Don't put a frozen turkey in a deep fryer.
It's a warning that pops up every Thanksgiving – the ice in and on the turkey turns to water, which turns to steam, and it tries to escape. That throws all the hot oil over the sides. If it hits the burner below, it'll start on fire. Or it can splash around and hit you, which isn't a great situation either.
To demonstrate this, fire departments and other agencies around the country hold demonstartions, where they put a frozen turkey in a deep fryer and let you watch the carnage. Then they post the videos online. So here's one from Minnesota's Department of Public Safety, which they posted Monday.
But the exploding-frozen-turkey-in-a-deep-fryer safety video is a national phenomenon.
(We could keep going – here are more YouTube results.)
But seriously, it's a serious danger
Yes it's sort of amusing to see everyone resort to the same "Holy crap that turkey just turned into a fireball!" videos from all around the U.S.
But they've got a point.
Thanksgiving through New Year's is usually the most dangerous time for fires in Minnesota, the state's Department of Public Safety said, because people are in the kitchen cooking so much – and cooking is the top cause of fires.
Just over Thanksgiving weekend last year there were 70 house fires reported in the state. Thanksgiving specifically is the leading day for home fires involving cooking equipment.
"Deep-fryer fires move fast and are explosive. They can cause injuries in the blink of an eye and can even be fatal," the department wrote in a news release.
How to be safe
Step one would be, don't deep fry a frozen turkey.
But beyond that, take some more precautions, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says, including:
- Keep your deep fryer on a flat surface, and away from your house/garage/any other structure.
- Don't use your deep fryer under anything (like an overhang).
- Always watch the fryer, and if you see smoke, cut the gas immediately.
- Put the food in (and pull it out) slowly, so the oil doesn't splash. And don't overfill the fryer.
If a fire does start, do not throw water on it – it's a grease fire, it will just spread. Call 911 immediately and get to safety.
Deep fryers can also tip over easily, as the Department of Public Safety points out.