By Audrey Gibson-Paralegal Terrell Hogan Law Firm
It’s that time of year when family and friends gather to celebrate family traditions, or perhaps, start new ones. Worn recipe cards are pulled from their tucked away place, and testing new found googled recipes add an extra twist to the menu.
Still for most, the turkey is the centerpiece of the table setting.
Roasting turkeys in large roaster pans and in bags inside of the pans, in recent years has been joined by the increasingly popular method of frying the Thanksgiving turkey.
Propane turkey fryers have sent many roasting pans into retirement. The fryers are used outdoors, but they can also be a safety hazard according to the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories who recommends that only properly trained professionals who are using professional grade equipment operate these appliances.
According to these entities, propane turkey fryers use a substantial quantity of cooking oil at high temperatures and units currently available for home use pose a significant danger that hot oil will be released at some point during the cooking process and the burners that heat the oil can ignite spilled oil. Because of these factors, there is a very high risk of burn injuries during and after use.
According to a recent report published by the U. S. Fire Administration, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day home fires occur mostly between noon and 4 p.m. every year across the U. S.
The leading cause of the fires-cooking, statistics showed.
Sources say keep the following in mind if you decide to use a propane turkey fryer:
Turkeys should be fully thawed, patted dry, and slowly lowered into the fryer, not dropped in quickly. An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
The oil should be at the manufacturer’s recommended setting and should not be above the recommended fill level in the pot. Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
Do not leave the fryer set-up attended and be prepared to be outside for several hours, even if it’s cold.
Do not use an outdoor fryer propane tank indoors.
Use of electric fryers for turkey prep is not without concern by some as well. In March of 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report that J.C. Penney had voluntarily recalled Cooks deep fryers because of a faulty heating element that could lead to overheating, fires and burns. There were approximately 27,000 units involved in the recall, and J.C. Penney was aware of five incidents: one minor burn and three incidents of damaged countertops.
Also in 2008, Euro-Pro and QVC voluntarily recalled approximately 1,600 Cooks Essentials deep fryers which had the potential to overheat and present a burn hazard.
While there are no currently listed recalls on electric fryers, if you purchased and perhaps still have either of the below fryers, please note the hazards and as a precaution, discontinue use.
Also remember to keep cords and attachments away from the reach of children and pets.