December 10, 2022

Unsafe Ways to Prepare Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Did you know that there are unsafe ways to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey? While we have covered prepping and cooking the turkey safely, including proper thawing and roasting to the correct temperature, there are other physical parts to the preparation to think about.

Unsafe Ways to Prepare Your Thanksgiving Turkey

First of all, the method you use for cooking your turkey is important. You can roast the turkey, grill it, or deep fry it. Roasting is the most common method, and it is the safest, both in terms of food safety and physical safety. Grilling is the next safest, as long as you keep an eye on the bird, understand the risks of grilling such as fire and burns, and use a food thermometer. Just never use a grill in a covered area, not even a breezeway or the garbage because you risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

But deep frying a turkey can be very hazardous. In fact, there are dozens of reports of fires, injuries, and deaths caused by turkey fryers. When the turkey is put into the fat in the fryer, oil can spill out, burning you and, if the oil touches the fryer burner, causing a fire.  The fryer can tip over, and there is no built-in thermometer, increasing the risk of overheating the oil. And, if a frozen or partially frozen turkey is put into hot oil in a deep fat fryer, it can explode.

Consumer Product Safety Commission says that there have been 217 fire or scald/burn injuries involving turkey fryers since 2000. Those fires have caused 83 injuries and $8.5 million in property damage.

Underwriters Laboratories has decided not to certify turkey fryers for these reasons. If you still choose to deep fry a turkey, do it outside away from buildings and trees. Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and as dry as you can get it before you carefully lower it into the hot oil. Don’t overfill the fryer. Use safety goggles and fireproof gloves. And keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

One issue many people don’t think about it the pan used to hold the turkey. A sturdy, stainless steel or tempered glass, shallow roasting pan is the best choice. Thin disposable aluminum pans that are large enough to hold a turkey are popular for easy cleanup, but that choice can be dangerous. The foil weakens when it gets hot, and can twist, spilling hot oil and turkey juices onto you and your floor. If you choose to use a foil pan, put it inside another sturdy roasting tin or on a strong cookie sheet.

In fact, whenever you take the turkey out of the oven be careful. Keep kids and pets away, use thick strong oven pads, and concentrate.

So now that you know how to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey safely, you can relax and have a wonderful holiday.

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