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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

And so, it begins: This year's round of turkey-frying accidents

Bird #1 just received the first dose of marinade: the traditional garlic butter. Pumped nearly three bottles of the sauce into that turkey. I'll be working throughout the night making this just right to go into the hot oil tomorrow morning. Later on comes the cajun rub and more marinade. Bird #2 is a turkey breast that I'm making the subject of a somewhat experimental marinade. I've brewed up a diabolical concoction that, the theory is anyway, will render a VERY delicious bird. If this goes well I'll try it on a bigger bird come Christmas.

(BTW, special thanks to my good buddy lowbridge for posting on Free Republic my article from last year's Thanksgiving. You a good dude lowie :-)

Now, if you follow some pretty simple precautions, turkey frying can be relatively safe. You just gott be careful throughout the whole process. You must practice, as "Mad-Eye" Moody liked to scream out in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire novel, "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" And fortunately most turkey frying goes off without a hitch. But then, every year, we get stories like this: from the Register-Guard...

Fryer Smokes Bird, New House
By Rebecca Nolan
The Register-Guard
Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Construction workers using a deep-fryer to cook a turkey Tuesday for an early Thanksgiving celebration burned a house they had just finished building.

The feast is an annual tradition for the crew, which was working at the Cozy Homes development on Mallory Lane, off Coburg Road in Eugene.

Cement worker Henry Schmerber bought a new propane fryer for the occasion and set it up inside the garage of the vacant house. Workers took turns watching the kettle.

But the fryer's thermometer was broken, and the oil inside got too hot, the workers said. The kettle started smoking and the lid rattled, as though the peanut oil inside had reached a boil.

Schmerber ran inside the garage and turned off the gas, but it was too late.

"The lid popped off," he said. "There must have been oil on it, because it hit the burner and ignited it."

The hot oil burned through the rubber propane line. Flames spread through the garage and up the front of the house, into a second-story room.

"The flames were as tall as the house," Schmerber said.

The men fought the blaze with a fire extinguisher, but the foam had no effect.

Eugene District Fire Chief Paul Dammen said the fire caused about $75,000 in damage. In all, 17 firefighters helped put out the blaze. The house was unsold, and the loss was insured.

Charred wood, insulation and other materials lay in a pile on the driveway. The front of the light green house was scorched and a twisted ceiling fan was visible through a shattered upstairs window, its blades warped by the heat.

Like an increasing number of Americans, Schmerber and his co-workers like the taste of deep-fried turkey. The technique began in the southern states and has gained popularity over the years. Cooking time is shortened and the meat stays juicier, advocates say.

Use of the fryer units remains controversial.

State Fire Marshal Nancy Orr on Monday urged Oregonians to use the fryers outdoors only and to keep an eye on the unit at all times.

"It's dangerous to use them on wooden decks or in garages," she said in a written statement.

The National Fire Protection Association's Web site discourages consumers from using deep fryers. (comment from me: WIMPS!!!)

The group warns heating as much as five gallons of oil to 350 degrees or more poses a "significant danger."

"The use of turkey fryers by consumers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property," the group says.

But even after the fire, the men on Mallory Lane were determined to have their bird. They bought a second fryer and planned to cook up their feast later Tuesday afternoon in the backyard of a house across the street.

"We're gonna burn another house down," Schmerber joked.

Somehow I have the urge to start chanting "The Roof" after reading this story :-P

EDIT: Y'see, this is why you wanna be real careful when you play around with one of these things...


Chad said...

If you got any deep fried bird left, I'd be up for another to go plate this year.

Chris Knight said...

We probably will. And I'll let you be one of the first to taste the turkey done up with my experimental concoction. Will your taste buds delight with pleasure or recoil with horror??? You ain't gonna BELIEVE what I've fixed up here. Or maybe you will. Hint: it involves my own "super secret" ingredient, which I'm considering making a post about later tonight or tomorrow.