In 2006, the two turkeys pardoned by the President of the U.S. were named Flyer and Fryer. As I wrote in an earlier article, turkeys can’t fly, and not many people fry their Thanksgiving turkeys. But more and more are doing just that. Although roast turkey is the traditional Thanksgiving meat, deep-fried turkey is also becoming popular.
Deep-frying means cooking food in a large amount of hot fat. The fat has to cover the food completely. The outside of the food gets very crisp.
Fried chicken has been a popular American dish for years. The chicken is usually cut up and fried in a small amount of fat. Fried turkey is different. A whole turkey is cooked in a large container of very hot oil. Special appliances called turkey fryers are made for this.
Many people who have eaten deep-fried turkey say it tastes much better than roast turkey. It also cooks a lot more quickly.
But cooking it can be dangerous. If the hot oil spills or splashes, people can get badly burned. The fryer can tip over and spill, especially if it’s not on a flat surface. If the turkey is still frozen, even a little bit, water from the melting ice can also make the oil spill. Turkey fryers have even exploded.
Underwriters Laboratory, an organization that tests products for safety, has said it will not put its safety mark on any turkey fryers. To see why, watch this video.
There are other problems with deep-fried turkey. It has to be cooked outside to be safe. (Maybe this is the reason it’s more popular in the South.) The turkey has to be small – 12 pounds or less. There can’t be any stuffing in it.
Is deep-fried turkey worth the risk? Underwriters Laboratory says no, some Americans say yes – and most Americans will probably stick to roast turkey for Thanksgiving.