Thursday, November 22, 2007

deep fry turkey

Warning issued on hot-oil turkey fryers
The L.A. Fire Department urges residents to 'think twice' about using a cooker at home, citing the potential for fires and burn injuries.
By John L. Mitchell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 22, 2007
At Tasty Q Barbecue in Southwest Los Angeles, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for deep-fried turkeys.

It is a specialty at the Crenshaw Boulevard eatery, and on Wednesday workers were preparing dozens of turkeys for cooking in a vat of boiling oil.

Southern tradition
"Here you buy and we fry, or you can buy one of ours," said Tasty Q worker Donna Morrison. "Is it dangerous? Sure, if you don't know what you are doing. Anything can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing."

The Los Angeles Fire Department is so concerned about that potential for danger that it has issued a warning, urging people to "think twice" about deep-frying turkeys in their own home.

Under the heading "Your Turkey or Your Life," the Fire Department released an advisory and video on its website saying that the cookers used to prepare the popular Southern dish can be harmful.

"Deep-fat fryers are extremely dangerous because of the hot oil used to do the cooking," said Ron Myers, a Fire Department spokesman. "You can never recover from a hot oil burn. It melts the skin. A child or adult who is burned with hot oil will be disfigured for life -- or suffer a fatal injury."

Some fryers, he said, easily tip over, spilling the hot cooking oil, and other brands frequently overfill when the turkey is submerged in the oil. Any small amount of oil coming into contact with a burner can cause a fire. The sides, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, and the fryers can overheat to the point of combustion, Myers said.

The Fire Department recommends that turkey fryers be used outdoors, on a solid, level surface a safe distance (at least 20 feet) from buildings and flammable materials. They should never be used in an enclosed space, on a wooden deck, under a patio or in a garage.

The turkey should always be completely thawed before cooking. In addition, the cooker should never be left unattended and a fire extinguisher should always be kept nearby. (Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.)

Underwriters Laboratories, the international company that tests products for public safety, offers its own words of concern:

"There is no turkey fryer that carries a UL mark on it," said John Drengenberg, the company's consumer affairs manager in North Brook, Ill. "The products have improved over the years, but they have not advanced to the point where we feel comfortable authorizing the use of our mark."

Ultimately, he said, the problem is that there are "gallons and gallons of boiling oil, and if it gets out of control it is difficult for the average consumer to control."

The National Fire Protection Assn., a nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to reducing fire hazards, discourages the use of outdoor, gas-fueled turkey fryers.

"They have a significant risk of burns and fire," said spokeswoman Lorraine Carli. "More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year -- three times as many."

Despite his own warnings, Myers doesn't suggest that the deep-fried turkey be abandoned.

"I do it every year," he said. "The taste is fantastic. It's moist, not like eating a piece of bacon. No oil in it at all."

Myers compares deep-fry cooking to driving a race car at 170 mph: "If you are on the street it is very dangerous, but if you are on a racetrack and taking the proper precautions, it is perfectly safe."

For Leroy Ross, owner of Tasty Q, the Fire Department's advisory makes perfect sense -- in terms of safety and his own economics.

"I wouldn't advise just anybody to go and do it," said Ross, who has been in the barbecue business for more than a dozen years. "That's what we do."Having deep fried turkey? Try these tips
Is the product worth the possible costs?

Gazette Staff Writer

Turkey fryers are very common around the Thanksgiving holiday, but improperly using them could turn a holiday celebration into a tragedy.

"It's very important to have them cleaned so they don't spark a fire," said Springfield Township Fire Chief Tim Karshner.


According the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there have been more than 75 incidents since 1998 reported to the commission that involve fires, flames or burns associated with turkey fryers.

For those unfamiliar with this alternative to a day spent cooking a turkey in an oven, the fryer is basically a large pot of heated cooking oil into which the bird is immersed. Those who like using the fryers favor the shorter cooking time often associated with them, as well as the different taste it provides.
The majority of reported fire incidents occurred when the oil was being heated, prior to adding the turkey. For this reason, it is very important consumers monitor the temperature of the oil closely.

Most fires happen because of improper preparation, said Karshner.

If any smoke is noticed coming from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated.

One other fear the Home Safety Council voices is the ease at which turkey fryers can be tipped over, spilling gallons of boiling oil.

And if the pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out when the turkey is added, causing the oil to ignite and a fire to engulf the unit.

Units lacking thermostat controls also can overheat the oil to the point of combustion.

To avoid a disaster of any type, CPSC has some guidelines to follow:

Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank that helps light the fryer burner and the burner itself.

Completely thaw and dry the turkey before cooking. Partially frozen turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil.

If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn off the gas supply.
Should something happen that results in a burn, the Home Safety Council has tips on how to treat one.

A minor burn injury should be immediately treated with cool running water for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not apply ice, which can harm the skin. Do not apply butter or lotions, because they can keep the skin temperature hot, increasing the injury. Apply a sterile bandage to the injured area.

This southern tradition is sweeping the nation as a new way to have Thanksgiving. If you are planning on frying your Thanksgiving Bird, here are some helpful instructions.

Needed Supplies:

Cranberry sauce. Stuffing. Sweet potatoes. Pumpkin pie. And of course, the turkey.
These are the traditional items of the Thanksgiving dinner. They're stable, unchanging, loyal and invariably present on the holiday table.

Why change something if it's already perfect, right? Wrong.

The traditional Thanksgiving foods all have many diverse recipe preparations, and so should the turkey.

Everyone's tried the classic roasted turkey, but there are many tasty and novel recipes out there.

If you're seeking a non-traditional approach to the table's most important centerpiece, read on for a few interesting ways to cook up the bird.


This recent culinary craze started in the southern United States at Cajun barbecues and backyard picnics, but it eventually caught on with the rest of the turkey enthusiasts around the nation.

In recent years, turkey fryers and vats of oil have graced Thanksgiving celebrations about as commonly as pumpkin pies.

So why is this suddenly all the rage? Despite its notorious high caloric intake, many turkey-lovers crave the salty crispness of the skin, the extra moistness of the meat and the overall tasty flavor peanut oil gives poultry.

An unexpected downside to deep frying a turkey arises from the expense.

The cost of the fryer, five gallons of oil, the turkey, a flavor injector, and marinades and seasonings could easily ring up a tab of $150 or more. So to truly enjoy the experience of a deep-fried bird, estimate your costs ahead of time.


Thanksgiving has notoriously been noted as one of those times to pity all of the non-meat-eaters in the country. Why? Well, because they can't eat the main entree, and thus, they can't enjoy the holiday.

This has always been an erroneous belief.

Aside from all the side dishes, soups, appetizers and desserts that can be made without animal byproducts, a number of easy vegetarian entrees can be prepared in place of a turkey.

However, some vegans and vegetarians still choose to partake in a celebration of the "bird" during the holiday. This is where the tofurkey comes in.

Tofurkey, which is made from a tofu-wheat protein blend, is heralded by herbivores everywhere for its flavor and turkey-like texture.

"If my memory serves me correctly, the taste and texture really isn't that much different (from turkey)," said Dan Martinez of Merrillville, a practicing vegan who hasn't eaten turkey in over 10 years.

But tofurkey doesn't only have to be for the practicing vegetarians.

"I've fed it to people who didn't know what it was, and they couldn't tell the difference," Martinez said.

Some meat-eaters choose to prepare this dish for the health benefits. Compared to four ounces of a traditional roasted turkey at five grams of fat and 240 calories, tofurkey comes in at three grams of fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol and 190 calories.

Another plus? It's hassle-free and makes excellent leftovers

"For the people that aren't big into cooking, the stuff comes pre-prepared. All you have to do is heat it up," Martinez said.

"(With the tofurkey leftovers), throw some pickles on there, some lettuce, some Italian dressing, and you have one heck of a sandwich," he added.

Grilled Turkey

Outdoor cooking is now taking place year-round, and let's face it, the holidays are no exception.

Who wouldn't love a plump piece of turkey breast cut straight from a fiery-grilled bird?

It sounds succulent and the ingredients that can complement this grilled meal are vast.

When grilling a turkey, work with a bird somewhere in the range of 16 pounds or less.

Too big of a bird won't grill properly, resulting in either dried-out meat if grilled too long, or a dangerous undercooked bird.

Set up the grill with a pan below to collect the turkey drippings.

The bird should be well-oiled and turned continuously to ensure proper all-over browning.

According to the USDA, stuffing the turkey is not a good option. Because the meat will be cooked at such a low temperature, it will take too long for the stuffing to reach a safe 165 degrees.

The wafts and flavors off the grill also are said to leave an objectionable flavor in the stuffing.

So take your pick: grilled, meat-free or crisply fried. These are only three options in a sea of creative and non-traditional turkey recipes that can revamp your worn-out ways.

You may want a classic Thanksgiving, but it never hurts to put a little spin on your old recipes.

Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter

-- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

-- 1⁄4 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped

-- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

-- 1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh turkey, giblets, neck and liver discarded

-- 8 strips of bacon

-- 1⁄2 cup maple syrup

-- 2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove top rack of oven.

Put butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using fingers, gently lift skin from turkey breast and slip remaining seasoned butter under, massaging breast meat as you go. Truss bird by crossing legs over one another and tying with a piece of kitchen twine. Shingle bacon strips over breast so it's totally covered. Put turkey on a rack

in a large roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven.

In a small bowl, stir maple syrup with two tablespoons hot water to thin.

Roast turkey for two hours, basting with maple glaze every 30 minutes. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 170 degrees. Thigh juices should run clear when pricked with a knife, about three hours total (15 minutes per pound). About 30 minutes before turkey is done, remove foil so it can brown. When done, take turkey out of oven and put roasting pan on stovetop. Transfer turkey to a serving tray to rest at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve with turkey gravy.

-- Source: Tyler Florence,

Jive Turkey Deep-Fried Turkey

-- 5 to 8 gallons peanut oil

-- 10- to 12-pound turkey, thawed

-- Basic Dry Rub

-- 1⁄3 cup salt

-- 1⁄3 cup pepper

-- 1⁄3 cup garlic powder

-- Butcher's twine or cotton string

Preheat oil to 350 degrees.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey, reserving for other uses. If present, remove and discard any plastic pieces such as leg holder and pop-up timer.

Rinse turkey well with cold water; drain cavity. Dry turkey completely with paper towels.

Generously rub outside of turkey with dry rub. Separate skin covering breast and insert dry rub under skin. Pull neck skin to back and twist wing tips to back, holding skin in place. Tuck legs under band of skin or tie legs to tail with cotton string or butcher's twine. Place turkey breast side down on upright stand designed for poultry frying. Wearing protective gloves or heavy oven mitts and using a hook or tong to hold bird away from you, very slowly lower turkey into hot oil. Be cautious of splattering oil.

Maintain oil temperature at about 350 degrees. Fry turkey for 31⁄2 minutes per pound. Slowly lift from oil and place on a metal sheet pan or tray. Use caution as hot oil drains from bird. Check for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer in center of breast; thermometer should read 170 degrees or above. Let rest for 15 minutes. Carefully carve with a sharp knife.

More tips from Epicurious:

Do not inject turkey with marinade, as it's apt to pool under skin and can cause popping when lowered into oil.

Jive Turkey's Westbrooks only uses dry or wet rubs. Times-Picayune food columnist Marcelle Bienvenue sometimes makes slits in breast and stuffs in pieces of bell pepper, onion, and garlic, then rubs skin with cayenne.

If frying turkey in a basket, be sure to turn turkey every 10 minutes with a long-handled fork to prevent sticking.

Substitute any oil with a high smoke point for peanut oil, like safflower or canola oil.

-- Source: Epicurious, November 2005,

Apple-Sage Glazed Grilled Whole Turkey with Grilled Apples

-- 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for brushing on turkey

-- 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped

-- 1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped

-- 3 cups apple cider vinegar

-- 11⁄2 cups granulated sugar

-- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped, plus 2 peeled, cored, and sliced into 1⁄2-inch thick slices

-- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

-- Salt, freshly ground pepper

-- 1 whole (20 pound) turkey

Preheat grill to medium-high. Heat oil in a medium saucepan on grates of grill or on a burner. Add onion and cook until soft, about three minutes. Add serrano chile and cook one minute. Add vinegar and sugar. Cook until sugar has melted. Stir in chopped apples and cook until apples are soft and mixture is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Place apple mixture in a food processor and add sage. Pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Let cool to room temperature.

Have a large drip pan filled with a little water positioned under where turkey will be placed on grill.

Brush entire turkey with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill turkey on all sides until golden brown. Reduce heat of grill to medium to maintain a constant temperature of 350 degrees. Cook turkey until a thermometer inserted into thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees. Begin brushing entire turkey with apple glaze during last 15 minutes of cooking. Remove from grill and brush with more glaze. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Grill sliced apples two to three minutes on each side and serve with turkey.

-- Source:

Homemade Tofurkey Loaf

Servings: 6 to 8

-- 2 1-pound blocks firm tofu

-- 3 tablespoons soy sauce

-- 11⁄2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

-- 11⁄2 tablespoons dry sherry

-- 3 tablespoons water

-- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

Freeze tofu for at least one day, then thaw and squeeze out excess water. This changes consistency of tofu, making it chewier and more porous.Place two blocks of tofu next to each other in an oiled loaf pan, making sure that they are as close together as possible.

For marinade, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, sherry, water and pepper. Pour two-thirds of marinade over tofu, cover dish and place in refrigerator overnight. Cover remaining marinade and refrigerate.

Remove tofu from refrigerator and pour remaining marinade over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes, basting every half hour and flipping after 45 minutes. (When flipping tofu, use caution so it does not break apart.) Cool tofu to room temperature or place in freezer until cool, at which point it will have a firm, meaty consistency.

Use in sandwiches, as a main dish with gravy, or come up with your own serving ideas.


40-60 Quart Pot with Basket or Turkey Frying Hardware

Propane Gas Tank and Burner

Candy/Deep Fry Thermometer

Meat Thermometer


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