Thanksgiving chefs: deep fry mishaps, salmonella, grease fires, oh my!

Turkey day - #1 week for kitchen fires

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – From salmonella to grease fires, cooking Thanksgiving dinner can easily become a trip to the emergency room. Here are a few precautions to keep your meal prep hospital free during the number one week of the year for kitchen fires.

When it comes to turkeys, UK Agriculture Extension Agent Joanna Coles explains, “Most of the ones that you can get right now are frozen. The thawing process is really where we can get into trouble when it comes to turkeys.”

Coles says the birds usually need three to five days in the fridge to thaw, but you can speed up that process by putting your turkey in cold water.

“The more it’s over 40 degrees, the more chances you have of more bacteria growing so we have to keep it in cold water and change that water out every 30 minutes.”

Though store-bought turkeys come with a thermometer, Coles recommends you use a meat thermometer to make sure your turkey and any stuffing inside are cooked to 165 degrees.

“A lot of times people call in a panic because they haven’t allowed themselves enough time to thaw the turkey,” Coles said.

Just like clockwork, the Bowling Green Fire Department says they get calls about oven fires every Thanksgiving week.

To our new fryers this year, “Please don’t deep fry a frozen turkey,” advises BGFD Fire Community Risk Reduction & Education Coordinator Katie McKee. “Make sure it’s completely thawed out. Make sure you read the instructions. Make sure you have the proper amount of oil, and just do what you can to keep everybody around you safe.”

The BGFD also advises you to make sure your turkey is completely dry; leave no lingering water when you put it in oil.

Additionally, make sure you submerge your bird completely but avoid that oil overflow.

To prepare for a worst-case scenario fire, keep baking soda by your oven.

If an oven fire breaks out, “Keep that oven door shut,” said McKee. “Those are made to withstand really high heat. So, a lot of the time it will put itself out,,, and the same with a microwave. Unplug it. If it’s not under control within a few seconds, get out call 911 and just wait for the fire department to come.”

Good luck to happy frying!