Deep-fried Turkey Disasters (and How to Avoid Them)

How can something that makes things taste so good be so bad? I'm talking about the turkey fryer, a high-octane cooking aid that's enhanced and spoiled many a Thanksgiving meal.

If you're very brave (and very hungry), a turkey fryer can make your ordinary roast turkey drip with juicy flavor. Because we are still essentially cave-men, the turkey fryer is just a fancy name for a small explosion into which you toss a bird. Gallons of boiling oil mix with propane gas on a makeshift wobbly wire frame for an exercise in extreme meat-cooking.

Just how extreme? Fire safety officials issue cease-fires every Thanksgiving, asking families to avoid the turkey fryer despite its promise for a delicious meal. It's hard to believe we can video-chat with people in New Zealand on a piece of plastic, but we can't build a safe, affordable mechanism for crisping turkey.

Maybe its because we're spending all our funds on hilarious fryer safety blooper videos. Ah well. In the meantime, here's how to avoid a turkey fryer mishap:

-Make sure your deep fryer is outside, and resting on a flat surface. If you can, find a model with super-sturdy to avoid tipping.

-Don't fill the turkey fryer with too much oil, so that it spews over the side when you add the bird.

-Thaw your turkey all the way through before cooking (at least 24 hours for every five pounds of frozen turkey). Partially thawed turkeys plopped into the fryer can cause unexpected eruptions because of the ice and oil mixture.

-To avoid overheating the oil and causing an explosion, look for a fryer with thermostat controls so you can monitor the heat levels.

-Get your PhD in Astrophysics. Really. The basics of jet propulsion and rocket science will definitely come in handy. So will a fire-proof suit.

For more deep fryer safety tips, let's go to the videotape. Here are some useful and/or amusing DIY turkey fryer guides.

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