There are as many ways to cook a turkey as there are mini figurines in Grandma’s house. That is to say, a lot. And each requires a specific tool or set of tools. But cooking an entire bird is messy business, so before you get started, here are three of the most common cooking methods with tips for cleaning each.

  • Turkey Fryer
  • Roaster Oven
  • Crock Pot

Below, you’ll learn a fun fact about three of the most popular ways to cook a turkey and exactly how to clean the tools of the trade. If you learn and apply these tips, your turkey will blow the socks off your guests and put them into a tryptophan coma for hours.

Turkey Fryer

Turkey fryers have been sizzling the past few years and really gained momentum as early as 1996, reports Vogue Magazine, when Martha Stewart Living featured a picture of a turkey fryer in the November issue. Since, the likes of William Shatner and Emeril Lagasse have pumped up the turkey fryer’s fame.

How to Clean Your Turkey Fryer

  1. Cooking oil gets hot. Make sure the oil cools prior to cleaning. There’s a lot of oil, so it may take a few hours. Be patient.
  2. Remove the frying basket and soak it in dish soap for a later scrub.
  3. Drain the oil. There’s a lot so choose your method. You can put it into small containers, like jars or cans, and then throw them away or you can dump it all in a discrete location in the back of your yard or garden. If you want to save it, read this article on how to best save your cooking oil.
  4. Wipe off what’s left of the oil with a damp sponge or even paper towels. The goal is to get rid of as much of the residue and chunks as possible. If the oil has sat for a while, use plastic spatulas or other plastic, flat utensils to gently scrape the pot clean.
  5. If your fryer has a heating element that isn’t removable, give it a good wipe down if necessary. Be careful not to damage it. Every fryer is different and the heating elements can be all different, too. If it’s removable, simply take it out and wipe it down with the damp sponge or paper towels.
  6. Clean the pot with dish soap and hot water using a soft sponge. Don’t use a lot of hot water, just enough to get a good lather going. Scrub the bottom and sides.
  7. Pour hot water in the fryer to the same level you would the oil. Let sit for 20-30 minutes to help break up the grease and penetrate the pores.
  8. Remember the frying basket soaking in dish soap? It’s time for that later scrub now. Wipe it down and use a soft to medium bristled brush to get any tough spots. It should be pretty easy since it’s been soaking. Wipe and scrub as much as necessary to remove all the oil and food.
  9. Return to the cooking pot and give it a good wipe and final scrub before pouring out the water.
  10. Rinse the pot with clean water. Swirl it around several times and pour it out. Repeat as many times as necessary to remove all soap.
  11. Let the inside of the fryer air dry but feel free to wipe the outsides with a paper towel. Give it plenty of time to dry since it’s an electronic appliance and you don’t want to plug in a wet appliance. Zap!
  12. Celebrate the clean.

Roaster Oven

Did you know that NESCO, the first manufacturer of the roaster oven, teamed up with a utility company to sell both electricity and the roaster to local rural families? It was a great complimentary deal. Today, the roaster oven is supremely popular for cooking turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s extra cooking space, convenient and easy.

How to Clean Your Roaster Oven

  1. It’s hot, so allow it to cool before cleaning. It should be cool to the touch before you begin.
  2. Remove all those accessories and let soak in hot water. Check your manufacturer’s guide to ensure the catch tray is removable. If it’s not, wipe it down with a washcloth or paper towels.
  3. Remove any large pieces of food left over from your crowd-pleasing masterpiece.
  4. Wash the roaster oven with dish soap and a damp cloth. Use hot water and dish soap for best results. Avoid abrasive cleaning agents.
  5. Wipe down the outside with a damp cloth and some soap. Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies where grease may collect.
  6. Let air dry. It’s electrical, so let it air dry completely before the next use. 

Crock Pot

In 1936, Irving Naxon applied for a patent for what we call today the Crock-Pot or slow cooker, reports CNET.com. He was inspired by his grandmother who made a dish called cholent in Lithuania. Over 30 years later, Rival Manufacturing bought the device and rebranded it the Crock-Pot.

Thanks to these early inventors, we can start a meal, go buy wine or snacks, help grandpa find his glasses, entertain the kids and return with a hot meal ready to go.

How to Clean Your Crock Pot

  1. Unplug your cooker.
  2. Clean the exterior with a damp cloth.You don’t want to damage the finish.
  3. Remove what you can, such as knobs, and wash them separately in warm water and dish soap.
  4. There is a bottom and it gets dirty, too. Make sure you check under there and if necessary clean it with the same method described in step 2.
  5. You can drop the stoneware insert into the dishwasher or hand wash it in the sink with dish soap.
  6. To make life easier with those tough spots on the stoneware, fill the pot with water and cook on low for a few hours. This will loosen up all that tough stuff. Then feel free to drop it in the dishwasher.
  7. For the aluminum case, don’t submerge in water. Instead, use a damp cloth to wipe clean as necessary. Remember, the aluminum case is full of electrical parts so go easy on the water here.
  8. Let the aluminum case air dry and towel dry or air dry the stoneware. Wipe down the exterior and top and it’s ready for another use or storage for next time.

Always check your manufacturer’s guide to ensure you treat your tools right and allow for any special treatment. If you don’t have a hard copy of the owner’s manual, you can always find it online with any search. Just type in your make and model number, download a pdf, and you have “found” your manual. Happy cooking and cleaning.


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