Turkey safety tips to keep your feast from going up in flames

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By: Emily Pfund
epfund@flavor574.com

Deep-frying the Thanksgiving turkey can result in a tasty bird or a fiery disaster.

This video from State Farm Insurance shows the potential dangers of deep frying your Thanksgiving feast.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services offers these tips for a safe, tasty turkey.

  • Do not attempt to fry a turkey weighing more than 12 pounds.
  • Place the deep fryer in a safe area outdoors.
  • Make sure the cooking vessel is large enough that the turkey can be covered by one to two inches of oil without overflowing.
  • Place the turkey in the vessel and fill with water to cover the turkey. Remove the turkey and measure the water to determine how much oil is needed.
  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees and monitor the oil temperature throughout the cooking process.
  • Slowly and carefully lower the turkey into the oil.
  • Allow three to five minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey.
  • When the turkey is done, place it on a sturdy tray lined with paper towels. Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Regardless of the method you choose, the turkey needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. Check the temperature using a meat thermometer inserted at the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.

Follow these tips to safely thaw the turkey and prevent the spread of potentially harmful bacteria.

  • When thawing in the refrigerator, allow about 24 hours of thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
  • To thaw a turkey in cold water, first make sure the turkey is securely wrapped in plastic so the water does not come into contact with the meat. Submerge the turkey in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes of thawing time per pound of turkey.
  • Before thawing a turkey in a microwave oven, check the oven’s owner manual for the size of turkey the oven can handle and the time and power levels you should use. Remove all wrapping from the turkey and place it on a microwave-safe dish.

Still have turkey questions? Turkey experts are just a phone call away on the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-288-8372.

Or, ask your questions below in the comments for your fellow readers to help out.

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