Deep-frying that turkey could land you in hot water
For years, the delicious, deep-fried turkey was a culinary chef-d'oeuvre confined to the South. But thanks to celebrity chefs such as Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse it has quickly become one of America's favorite feasts.
While this tasty creation deserves the raves it gets, experts at UL, a global safety organization, are still concerned that some backyard chefs may be sacrificing safety for good taste.
In fact, more than 112 fires or burns attributed to improper use of turkey fryers have been reported in the last seven years, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"Although we recognize that the industry has made improvement to turkey fryers, we're still concerned by the increasing reports of fires related to turkey fryer use," says John Drengenberg, UL's Director of Consumer Affairs. "Based on our observations, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds may not be worth the risks. And, as a result of these observations, UL has decided not to certify any turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark."
Drengenberg said that potential hazards could include:
- Many units could tip over, spilling the 5 gallons of hot oil within the cooking pot.
- It is easy to overfill the cooking pot with oil. If this happens, oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner and possibly cause a fire.
- Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer pot can cause a spillover effect. This, too, may result in a fire.
- With no thermostat controls, the turkey fryers have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.
"Our hope is that people think twice before using a turkey fryer. If they insist on using one, we urge them to use extreme caution," Drengenberg adds.