With Thanksgiving fast approaching, thoughts turn to turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie. Delicious deep-fried turkey, historically prevalent in the southern states, is growing in popularity around the country, thanks to celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse. The only problem is that the turkey fryers used to create this succulent dish are unsafe and not certified by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
Turkey fryers are devices, resembling a large commercial coffee pot, that are filled with oil heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Turkeys are placed in this hot oil to fry the birds. The big problem, though, is that people often fill the fryers too full of oil, and it overflows when the bird is placed inside. This cascading oil hits the heating flames below, causing an instant fire. In addition, the turkey fryers are often quite unstable and easy to tip over. Lastly, many of these fryers lack adequate thermostat controls. Thus, the units have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion. For these reasons, UL does not certify any turkey fryers with its trusted UL mark.
UL and other safety organizations strongly urge people to discard their existing turkey fryers. But for those people who insist on using their turkey fryers, UL offers the following tips: