November 25, 2009
Bourjaily: The Turkey Fryer of Death!
By Phil Bourjaily
We sometimes deal with edible birds in this space -- ducks, pheasants, crows, turkeys and so on – and today’s post has a Thanksgiving theme. Some of you, I’m guessing, may be planning to fry turkeys you killed during the fall for your holiday dinner. In the interest of keeping you intact for the rest of hunting season, the Gun Nut brings you this cautionary yet highly entertaining video as a public service.
As the video makes clear, there lies within every turkey fryer the potential for a really big oil explosion, which is why frying should only be done outside, not in the garage and never on a wooden deck. Fryers hold up to five gallons of oil heated to 350 degrees or more.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, which hates turkey fryers:
“Cooking oil is combustible, and if it is heated beyond its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite. This is a fire danger separate from the burn danger inherent in the hot oil. Overheating can occur if temperature controls, which are designed to shut off the fryer if the oil overheats, are defective, or if the appliance has no temperature controls.”
Overfill your fryer and slosh some oil over the side when you add the turkey, as they do here in this (ahem) carefully controlled demonstration, and the result can be dramatic.
Obviously the oil has been heated far above 350 degrees to insure ignition -- in fact, it’s already on fire -- so the demonstration is slightly rigged. However you only have to search “turkey fryer fires” on Youtube to find countless clips of genuine turkey fryer accidents.
This was done for a Florida morning radio show. Fester, the DJ in the blue t-shirt screaming about redemption, apparently tried the same demonstration in 2006 and failed miserably. Here he makes up for it with a very impressive fireball. Enjoy, be careful if you’re frying dinner, and Happy Thanksgiving.