Bruce Krasting's picture


Enough negative monetary analysis and deep thoughts on crappy markets. I just want to wish my US readers a happy holiday. For those of you who are outside the country, who wonder why 300m people stuff themselves with dry turkey and canned gravy, well, the hell with you.


I’ll be cooking this year. I’m going a bit over the top. I’m going to fry a turkey. This is half curiosity and half death wish. I’m told the bird will taste great; but it’s dangerous as hell.


Every Thanksgiving a hundred or so houses burn down because of fried turkeys. It’s not as if people don’t understand the risks, there are plenty of warnings.




A few years back, down in Tennessee, this happened to a friend. It was the usual combination of errors that were at fault. Too much alcohol (not in the turkey), cooking oil that was allowed to get too hot and a bird that was not quite defrosted. A dangerous combination.


A second or so after the bird was dropped in the fat, there was an explosion of flames.



The initial thinking was that somehow the fire would burn down a bit and, just maybe, some brave soul could get near enough to turn off the gas that was stoking the flames. No luck with that, the fire roared on.


There was a fair crowd at this Thanksgiving, so when the fire started, people came closer to see the action. That proved to be a mistake. The fire intensified. The oil was boiling out in every direction, bringing flame with it. The nearby container of propane was now covered in flames.


In a bit of bad luck, the fire burned through the gas line. The rupture sent high-pressure propane shooting out of the severed hose. This immediately ignited, causing the gas line to shoot a blowtorch of flame 25 feet long. That changed the thinking of the onlookers, but things really broke down when some guy screamed:


Run! The tank is going to blow!


So now everyone is running for cover. One lady grabs her fat ten-year old and heads for safety. She makes it maybe 20 feet before she trips on a lawn sprinkler and goes down hard, kid and all. The boy was fine; she broke two ribs and was crying for help. The twin girls were screaming their heads off in unison; one older lady actually peed in her pants. Two guys ran for a hose, but another two stopped them, (the worst thing you could do was to put water on an oil fire). There was a screaming match about that.


The good news was that the main house was hundreds of feet away, and not really in danger. The bad news was that there was a tobacco-drying barn about twenty feet from the inferno, and the flames from the gas tank were blowing twenty-five feet. So the barn caught fire. The structure was old, had a cedar shake roof and wood walls that were dry as tinder. Once it was lit, there was no way to stop it.


There was no tobacco in the barn, but there were two vehicles. An ancient Chevy S10 pickup that had 300k miles, and two Jerry cans of fuel in the bed. The other vehicle was a brand new Volvo SUV that just happened to have twenty-two gallons of high-octane fuel in the tank.


The Chevy blew first, the Volvo went a minute or two later. The fireball must have been forty-feet high.


The boys at the Fire Department were eating turkey (and no doubt, drinking) so they were late in arriving. They hosed the main house, and let the barn burn to the ground. All in, the damages were north of a hundred grand. The “Friends” at Allstate were none to pleased with the results.


Later that day, the twins found what was left of the turkey that caused all the fuss. It looked like a burnt football. The kids played soccer with it until it broke apart.


Anyway, have a good holiday.




Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Conax's picture

Thanks Mr. Krasting, still laughing here!

Boiling oil, blazing infernos that spread havoc, the panic of the in-laws, the lamentations of the widows-

ahhh, America, fuque yeah.  ;) 

5 * writin!

I'm with the duffers.  Golden brown roast turkey, serenity, maybe have some pie.  Boring.



bigkahuna's picture

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


No fried turkey adventures here:-)


Thanks Bruce!

Super B's picture

Happy Thanksgiving..........and GOLD, bitchez!!!!

pitterrier's picture

If the Pilgrims were Italian we would all be better off.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

I'm stuffing a boned turkey breast with Wolfgang Puck's Oyster Stuffing and enjoying the family.  Europe, trillions in derivatives, banker fraud, and gold prices are taking a back seat to life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

DarthVaderMentor's picture

Once again, Darwin is proven right.

deerhunter's picture

The turkey is in the brine for tomorrow already.  Big Easy infrared cooker.   Best most moist turkey ever.  Cajun rub on the outside and 14 lb bird done golden brown in 2 hours and change and not a drop of oil.   I have used it for 4 years and the family loves the turkey.  Hind leg of venison for Christmas dinner in the near future.  Happy Thanksgiving all.

Mediocritas's picture

I watched a load of "how-to" videos on YouTube for deep-frying a turkey. Many hilariously ending in a fireball.

The take-home message was:


Although, if you really must, the few that managed to pull it off safely had one thing in common. They lowered the bird in very, very slowly. Also makes sense to make sure there is nothing flammable above or around the area (yeah I saw one idiot deep-fry under a shade sail), and ensure plenty of height above the oil surface after the bird goes in (water -> steam bubbles coming up and spitting / spilling oil over the sides typically start the fire). Big stress on lowering the bird SLOWLY. 

cynicalskeptic's picture

What with the lack of predators and over legislation of 'safety' in all matters today you need SOMETHING to cull the low hanging IQ's in the population.  Home Depot has half an aisle full of fryers, peanut oil and associated materials for adding to the list of Darwin Award candidates.

Mediocritas's picture

Alternatively, what you want to see is people doing it safely, year after year, which means more consumption of deep-fried birds, bringing on abundant heart attacks. Fireballs are certainly entertaining though.

Basically it's a win / win and you convinced me: MORE DEEP FRIED BIRDS!

ArrestBobRubin's picture

Never mind the turkey.... fry a bankster. And if it burns, all the better!

If each of us did that, just imagine how much thanks we'd have to give.

FleaMarketPete's picture

BK, I think I enjoy your holiday pieces the best.  My favorite though was title something like "It's the 4th and I pick a fight."

BeansBulletsBandaids's picture

Shot me a turkey on sunday. The whole flock caught Mr with my pants down as I was taking off some layers as it was warming up midmorning. Rio Grandes are that smart and pretty easy to outwit..
Wild turkeys aren't much food for baking or roasting since they don't have the genetic engineering of those butterballs at the store. Best think to do is breast it out, cut the meat into strips or chunks, and fry that. The wife did cook the legs in the crockpot for a while and put the meat in a turkey pot pie.

steelhead23's picture

Bruce, I have absolutely no qualifications as a reviewer of great prose, but your little essay reminds me of one O Henry, a subdued and absolutely normal event becomes, through minor errors and twists of fate, a hurricane of mishaps.  I had a schadenfreude overload, spattered coffee on my monitor and my eyes watered up, when I laughed maniacly at your little story.  Classic due, just classic.  Thanks.

azzhatter's picture


i was daydreaming it was the bernanke homestead

Bruce Krasting's picture

My pleasure. Enjoy your holiday.


onlooker's picture

Good Cheer you present to us for the day Sir. Hope your Holiday goes well.


In Texas they deep fry everything but watermelon and grits. The folks aren’t that bright. On the other hand they have no income tax. Given they have no income, it makes sense.


Imminent Crucible's picture

That ain't true. The part about Texans having no income, I mean. They don't have any income they report.

The rest is true enough, I guess. Depending on what you mean by "bright". Some of 'em get pretty lit up from time to time.

nmewn's picture

"They don't have any income they report."

Exactly, whats good for the goose is good for the gander ;-)

paladin's picture

Bruce.....great story..

we fried a bird one was only 6 feet from the house..

then we had 10 gal of oil left.....a pot of 15 gal left..

and a burner of 100,000 to 125,000 btu's

so I had a boby shop make a ring for my wok....this was what I was looking for.

this was wok cooking.....not the 50,000 btu's from your stove top


jomama's picture

I'm sensing a metaphor in here somewhere...

OutLookingIn's picture


Best and most vile!

A poor white cracker could not get his mule team to budge another inch up hill with an overfull wagon load of hay. A passerby told him to take some hay and light a fire under them mules, then they'll move!

Move they did! Bolted ahead out of the fire and promptly halted, while the wagon load of hay caught fire. When the heat got too much, those mules took right off! Setting fire to half the county!

From then on, that poor white cracker farmer was known as the man who owned the best hot assed mule team around! Eat lottsa turkey. Stay safe.

Disenchanted's picture



The first Thanksgiving...we mooched a feast from the 'Injuns' then we killed the savages.


Amerika , fuck yeah!

nmewn's picture

Actually, thats factually wrong on a couple different levels...but whatever...thats what they want you to believe, so you accept it as fact and move on to other things.

The NE Pilgrims were celebrating and sharing a bountiful harvest with the "Injuns"...almost sixty after the real first Thanksgiving in the SE in St.Augustine Fla.

But the victors (English) get to write the childrens stories and fairy tales...for your review:

Disenchanted's picture




Ok so maybe I took a little license there and simplified a little too much, but:


Squanto was the sole survivor of the Patuxet people, having been abducted by Hunt in 1614 to be sold into slavery in Spain. He had jumped ship and gone to England where he found employment on a trip to Newfoundland and other parts, before returning home in 1618, only to find all his people dead. Without Squanto's help and guidance, the Plymouth Colony would not have survived. The English considered him "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation." He acted as interpreter between the colonists and Massasoit, taught the Pilgrims how to fish and plant corn, how to live in harmony with the land, "and never left them till he died" in 1654. The Pilgrims would have starved without his help. In addition to Squanto, another Wampanoag named Hobbamock came and lived with the colonists "and was of great assistance to them." Plymouth Colony notes that the Separatists enforced strict sexual morals, including upon the Native Americans who lived with them.


Yeah I know about the Spaniards and St. Augustine...What's the 'cimmarrones'(Seminoles and their Maskoki speaking predecessors) opinion of the St. Augustine colony?

nmewn's picture

Squanto didn't die at the hands of a "white man" did he?

More poetic NE license? ;-)

tongue.stan's picture

Great story Bruce. Here's my turkey story:

I worked on a bird farm back in my late teens. Pheasants, waterfowl, exotics, quail. Anyways, we had a bunch of turkeys we raised from chicks that got a bad case of the pox. Completely worthless. So the barn manager got his buddy jarhead to come to the farm and bring his standard issue marine sword with him. Well, long story short, picture the Hutus vs. the Tutsis, and a pen full of carcasses, and a satisfied Marine.

Happpy Turkey Day Everyone.

kevinearick's picture

seen that sh-show...loved it.

also watch the same basic process at work everyday...

after a while my bosses get upset when the see me with an "extinguisher" ready to go...and they never get it.

august west's picture

over/under on turkey frying injuries vs

over/under on people trampled at malls on friday?

disabledvet's picture

On this Day of Remembrance...when the command was given..."to FIRE!" and 4,000 Americans died. A day called "a Victory." Antietam. The bloodiest day in American history. So go ahead..."yell fire."

sodbuster's picture

Last year I had my chance to do the traditional thing of shooting my own turkey for Thanksgiving. ......You should have seen the people scatter in the meat department!!!!!!!!!!

sodbuster's picture

Man, I'd have paid money to see that!! People pay a lot of money, to see a lot less entertaining stuff! Good times! They'll look back and laugh!!

TomGa's picture

OUtdoor turkey fryer fire?  No problem...

Put a half-inch of dishsoap in a garden sprayer and mix with a bit of water. Set to broad foliage coverage. 

Then foam down the fire and turn off the tank.

The foam snuffs out the fire, not the water.

Previous experience here....but the better idea is to do turkey frying properly to start with. Then it's not quite as, um, entertaining.

Tedster's picture

Have heard it's really good, but seems like a lot of work and mess, even if things go well. Peanut oil is pretty expensive stuff. Can always strain it and run it in the Volvo or sell it to the Hippies maybe.

Every year we are bombarded with "public service" announcements about this, and choking hazards, how to trick or treat safely. It's a wonder the average person can get out of bed.

You can bet there's a website on how to do this, from what I've gleaned excitement can result if the turkey is not completely thawed. Another common mistake is to misjudge the amount of oil required and have it overflow onto the burner. Better to fill the pot with water first and test displacement with the turkey and measure for reference.

takinthehighway's picture

Great story, Bruce. Wish I'd been there.

I noticed that Bojangles was taking orders for fried turkeys...don't remember if they have those in your neck of the woods, but might be an option.

BTW, rednecks are not confined to just the South...I have relatives in PA who are as redneck as anyone down here.

WestVillageIdiot's picture

The North is loaded with Yankee Rednecks.  I'm looking at you, Ohio. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

WestVillageIdiot said:

The North is loaded with Yankee Rednecks.  I'm looking at you, Ohio.

For the sake of accuracy, I must point out that the proper term is hilljacks.

adr's picture

I haven't seen many people buying up turkey fryers this year, 1 gallon of peanut oil is $35 everywhere I look.

Otto Diesel would not be happy.

ebworthen's picture


Tent foil.

"Set it and forget it".

Must sharpen carving knife..

hedgeless_horseman's picture



After 48 hours of soaking in a molasses brine, rubbing with salt, then stuffing with onion stuffing, I will roast our 22 pound bird in the oven, but I like to baste, so only the wingtips get foil covering.  Saves the tinfoil for hats.

People'sRepublicof CT's picture

The drunken fools who burn down a house deep frying a turkey will at least wake up the next day sober. The beard, however, will always wake up every morning just as stupid as the night before.

Miss Expectations's picture

Fried turkey really is delicious.  Here's the mistake our hosts made...they were a little scared so they dropped the turkey in from about 2' up and splashed the oil everywhere...and yes, there was burning oil, but it burned itself out quickly.  I'd suggest lowering it in slowly, preferably a 2 person operation... the turkey suspended on a long stick with one person on each side.

Happy Thanksgiving Bruce.

RunningMan's picture

Never have dry turkey again: brine it, bard it, and enjoy the juiciest turkey ever.

I enjoy a good challenge, so someday I will fry a whole bird, but not this go around. Hope your results are more benign than the story you told Bruce!

Schmuck Raker's picture

Good luck Bruce. If all goes well, next year you can try frying a Turducken.(

RunningMan's picture

Wow. I can't tell whether to be enthralled or horrified...

pemdas's picture

I'm not enthralled either.  Actually, I don't like any foods that begin with "turd".

idea_hamster's picture

Well, Bruce -- best of luck!  IIRC, you're somewhere north of NYC, so do your best to keep both yourself and our area in one piece!  :-)

I was half-hearted hoping for some kind of allegorical transition into

...and that's what's going to happen to Europe.  The LP can is Spain, the barn is Germany, the Volvo is the Swedes (who get blown up on their banking exposure to Eastern Europe, represented here by the S10, ugly and committee-designed like the Lada) and the fire department (late, drunk, marginally effective) is ... well, you tell me!  Allstate could the taxpayers in this tale, I suppose, who will get stuck holding the bag, but really we have little of the advantages that a major insurer has.

Hope you have a safe and cheerful holiday!

Joe Davola's picture

Looked out on the deck a few days ago, 3 wild turkeys sitting on the railing.  By the time I got the oven preheated and the line of corn (meant to entice them into the oven) laid out they had flown away;)  Yes, Les, tukeys can fly - just not too far/high.

WestVillageIdiot's picture

Are you sure you hadn't just drunk 3 Wild Turkeys?