How dangerous can turkey fryers be? Severe enough that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security diverted resources from sussing out terror threats to film a video on how easy it can be to set a wooden porch, or yourself, on fire.

In the video above, a firefighter in full gear drops a partially frozen turkey into an over-filled deep fryer, which quickly erupts into a large flame. The narrator explains how oil can overflow and quickly catch the fryer on fire.


The department was not the only one highlighting a potential Thanksgiving day nightmare. William Shatner jumped on the PSA bandwagon with a hilarious and characteristically dramatic re-enactment of his bad experiences with a deep fryer — and the importance of the “dingle dangle.”

Deputy Food editor Bonnie S. Benwick tested some of these potentially hazardous contraptions in 2008, including a Masterbuilt electric, big-drum oil fryer specifically designed for kitchen use. A maximum-fill line halfway up the inner pot and a spout for releasing used oil or liquid make the fryer safer and non-intimidating, Benwick noted.

But to avoid the potential dangers entirely, check out some of our roasting and smoking recipes.

More Thanksgiving recipes:

Thanksgiving leftover ideas, by ingredient

Pecan and other pie recipes for Thanksgiving

Mashed potatoes: easy Thanksgiving recipes

Green beans: casseroles and other recipes

Holiday Guide 2011