Fried turkey tastes delicious, so it’s understandable that in recent years propane turkey fryers have become 炸爐 increasingly popular. But at what price? Every Thanksgiving dozens of families endure Thanksgiving tragedy due to defective turkey fryers. Propane turkey fryers are so dangerous that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has recommended against their use. According to the NFPA; the hot oil can cause devastating burns and destruction of property. The New York Fire Department (NYFD) – and dozens of fire departments across the country – recommend against using propane fryers.
Consumer group after consumer group have weighed in against propane fryers. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) studied propane fryer hazards. Mr. John Drengenberg, an engineer and the UL Consumer Affairs Manager strongly recommends against the use of propane turkey fryers. Mr. Drengenber explains, UL found propane turkey fryers, “… not to 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.” Some manufacturers countered by putting phony “consumer listing mark of approvals” on their dangerous propane fryers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has also issued alerts on propane turkey fryers. Every Thanksgiving the CPSC receives reports of turkey fryer burns. The CPSC has reported over one hundred incidents of propane turkey fryers causing burns. In addition, Consumer Reports issued a safety alert on propane turkey fryers. A video on their website graphically demonstrates just how quickly propane turkey fryers violently erupt.
These horrible burns happen to ordinary people. Take Richard, for instance. Richard was trying hard to be extra careful. However, in spite of his best efforts, Richard suffered severe burns while using a turkey fryer. Richard’s description is similar to so many others, “The turkey fryer erupted like a volcano”.
Most turkey fryers don’t have any temperature control, allowing the oil to overheat and burst into flame, similar to a volcano erupting. The propane fryers that do have temperature controls, have temperature controls that are shoddy and unreliable. Which gives consumers a false sense of security. John Drengenberg, from UL, describes propane fryers as a “vertical flame thrower”. CPSC’s findings reveal the majority of reported incidents occur while the oil is being heated, prior to adding the turkey. The oil starts to overheat and smoke and then instantly turns into a “vertical flame thrower.”
Remember, propane turkey fryers are meant to be used outdoors only, usually on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Almost everywhere in America can expect to receive either rain or snow on any given Thanksgiving or Christmas. With turkey fryers, rain or snow create a huge hazard. When the rain or snow hits the hot oil, the oil splashes or turns to steam, which can cause burns.
When it rains or snows, people will predictably try to move the turkey fryer to a place that doesn’t directly expose the turkey fryer to the moisture. Or, just as often, folks move the turkey fryer away from a house or garage because they are concerned about starting a fire. Moving a hot turkey fryer often results in tragedy. Dozens and dozens of people have been seriously burned while trying to move a hot propane turkey fryer. The oil splashes or they lose a grip on the handle. Or worse, they slip and fall into the hot oil. This happened to a Fire Department veteran in California. While trying to move a turkey fryer out of the rain, the fryer tipped over. He slipped and fell in the oil, burning his arms, ankles, back and face.
The process of cooking the turkey poses additional hazards. Even under the best of circumstances and intentions hot oil may splash or spill at any point during the cooking process. Oil easily spills over the side of the pot and will ignite from the flames. Serious burns are often received when people try and remove the turkey out of the fryer.
Partially frozen turkeys also pose a significant risk. At best, partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. At worst, the frozen turkey will cause the boiling oil to explode. In addition, many propane turkey fryers have an unstable three leg base. Allowing the fryer to easily topple over, causing burns.
Finally, when fire does occur, users often try and extinguish the flames with water. This is a huge mistake. When water contacts the hot oil, the water and oil cause a splatter effect, causing burns to anyone in the vicinity.
In most states, product liability laws use a risk-benefit test to determine whether a product is defectively designed. The work done by NFPA, NYFD, UL, Consumer Reports, and the CPSC make a strong case that the risks posed by a turkey fryer’s design outweigh the benefits of the design. The potential harm resulting from the use of turkey fryers is serious and there is substantial likelihood that burns will occur.
There is a safer and feasible alternate design. Consumer Reports recommends electric turkey fryers as being much safer than propane models. These electric fryers have automatic temperature controls that will shut off the heat before the oil gets too hot. They are also designed to use much less oil than the propane models. This minimizes the spill over or splash hazard posed by propane models. Consumer Reports tests revealed the electric fryer turkey tasted just as delicious as turkey cooked with propane.
So it is not surprising, propane turkey fryer manufacturers have faced multiple product liability lawsuits across the country, paying millions in order to settle turkey fryer product liability lawsuits. There is a reason why propane turkey fryer manufacturers pay millions to settle. It’s because propane turkey fryers are defectively designed. Ask Richard. Richard has endured surgery after surgery. Skin graft after skin graft. Now Richard faces a lifetime of tragedy. Richard will be the first to tell you – the risk isn’t worth it. The money is never worth the lifetime of agony, pain, scarring and disfigurement. Take it from Richard – listen to the NFPA, NYFD, UL, Consumer Reports and the CPSC – the risks inherent with propane turkey fryers aren’t worth it.
Given the proximity of the up coming holidays, many people have been considering deep frying a turkey for the first time. There are many different kinds of turkey fryers out there to choose from. Primarily outdoor propane deep fryers or indoor counter top electric fryers. The differences between an outdoor deep fryer and an electric fryer vary greatly. We will start with electric turkey fryers.
First and foremost, electric fryers are made for indoors. You can take your electric fryer outdoors to use one day at a time. But you should bring it back indoors once everything has cooled, and put it away. It should never be left out on your patio like a backyard grill. The morning dew alone is enough to ruin the inner workings of an electric deep fryer.
You can take an electric deep fryer camping if you have electricity, but you can forget about tailgating with one unless you have a generator.
An electric turkey fryer can be a large counter top deep fryer. My first fryer was an electric counter top turkey fryer. It not only fries small turkeys as well as deep frying anything you want, but you can also steam and boil with it. I’ve been known to make Low Country Boil right in my house in the middle of the winter.
Not all so-called electric turkey fryers, are actually deep fryers. These units work with high radiant heat. They technically roast, not deep fry. There is really no oil involved. Less mess to clean up. You can roast other meats in these units, but you can not fry up a batch of french fries in one of these.
Most electric turkey fryers have a safety shut off feature if the oil becomes too hot. They mostly all have a thermometer or temperature gauge as well. This is a great feature because most of these units will tell you that your oil is up to temperature by a light on the gauge or unit. This is also good if you are frying things other than turkey. If you are frying up multiple batches of things, like Buffalo wings or onion rings, you should always let your oil come back up to temperature between batches.
Now, speaking of oil temperatures, electric fryers do take longer to heat oil than outdoor propane deep fryers. It also takes longer between batches to come back up to temperature. You want fried crispy food, not oil logged greasy food. So pay attention to your oil temperatures. Don’t get hasty and put food in before it’s time.
Lastly, you don’t have to worry about the kids and the dog needing to have somewhere else to play. Odds are they are not playing on the counter top or in the kitchen, so the odds of your indoor electric turkey fryer getting knocked over by a game of soccer or football are next to nil.
Now we’ve discussed electric turkey fryers. Let’s move on to outdoor propane turkey fryers.
There is the issue of LP gas. You must have a propane tank to cook with, but this affords portability and versatility. You can go anywhere! The beach, camping, tailgating, or even just a different place in your back yard. And speaking of versatility a traditional turkey fryer consists of a stock pot and an outdoor propane cooker. Not only can you deep fry with them, you can stew, boil and steam food. You can make chili for a cold weather camp out or have a New England clam bake right in your back yard. Always make sure you have an extra LP tank around, just in case.
Have you ever deep fried food in your house? The fact that your outdoors is great, because now your whole house won’t smell like you deep fried a turkey two or three days later.
Even though you are outdoors there are still safety features to keep in mind. You always want to be on stable, sturdy ground, and not near any buildings or materials that can catch fire. The kids and the dog will now have to find a different place to play than where you are set up. If it rains you cannot take your outdoor turkey fryer indoors. Do not take it on the porch or in the garage, as this could just end in a really bad day!!!
Frying oil will heat faster with a propane fryer than an electric one. Even after you put a whole turkey in the oil, it takes a significantly less time to come back up to temperature, than if you were using electricity. Most traditional outdoor fryers do not have a built-in temperature gauge though. You need a deep fryer thermometer and you need to monitor your temps. There will be no little light telling you that the oil is ready. There is no safety shut off either. Again you need to monitor your temperatures and turn your regulator valve down if need be.
Traditional turkey fryers always run the risk of overflow and flare ups. This can occur if placing the bird too quickly into the fryer, or if it is wet or not properly thawed. A way to avoid the danger of overflow and flare ups is to get a safer fryer. These units typically have the flame on the back side and self-contained fire tubes. Any overflow that may occur would happen at the front of the unit. No hot oil or flame should ever come in contact. All the same safety precautions should still be taken. Like having an all-purpose fire extinguisher handy at all times and protective gloves.