PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – From smoked, to deep fried or oven-roasted, there are many ways to enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey. Of recent, the deep fried technique has gained popularity for its unique and delicious flavor. However, it may be one of the most dangerous ways to cook the bird. Just make sure the turkey is thawed!

A frozen turkey has considerably more water content than a thawed turkey. When frozen, the ice crystals puncture parts of the meat, allowing for more water to leak out when the turkey thaws out. So as you drop a frozen turkey into the big pot of hot peanut oil, the ice quickly melts, and since oil is less dense than oil the two liquids separate.

The water then quickly boils, turning from liquid to gas in less than seconds, causing the oil to then spill. Not only will your be dealing with a burnt turkey, but likely the fire department!

The U.S. Fire Administration provides the following turkey frying safety tips:

  • Make sure your turkey fryer is on a sturdy, level surface.
  • Keep the fryer at least 10 feet from your home and not under roof eaves.
  • Don’t overfill the cooking pot with cooking oil.
  • Make sure the turkey is fully thawed without frost on it before you fry it.
  • If you have a deep fryer without a thermostat, use a kitchen thermometer that attaches to the side of the pot, to help monitor the temperature of the oil.