This Thanksgiving, many home cooks across the United States will dust off their turkey fryers in preparation for the big meal. Unfortunately, turkey fryers can pose the risk of fires and burns, warns Underwriter Laboratories.
The turkey fryer isn’t the only potential source of risk home cooks face. If you’re like me, cooking for the big day involves juggling pots boiling over on the stove, pans of food baking a little too quickly in the oven and a microwave that’s constantly beeping. In our attempt to do it all, it’s all too easy to turn around and find a smoking pan.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this year, a little safety preparation before the big day can be a good idea.
Leave smoke alarms connected while cooking. If your smoke alarm is highly sensitive, it may be especially tempting to turn it off while you’re cooking. Who wants to deal with that annoying beeping every time you open the oven? But the smoke alarm is just doing its job. It can save your life—and those of your guests—if it’s installed and properly working. The National Fire Protection Association suggests testing the batteries before you start cooking.
Clean your stove prior to cooking. Grease naturally builds up on burners and cooktop surfaces. Scrub the stove down prior to cooking to help prevent grease fires.
Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. USA.gov suggests keeping it 10 feet or fewer away from the stove, on the side of the room with the exit. If you ever need to use a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym PASS: Pull the pin; Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire; Squeeze the nozzle to spray; Sweep back and forth at the base of the fire as you spray.
Less is more. Too much multi-tasking is a recipe for disaster. Declare the kitchen a no-child, no-pet zone. Keep the range free of clutter, only cook with as many pots and pans as there are burners (or fewer), and never hold a child in one arm while cooking.
Be careful with the turkey fryer. The taste of crisp fried turkey is a delicious and traditional part of many family celebrations. However, splattered hot oil causes burns and house fires. If you want fried turkey, consider buying yours pre-cooked from the store or using an infrared turkey fryer to safely cook your bird. Infrared heat locks in flavor and moisture without the risk of hot oil burns, splatters and spills. Even better, there’s no messy cleanup.