Based on information I received from my friends at State Farm Insurance Company, more cooking fires occur in the Lone Star State on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. Texas is the top state in the nation when it comes to cooking fires at Thanksgiving. My friends at State Farm have put together a short video to show what actually goes wrong when deep frying a turkey. Cooking-related claims more than double on Thanksgiving Day compared to an average day any other time of the year. With the popularity of deep-frying turkeys on the rise, more people put themselves in harms way and run a higher risk at burning themselves, others and their properties.



Local Fire Departments respond to more than 1,000 fires every year in which deep fryers are involved. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says deep fried turkey fires cause more than $15 million in property damage every year and burns, injuries and even deaths have occurred due to deep-fried turkeys.

Here are a few short tips to help make turkey frying a little more safe. Over 33% of turkey fryer fires start in the garage or patio,make sure you cook outdoors at a far away safe distance from any buildings or trees and keep the fryer off any wooden structures or patios. Avoid a hot over spill by first filling the pot with the oil cold and then lower your thawed turkey into the pot to make sure the oil level if perfect. Always shut off the fuel to the fire-before you ever put the turkey into the hot oil pot, to prevent a dangerous flare-up if oil does spill over the rim. Make sure your turkey is properly thawed before lowering it slowly into the pot.

Never leave your hot turkey fryer unattended. Never, ever use ice or water to cool down oil or extinguish an oil fire.

According to the State Farm Insurance claims data, the top 10 states for grease and cooking-related claims on Thanksgiving Day (2005-2010) are as follows:

  1. Texas 36
  2. Illinois 24
  3. Ohio 21
  4. New York 17
  5. Pennsylvania 17
  6. Michigan 15
  7. Florida 14
  8. Minnesota 14
  9. Indiana 13
  10. Louisiana 12

Keep in mind that most of all these turkey fryer fires were preventable. Knowing how, when and where to deep fry the turkey is most important. Just as important is having the right equipment, the most common mistake for most people is the turkey is not “completely thawed” and the fryer pots are too small. Just because your bird fits in the pot doesn’t mean that it can be used for frying the bird. You’ll need a pot large enough to fit the turkey with more than enough room for the hot oil to rise and cover the bird, and then it still my not be big enough. I used a pot that will accommodate two 9 to 12 pound turkeys, however I never cook two birds at once. I would rather err on the side of caution, besides since I have had to fry over a hundred turkeys in my lifetime I much more prefer a oven baked golden brown 20 pound turkey and have plenty for left-overs. In fact, lets try in impromptu poll here, how do you like you turkey cooked?