BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some people expect sparks to fly during conversations at the dinner table on Thanksgiving, but local officials warn if you’re not careful with the dinner, itself, an actual fire may start.

Especially when deep-frying a turkey, so don’t let your holiday go up in flames this year.

If you should find a small fire on your stove top, the simplest way to put it out is to cover it. If the fire is in the oven, use a fire extinguisher and closer the door. That’s according to fire officials in the town of Brookhaven. They demonstrated the dangers of Thanksgiving cooking on Thursday.

Deep Frying Turkey Dangers

Town of Brookhaven officials show the dangers of deep frying turkey (Credit: Jack Krieger)

They recommend you don’t deep-fry a turkey, but if you do it anyway, make sure the ratio of oil to the weight of the turkey is appropriate. Also, do it outside, at least 20 feet away from any structure, like a shed. And make sure it’s on a level surface. Use peanut oil and monitor the temperature with a thermometer.

“Water and oil is not a good friends, so you really want to make sure your turkey is nice and dry,” said Herve Malivert, the culinary director at the International Culinary Center.

Malivert said he prefers the traditional way of cooking a turkey, and it’s not just fire safety you should be concerned about, either. You don’t want to make anyone sick with food poisoning.

“Don’t go too fast ….try to reach internal 160-165,” Malivert said.

He was referring to the temperature of the bird. He said a fresh turkey is best, but if it’s frozen put it in the fridge to defrost.

“I would say three to four days before Thanksgiving,” Malivert said. “If you don’t have time run it under cold water …..with the cold water it will take about 30 minutes by pound.”

Never under hot water he says. Also, if it’s frozen you don’t have to wash it, but if it’s fresh you can rinse it. He also said it’s easier to cook two smaller birds then one giant one.

As for cleanup, what do you do with all the leftover cooking oil? The first thing you don’t do is pour it down the drain.

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not. That’s not good for the drain,” Malivert said.

Look to see if there’s a recycling program near you or put it in a container when it’s cool and throw it away.

As for how to put out those fires during debates at the Thanksgiving dinner table, You’re on your own.


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