Hot oil and open flames combine to cause fires and a disaster for your holiday mealtime at Thanksgiving. Ah, but I'll agree, there is nothing better than a fast-roasted turkey in the hot oil fryer that locks in the natural juices of the turkey and makes it mouth-watering good!
Every year we see countless videos on our local news station about houses going up in flames due to someone cooking a turkey with a deep fryer, only to have it get out of control because the chef of the day didn't follow the directions to safely cook the turkey. Often times it is because the pan is filled with too much oil and when the turkey is inserted, the oil flows over the top of the pan and down onto the open flame. This accelerant allows the flames to reach the inner pan and before you know it, the whole pan and garage roof is ablaze!
Since deep fryers don’t have thermostats to regulate the flame or temperature of the hot oil, the oil can overheat to combustion point and cause the oil to burst into flames. You should always have a thermostat placed in the oil to allow the operator the ability to control the flame, and thus the temperature of the oil.
The sides of the pan, handles, and the pan lid also become hot as the oil is heated. This can cause severe burns to hands and other parts of the body. The problem is amplified when someone suddenly drops the pan when they get burnt.
Always make sure the turkey isn’t frozen and is completely thawed before placing it in the hot oil. Frozen turkeys and hot, boiling oil don’t mix. The turkey can actually explode, spewing hot oil in all directions and causing a fire.
Turkey deep fryers should only be used outside of buildings like garages, placed on a level cooking surface so as not to have them tip over, and kept far away from any flammable materials. Never use these fryers in enclosed areas or on wooden decks that can potentially catch fire if a fryer fire does occur. Always have an all-purpose fire extinguisher handy when cooking with this type of fryer. Keep children and pets far from the fryer area. And by all means, call 911 if a fire does occur!
Many people fail to read the safety instructions for cooking a turkey in a hot oil fryer pan. Not only that, but they fail to read the part about the size limit of the turkey itself and the amount of oil to be placed in the turkey pan. Never leave the fryer unattended.
Make sure you use oven mitts when attempting to touch the pan handles. You should also wear long sleeves and safety gasses or goggles in order to avoid splattering oil. Remember, the oil stays hot long after you turn off the heat to the burner and the cooking isn’t complete until the turkey is on the Thanksgiving Table!