's is overflow you can just clean in up without having to deal with someone catching on fire or being blown up. After it's in, light it up again and you're good to go.

Verga (author)explosivemaker2010-11-07

Best comment of the Ible. I have been toying witht he idea of frying this years bird and this made the decision for me.
Seriously thank you for a great tip, as I smack my head and say why didn't I think of that.

CK1 (author)2009-11-23

Good walk-through.  I've always been hesitant doing this on un-protected concrete (as the oil soaks in and stains).  Any suggestions there?

arthur.nudge (author)CK12009-11-24

I haven't tried it, but I'm thinking that a inch-thick doughnut of kitty litter around the fryer might absorb the splatter before it gets a chance to soak into the pavement.

Spokehedz (author)arthur.nudge2010-11-07

or, you know, do it on the grass where the oil won't be seen by anybody...

StuNutt (author)Spokehedz2010-11-07

. . . . unlss someone notices a 20-foot circle of dead grass where hot oil killed the grass and the roots!

Spokehedz (author)StuNutt2010-11-07

Don't over fill the pot, and it won't spill over. I have never had any dead grass from all the times I have fried.

How not to kill your grass, and not waste oil:

1. Unwrap your turkey, remove the giblets/temp probe from the cavity of the bird.

2. Put your turkey into the pot.

3. Fill with water until it hits the line where it says "MAX FILL" on the pot.

4. Remove turkey from pot.

5. Measure the water volume. Use that much oil, and you won't get spill over when you fry.

Lextone (author)arthur.nudge2009-11-24

That sounds feasible...put cardboard down with the kitty litter on top...Take pics and do an Instructable...

GrumpyOldGoat (author)Lextone2010-11-07

Instead of cardboard, use an overly large piece of plastic dropcloth with at least an inch of kitty litter.

Cleanup is a matter of lifting the corners and bundling it up to the garbage can.

Rainh2o (author)CK12009-11-26

cardboard underneath the fryer

Lextone (author)CK12009-11-23

Thanks...Hot water and simple green got 95% of it up, No fume oven cleaner allowed to soak in for 30 minutes and another hot water rinse took care of the rest.

Gunsotsu (author)2010-11-07

Straight from "Good Eats" to Instructbles. All that splatter is a result of either not drying your turkey thoroughly enough, using too much oil, or both. And as a starting point for safety's sake you should be at least 30 feet away from any structure.

mkkrushmt (author)Gunsotsu2010-11-07

Just what I was thinking :)

sniffydogs (author)2010-11-07

A neighbor burned down his garage and damaged his home a few years ago. Be careful out there!

nemfield (author)2010-11-07

I have successfully done this in up here in Ontario, Canada a few times. Great in Winter as it keeps you warm as well. I usually do spice marinate and let it sit overnight. Remember to remove the spices on the outside as they burn and char easily. Otherwise watch out for the OIL. I suggest an old 4x8 WET plywood sheet to save your driveway. AND an appropriate Fire extinguisher.

sismart (author)2010-11-07

Is having an oil mess going to be something that happens every time? What about putting newspapers down or doing it over the grass, or even out on the street?

KryptoTSD (author)2010-11-07

Thanks for this Instructable! I have always wanted to fry a Turkey and now I can!
I just have to install a sandpit in the back yard for that purpose... Again, Thanks!

gopherhead89 (author)2009-11-29

with the oil on the concrete I've found if you wet then hit it with Dawn dish washing soap all over let it sit for awhile 30 mins should be enough .Rinse with hose or sprayer if it doesnt get it repeat

kars85 (author)2009-11-24

 although this might come off as a no-brainer, make sure your turkey isn't soaking wet or holding water inside.  bad, bad news.

Joel67 (author)2009-11-22

Safety Step 1.    Before Adding the oil, put the turkey in the fryer and take a measuring cup and add cups of water till you fully cover the turkey.  Write down this number, take the turkey out dump the water, fully dry the fryer, then add the number of measuring cups of oil. This will lessen the chances of overflow and fire.

arthur.nudge (author)Joel672009-11-24

Also, dry the turkey -- inside and out. You don't want excess water in there, because it will cause splattering.

Joel67 (author)arthur.nudge2009-11-24

OOOps yeah your right .  Water and hot oil don't mix.

Lextone (author)arthur.nudge2009-11-24

Yes, thawing, drying, proper oil level, extinguishers, etc.... is all turkey frying 101 and covered in every Turkey Frying Instructable out there, as I stated in my opening remarks. Instructions are also found in the Turkey Fryer Instruction booklet that come with your kit as well.

I had a splattering issue because of the marinade I injected into the breast. A pocket of fluid by the tenderloin formed and caused a mini volcano to form from the turkeys neck hole. This was one of two turkeys I did that day. The 2nd turkey was uneventful.

Brine soaking a turkey is debated as a better alternative to injecting, but it is more a matter of taste as far as I am concerned.

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