Thursday, November 22, 2007

alton brown turkey

Feast your eyes on these safe turkey-prep tips
A video from our testing labs shows how quickly Thanksgiving plans can go up in flames when things go awry with a propane-powered deep fryer. As we reported around this time last year, Underwriters Laboratories has refused to put its UL mark on any propane fryer to certify its safety―a rare move for the nonprofit safety testing organization that certifies almost every kind of electrical or gas-powered product sold in the U.S. "Based on our test findings, the fryers used to produce those great-tasting birds are not worth the risks," says John Drengenberg, UL consumer affairs manager.

The dangers are many. Units can easily tip over, spilling the hot oil. Oil that sometimes overflows when a turkey is placed in the pot can hit the burner and burst into flames. The units have no thermostat controls and the sides, lid and handles can get very hot posing burn hazards.

A few years ago, we tested one of the electric fryers on the market, and it proved safer than propane models. The deep-fryer―designed strictly for indoor use―cooks a turkey up to 14 pounds. And it has some safety features including a built-in safety switch, a temperature sensor, an outer shield and six legs to give it more stability.

While such Food Network favorites as Paula Deen and Alton Brown feature recipes for deep-fried turkey, if you are tempted to try it this year with a propane fryer, do so with extreme caution and constant vigilance. Check out these safety tips from UL.

No matter how you plan to cook your turkey, take the time to review Let's Talk Turkey, safety tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some of their advice has changed. For example, the USDA recommends against washing a turkey before cooking it and says doing so can actually spread bacteria to other foods and utensils and surfaces. Another change is in testing the turkey for doneness. The USDA says a turkey is safe when all of it is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (Previously, the agency recommended different temperatures for various parts of the bird.) And don't rely on a pop-up thermometer―check the temperature yourself with a reliable meat thermometer.


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