Source: The Takeout
Fire departments across the country are bracing themselves for one of their busiest times of year: Thanksgiving is in just a couple of weeks, and many Americans feel the urge to bust out a vat of oil.
The thought of a juicy, deep-fried bird prompts many home cooks to go the DIY route on an extremely dangerous prep method. Although this turkey prep method is undeniably popular and widespread, that does not make the practice any less hazardous.
The National Fire Protection Association (NPFA) is clear in its stance on the use of oil-based at-home turkey fryers: “These fryers use large amounts of oil at high temperatures, which can cause devastating burns.” They cause an average of 60 injuries, five deaths, and over $15 million in property damage each year.
Oil-based turkey fryers can:
– Tip over easily, spilling hot oil and causing it to ignite.
– Overflow if too full of oil when the turkey is lowered in, leading to the entire fryer and turkey being engulfed in flames.
– Reach the point of combustion if the fryer lacks the proper thermostat control
– produce scalding steam is raid or snow should fall into them (they should always be used outdoors).
For those that insist on DIYing their fried turkey, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has some tips, as does insurance provider State Farm:
– Make sure to use any fryers outdoors and away from structures like your home or garage.
– Place the fryer on a level surface outside.
– Do not overfill the fryer with oil.
– Opt for a fryer with temperature controls or an oil-less fryer.
– Do not fry a frozen turkey. Thaw your bird and dry it off before lowering it into the frying oil.
– Stuff the turkey after frying, not beforehand.
– Keep at least two feet of distance between the burner and the tank.
– Turn the burner off as you lower the turkey into the oil, then turn it back on after.
– Protect yourself from burns with goggles and oven mitts.
– Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
“If you want a fried turkey for your Thanksgiving meal, purchase it from a grocery store, restaurant or buy a fryer that does not use oil,” advises the NFPA. The traditional roasted turkey might be a bit of snoozefest, but there are so many not-as-flammable prep options that will enhance the flavor. But if the vat of oil is still calling your name, be sure to follow the aforementioned tips to help keep your feast from going up in flames.