Monday, November 23, 2009

Let's Talk Turkey

Have you ever deep fried a turkey or perhaps you are thinking of deep frying a turkey this year? What started out as a Southern tradition, had become a mainstream way of cooking a turkey, especially at Thanksgiving.

Whether its a plain turkey or the ever popular, turducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck & then stuffed with a chicken, whatever your taste, and whenever you choose to cook it, if a tasty deep-fried bird is in your plans, keep in mind that while it can be a very social and fun time with friends and family, it can also be very dangerous.
The biggest rule when using turkey fryers is to never leave them unattended! Many dangers associated with turkey fryers are due to consumer misuse or inattentiveness, and really, it is a two-person job. To prevent the risk of a tip-over, overheating, or spilling hot oil that could lead to fire and severe burns, it’s important that turkey fryers be used under close supervision and with extreme caution.
Here are some safety tips when frying a bird:
  • Turkey fryers should be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and other material that can burn.
  • Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks, in garages or in any covered area.
  • Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
  • Keep the gas supply a safe distance from the fryer, and if the oil begins to smoke, immediately turn the supply off.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow them near the turkey fryer. The oil inside can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
  • To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
  • Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handles. The sides and handles of a fryer become very hot. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed. The National Turkey Federation recommends 24 hours of thawing for every five pounds of bird before cooking in a turkey fryer.
  • Be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing fire or even an explosion hazard.
  • Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 911 for help.
Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Council recommends consumers follow these safety guidelines as they prepare to use a turkey fryer:
  • Make sure there is at least two feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner.
  • Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank.
  • Center the pot over the burner on the cooker.
  • Completely thaw and dry the turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper amount of oil to add. If these are not available:
  • Place turkey in pot.
  • Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about 1/2 inch of water.
  • Remove and dry turkey.
  • Mark water level.
  • Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level.
For more tips and topics, email Have a safe & Happy Thanksgiving!