Deep frying your turkey: a recipe for disaster

Deep frying your turkey: a recipe for disaster

It seems like a solid recipe for a moist and tasty Thanksgiving turkey: Place a large pot over a propane tank and burner, fill it with oil and deep fry your bird.

But the National Fire Protection Association calls it a recipe for disaster. The organization cites a slew of safety hazards inherent in this popular cooking technique.

First, there are the risks of burns from hot oil — typically about five gallons of it — used to cook the turkey. Splashes of scalding oil are possible when a cook puts the bird into or removes it from the pot or if the unit tips, as they are prone to do. These fryers should never be used indoors, but the outdoors poses risks, too. Rain or snow that falls into hot oil will cause a splatter or turn to steam, both of which are burn hazards. For the same reason, partially or fully-frozen turkeys should never be fried.

Then there is the potential for a fire. Vapors and overheated oil can combust. That’s especially dangerous with gas-powered burners. Fire that spreads to the gas will cause an explosion, a sure way to set your house ablaze.

Determined to get that deep-fried taste on your Thanksgiving table? Find a safer way. Ask a local restaurant if they’ll fry your bird, or try another kind of tool.

An appliance called an “oil-free turkey fryer” is said to create much the same taste as regular deep fryers, but uses radiant heat in place of oil. It’s a method that will make for a healthier turkey. With all the other diet-busting goodies to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day, that’s not a bad alternative.

So forgo the turkey fryer, help yourself to an extra slice of pie, and be thankful your cooking didn’t add the fire department to your guest list.

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