Fried turkey tastes great, or so I’ve heard, but frying a whole turkey yourself poses a serious danger of burning your house down. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which regularly sets things on fire for the holidays, has a new video showing us how not to fry a turkey.
To set up the video, the folks at the CPSC got a turkey that was not totally thawed, and dropped it into a fryer that was over-filled with hot oil and preheated for too long. The oil overflows and spatters all over its surroundings, and before long everything is on fire.
You probably already know not to set up a turkey fryer in your kitchen, but you might think you’re safe putting it in the corner of the garage. A previous year’s video shows a similarly unsafe scenario on a porch. Neither of these setups are far enough away from flammable objects like, uh, your house.
In both scenarios, the fire from the fryer dies down, but the danger isn’t over. Most people’s first reaction is to try to put out the fire with water, but that actually makes it worse. See the people who go in with hoses and (because this is a demo, and they’re smart) firefighter gear? Their attempts to put out the fire just spray flaming oil around.
All of the risk-increasing factors in the video, like the frozen turkey, overfilled hot oil, and spraying water on the fire, “are things we’ve seen people do over the years and are incredibly unsafe,” says CPSC Social Media Specialist Joseph Galbo.
If you still have your heart set on frying a turkey, the CPSC says you can reduce the risk of fire by:
Following the instructions that came with your fryer
Only frying your turkey a safe distance from your home, ideally on the ground away from any leaves or flammable debris
Not putting out the fire with water. Call 911.
The U.S. National Fire Protection Association, another organisation that doesn’t like seeing people set their houses on fire, recommends that if you don’t have an oil-less turkey fryer, you should probably just buy your fried turkey from a restaurant. We have to admit: Takeout is a life hack.