As Thanksgiving approaches, turkeys are appearing in homes across the nation. There are many ways to cook a turkey, but one very popular way to do it is to deep fry them. Unfortunately, using a deep fryer to cook a turkey can be very dangerous.
The venerable United Laboratories has declined to give its stamp of approval to any turkey fryers on the market. Why? The UL website notes that at least 112 fires or burns caused by turkey fryers have been reported in the last 7 years. The UL Consumers Affairs Manager highlights the following potential hazards:
- Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil from the cooking pot.
- If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner or flames, causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.
- Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too may result in an extensive fire.
- With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
- The lid and handles on the sides of the cooking pot get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
So although the fried turkey taste is top notch, UL suggests that the fryers be avoided altogether.
If you insist, however, on using a turkey fryer, follow the advice of actor William Shatner who burned himself and caused property damage over the years as he pursued the perfect fried turkey.
To recap, here are the 5 safety tips:
- Avoid oil spillover – don't overfill the pot.
- Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the oil.
- Fry outside, away from any structures.
- Properly thaw the turkey before frying.
- Keep a grease-fire-approved extinguisher close by.
If the family has to have fried turkey, be very careful about how you go about putting it on the table.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.