Why deep-fried turkeys are delicious and potentially dangerous
Fan-Yee Suen, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, October 11, 2013 2:19PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 11, 2013 11:31PM EDT
In the quest for a juicier, tastier bird, a growing number of Canadians are choosing to deep fry turkeys for their festive feasts. Compared with roasting, the technique takes a fraction of the time, leaves a crispier outer shell, and locks in moisture. But where there's deep-frying, there's also a risk of grease fire.
Deep-frying turkeys can be potentially dangerous because the oil in the pot can overflow when the bird is dropped in. Grease fires start when the oil becomes overheated, or when it is spilled over an open flame.
To prevent a turkey-sparked inferno in the kitchen, many people choose to use turkey fryers outdoors. But using the turkey cooking apparatus doesn’t guarantee oil from overflowing even if you’re careful not overflow the vessel. Oil can still splash over as the heat rises, and the bubbling oil touches the heat source.
Unlike "regular fires," Grease fires are dangerous and difficult to control because the fuel source is a liquid and the fire can spread very quickly.
To prevent grease fires, a self-contained extinguisher which hangs under the range hood is being endorsed by more than 2,000 American fire departments.
Dubbed the "Stovetop Firestop," the extinguisher douses grease fires by releasing a chemical. It is considered so effective that the product is becoming a common feature in many senior residences and apartment complexes in the U.S.
Although it’s widely available in the U.S., the Stovetop Firestop is not sold in Canada.
Texas-based manufacturer Williams-Pyro approached Canadian regulators approximately six months ago to start selling its Firestop in Canada. The product, however, has not been approved by the Canadian Standards Association because the extinguisher falls into a grey area.
"The problem is they don't have a testing criteria for a product like ours," a Williams-Pyro spokesperson told CTV Winnipeg in a telephone interview.
While there are many other types of products on store shelves that can protect people from fires, at least one Canadian with experience of the worst-case scenario wants to see the Firestop made available in this country too.
"Get them in. If Canada will go for it, get them in," Sandra Hohne told CTV Winnipeg.
Hohne's sister Gloria Sanderson, 51, was found dead inside a burned home in Selkirk, Manitoba in December 2012. Her family believes she was killed after a grease fire broke out while she was preparing dinner.
"The flames were higher than the trees," said Hohne. "They found her at the back bedroom door. That's what I was told."
Hohne said her sister knew how to douse a grease fire, but couldn't get to the flames in time.
In Canada, it's estimated that 40 per cent of fires start in the kitchen.
Although American firefighters are recommending Firestop to combat grease fires, their Canadian counterparts haven’t followed suit. They say the best tool is practising fire safety and knowing what to do when a grease fire breaks out.
What to do when faced with a grease fire:
1. Do not put out a grease fire with water
2. Turn the stove element off
3. Put a lid over the flame
For other cooking tips, and a tasty recipe, check out this feature from CTV’s Canada AM:
With a report from CTV Winnipeg'