Turkey fryers are increasingly popular throughout the holiday season. Unfortunately, if used incorrectly, they can be dangerous. Every year, hundreds of people are burned while attempting to deep fry turkeys. Fortunately, the injuries are preventable.
Deep frying is a preferred method of preparing turkey, as it is faster than baking and produces better results. While roasted turkeys often become dry, fried turkeys have a nice crispy skin and remain moist inside.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers several tips for safely preparing a deep-fried turkey.
Most importantly, turkey fryers are not meant to be used inside or near homes, garages, or other buildings. The appliances should be placed at least 10 feet away from any building on a firm and level surface. A multipurpose fire extinguisher should be within reach in case of an emergency.
When filling the fryer with oil, it is important to remember the turkey will raise the level of the oil. As turkeys come in a wide variety of sizes, it may be difficult to estimate how much oil to use. It is important to closely review the instructions and recommendations of the fryer manufacturer.
The CPSC reports that a majority of the injuries occur before the turkey is placed inside the fryer. They recommend monitoring the oil temperature very closely. Smoke is an indication that the oil is overheating and the burner needs to be turned off.
The turkey must be completely thawed and dry before placing it inside the fryer. Frozen or wet meat can cause the oil to boil over.
The CSPS recommends wearing gloves that protect the hands and arms while using the fryer. The turkey should be lowered into the oil slowly to avoid splashing the hot oil.
The turkey fryer must be attended at all times. Children and pets should be kept inside while the appliance is on.
Throughout the cooking process, it is important to monitor the temperature of the oil. If it begins to smoke, the oil is too hot and may ignite.
Oil fires cannot be extinguished with water, and attempting to do so is very dangerous. An all-purpose fire extinguisher can be used. However, it is recommended to contact 911 immediately if a fire occurs.
Turkey fryers can be dangerous. However, a few simple precautions will ensure a safe an enjoyable holiday season.
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