Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Fried Turkey Safety

It sounds like a Zappa tune, no? Hmmm, "Fried Turkey Safety". Wasn't that on Uncle Meat next to "Electric Aunt Jamima".

But seriously, I saw the commercial blurb for the teevee news last night featuring an outdoor deep-fat fryer engulfed in flames, so it must be true that there are concerns about the safety of those devices and their use for turkey. And timeliness, because it's Thanksgiving time in the USA. And now that I've read it on the local paper's web site, I know it's gotta be true.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal carries this story by Jaime Hernandez about the risks of plunging not-completely-thawed poultry into a mass of hot boiling fat.
Turkey fryers can go up in flames when someone tries to fry a partially thawed, wet or frozen turkey in oil that can reach temperatures higher than 400 degrees. The fryers don't have a thermostat, so a thermometer must be used to gauge the temperature.

The moisture in the turkey can cause the boiling oil to rise and spill over the side of the fryer's metal rim. A large amount of oil falling on the burner can quickly engulf the fryer in flames and ignite hot oil on the ground around the fryer.
I have to add that if you eat poultry and you've never had deep-fried turkey, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. (Homer sez: "Mmmmm. Fried turkey.") But, please, make sure your turkey is completely thawed before dropping into the boiling lard.

Addendum: Here's the link to the Underwriters Laboratory page. Includes photos! Includes linkage to video!!