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Goodness Gracious, Butterballs® on Fire!

Reasons to choose the oven over a turkey fryer this holiday

November 23, 2010
By Michael Smith

It’s increasingly likely that you have consumed or will soon consume a fried turkey. This culinary delight, once a signature of the south, has quickly grown to be one of America’s favorite feasts, according to Underwriters Laboratories.

There’s just one problem: turkey fryers tend to catch fire. They catch fire so frequently, in fact, that the Underwriters Laboratories, an organization that certifies products as safe for consumer use, have not certified a single one.

There are three primary reasons that the fryers are considered unsafe:

  • It’s difficult to gauge how much oil to put in the pot. If you put in too little, you get partially uncooked turkey. If you put in too much, it’s likely to spill onto the flames underneath causing flames to engulf the unit.
  • They’re hard to keep stable. They can easily tip and spill hot oil.
  • Even if you manage to keep the oil inside the fryer, it may catch fire anyway. Most fryers don’t have a thermostat to regulate the temperature, so the oil can easily rise beyond a safe 350 degrees, increasing the potential for the fryer to overheat to the point of combustion.

Your best bet is to cook those Butterballs® in the oven, a safer heating source. To learn more, visit Underwriters Laboratory. Happy Holidays!


Michael Smith is a Web content specialist for Erie Insurance. He’s a fan of fried foods of all kinds. He particularly recommends fried ice cream sandwiches. (Just not fried turkeys.)