Posted By Tom Plahutnik, Web Editor/Producer - email
By Kimberly Schupp-Miller
During the holidays many people choose to fry turkey instead of the traditional oven bake.
But every year, people get burned or damage their property while preparing this tasty Thanksgiving treat.
The Internet is flooded with videos of explosive fires that can potentially be catastrophic moments. The ingredients: frozen turkeys, scalding hot grease and an open flame.
There are several dangers when deep frying a turkey: overfilling the pot, tipping the pot over and overheating the oil, which can lead to combustion and large fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, any contact between the turkey fryer, hot oil and skin causes a risk of serious burns or an explosive grease fire.
"If you put in too much oil that can be bad because when you put the turkey in, it can spill over the top and cause the entire unit to be engulfed in flames," the association said on their website.
The NFPA said never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck. Keep all propane-fired turkey fryers outdoor only.
If you are going to fry a turkey, make sure the turkey is completely thawed – because it will explode - and keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby, because we all know, oil and water don't mix.
Deep fryer fires cause more than $15 million in property damage every year, not to mention the serious injuries people can get from hot oil spills, according to the NFPA.
"Usually what you see is burns that are either from flames that are too high or you see splash burns," Dr. Sean Denim, an ER physician at Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, TX told KLTV.
Dr. Denim said burn injuries are not to be taken lightly.
"A lot of times people think it's not that big of a deal but it's something that really needs to be looked at by a professional because sometimes these burns can get really bad, they can get infected and sometimes serious burns can scar, " Dr. Denim said.
The NFPA said most fryer fires are preventable and East Texas Chef Cedric Fletcher has one other tip for people frying turkeys.
"Don't drink and fry is what the national fire safety protection board needs to say. Alcohol can impair your judgment and deep frying a turkey is serious and can result in serious injuries," Fletcher said to KLTV.
The National Safety Consultant Underwriters Laboratories considers turkey fryers to be dangerous to use presenting numerous hazards to its consumers.
"We're worried by the increasing reports of fires related with turkey fryer use," said John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager of UL. "Based on our test findings, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds are not worth the risks. And, as a result of these tests, UL has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark."
But if you decide to give it a fry…try… following all of these safety precautions could prevent your holiday plans from going up in smoke.
Deep Fried Turkey Do's
Seasoning – Apply the rub the night before to allow it to sink in, otherwise, it will come right off.
Be Safe – Don't deep fry anywhere near your house, or even deck or shed. Wear shoes, pants and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself from the oil. In case of a fire, have an extinguisher nearby, water will only make the fire worse.
Oil – Cooking experts recommend cooking with peanut oil and to avoid canola or other oils with a low smoke point.
Measurement - To prevent overflow, put the bird in the fryer, filling the fryer with water, removing the bird and marking the level with a permanent marker. Then thoroughly dry the fryer and pour the oil to below that level.
Heat Properly - Heat the oil to between 325 and 375 degrees. Then lower the bird in and cook it for three to four minutes per pound. In other words, a 15-pound turkey will take 45 minutes to an hour. Use a remote thermometer to check the bird's temperature, which will reach 170 when it's properly done.
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