SAN ANTONIO – Deep-fried turkey can be a tasty tradition, but preparing it can be dangerous and even deadly, fire officials warn.
The San Antonio Fire Department recently demonstrated what not to do. Demonstrators put a partially thawed turkey into a fryer that was filled with too much oil that was too hot. Within seconds, boiling oil overflowed and a fireball erupted.
When it comes to frying turkey, Fire Chief Charles Hood urges people to read and follow directions and not wing it.
"This is a lot different than throwing some ribs on the grill or trying a brisket for the first time," he said. "This could cost you your life."
Cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving more than any other day of the year, and Texas leads the nation when it comes to insurance claims due to Thanksgiving cooking fires.
Fire department officials offered the following safety tips:
Set up in a safe space — at least 10 feet away from the house and not on a patio, deck or next to the garage.
Thoroughly thaw the turkey and pat it dry. Oil and water do not mix, and an explosion may occur if the turkey is wet.
Don't overfill the pot, but do follow the equipment directions.
Turn off the burner while you slowly lower the bird into the oil, and then turn it back on.
Have a multi-use fire extinguisher nearby. Do not try to put out a grease fire with water, as it will get worse.
Wear oven mitts and goggles when putting the turkey into the oil.
Never leave a fryer unattended, and keep children at a safe distance.