Why fry a turkey? Because it's delicious. And fast. Now that I've fried a turkey for Thanksgiving, I'm not sure if I could go back. Not only is it extremely tender and flavorful with perfectly crisp skin, but we were able to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for 15 in less than two hours start to finish. When cooking a traditional Thanksgiving feast there are often traffic jams for oven time, so being able to free up your oven is one of the biggest advantages to frying. Plus, it's fun!

Step 1: Safety

Safety, who needs that? Safety third! But seriously, people burn down their houses every year from doing something dumb with a turkey fryer. As long as you follow basic safety concepts regarding frying oil over an open flame, you're gonna be fine.

Safety Tips:
• Fry your turkey outside, away from anything flammable. As in, not on your wooden deck, inside your garage, in your kitchen, or anywhere that overflowing flaming oil would be catastrophic to your home. Read: concrete, dirt, gravel away from everything, on level ground. Put the propane tank as far away from the fryer as possible.

• Make sure your turkey is thawed and dry. A frozen turkey can explode, and a wet turkey will make the oil bubble to the point of overflowing when lowing in the turkey.

• Do not use too much oil. If the oil overflows, you've got potential for an oil fire. Most turkey fryers will have an oil line to save you the trouble, but when in doubt, put your turkey in the fryer, fill with water until turkey is covered, take out the turkey, and mark the water line so you know exactly how much oil to use.

• Don't leave the fryer unattended. Once the flame is on, keep an eye on the turkey and the temperature. If the oil starts smoking, turn down your heat. You want to cook at a steady 350 degrees.

• Lower turkey into the fryer slowly to avoid oil overflowing. You can turn off the burner during this process so if oil does spill it doesn't catch fire, then turn it back on once the turkey is in.

• Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Oil catches on fire if it exceeds a certain temperature. First it will smoke, so if you see the oil start to smoke turn down your heat. If there is a fire, it is an oil fire so do not use water to extinguish. If there is a fire, kill the flame and cover the pot if it's safe to do so, and if not call the fire department immediately.

Image courtesy of this site, which has further reading on safety guidelines.

I've done about 6 or 7 now. I really like that you mentioned turning off the burner while adding the bird. I think its the best safety tip around, and my manual didn't mention it. I discovered it myself on my third attempt which was a bit oversize and could have been bad if we weren't paying attention.
Duck is sublime, goose is still goose (not a fan of goose cooked in any way). I like to fry spam while the bird cooks ( I use a long hot dog fork) to help fend off the teenager appetites...they got hooked on spam a few years back on a camping trip!
nice,I have been deep frying birds for over 15 years.IMO it is the only way to do turkeys or even chicken(never tried a duck or goose).I use an empty beer keg and 5 gallons of peanut oil, the bottom of the keg fits snugly on the rim of the burner so no chance of it falling off.I have cooked a 23 lb turkey in it and had plenty of room.Also I have never used a basket just have a round stainless steel rack on the bottom to keep the bird from contacting the keg,works great.
Thanks for the tip. Seems like any method to keep the bird from having direct contact with the bottom will work, good suggestion.

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Bio: I'm a designer at Instructables. I have a degree in fashion design and like to sew, get crafty, and attempt to use power tools.
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