Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fried Turkeys

Every year about this time, cooks all over the South get ready to fry turkeys for Thanksgiving. Every year about this time, we start seeing more burn patients in the emergency department. Turkeys are usually fried in large (40 to 60 quart) pots over a propane tank/burner apparatus. The pot is filled with about 5 gallons of oil and heated to 350 degrees. A turkey is slowly lowered into the hot oil, cooked for about 3 minutes per pound, then removed.

Combine hot oil, an open flame, a hot metal container and the urgency of a holiday, and it’s easy to imagine how unintended consequences can occur.

To help prevent fires and severe burns, please follow these safety tips:

Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

Never use a turkey fryer on a wooden deck or inside the garage.

Make sure that the fryer is on an even surface, to prevent tipping.

Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not come with thermostat controls. Without constant attention, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

Never let children or pets near the fryer when it is in use. Even after cooking the turkey(s), do not let children or pets near the fryer. The oil remains hot enough to burn for 10 to 12 hours, depending on the volume.

To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles.

If possible, wear goggles to prevent hot oil from splattering the eyes.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before frying. (Water and oil don’t mix. A frozen bird can cause an oil spillover or explosion hazard.)

The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing, approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.

Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. NEVER use water to fight a grease/oil fire.

If a fire occurs and it is not easily manageable with the fire extinguisher, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Have a happy and safe holiday.

No comments: