Be safe with your deep fried turkey this Thanksgiving

Here's one list South Carolina would rather not be on this holiday season. The state ranks in the top ten in the U.S. for Thanksgiving cooking fires.

Many of those fires involve deep fried turkey. The U.S. Fire Administration says deep fryer accidents result in more than $21 million in property damage nationwide each year.

But officials from Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue say you can have your fried turkey this Thanksgiving and be safe, too.

"Deep frying turkey around here has become a tradition and we want to make sure people do it safely," said Lt. Christian Sliker, who did a deep frying demonstration for customers at the Myrtle Beach Costco store Tuesday.

Sliker suggests you begin by setting up your fryer on a level surface that's outdoors and at least ten feet away from anything flammable.

"That's your house, any kind of vinyl siding, your porch, your deck, your fence."

Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.

Next, make sure you don't overfill your fryer with oil. "Because there is an open flame underneath, we don't want the oil to spill over and cause a fire," Sliker said.

Oil and water don't mix, so it's important your turkey is completely dry and completely thawed. Sliker says an icycle turkey that's dunked in hot oil can cause an explosion.

You'll want to heat your cooking oil up to about 350 degrees. When it reaches that temperature, turn off the propane temporarily as a safety measure and then slip on some gloves or an oven mitt.

Now, it's time to dunk your bird in the oil, and you'll want to take your time with that.

"You want to make sure you slowly put it in there, so you don't have any residual splash that will burn you," Sliker said.

Let the turkey cook 3 to 4 minutes per pound. That's close to an hour for an average-size turkey. And then... enjoy your crispy, tasty turkey with family and friends.

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