Ben Franklin Tried to Electrocute a Turkey

 There are several ways to cook a turkey.  Baked.  Fried.  Roasted.  Electrocuted? 

It was a party trick that turned into a party fail!  Benjamin Franklin used his knowledge of electricity to cook a turkey in a unique and entertaining way.  He told fellow scientist, Peter Collinson, of a dream he had to host the world’s first electric barbeque.  He practiced for months on turkeys and chickens by electrocuting them with Leyden jars.  The tests were unsuccessful.  Each bird would merely be knocked into unconsciousness and then would “rise from the dead” as they awoke.  This of course freaked out Benjamin Franklin.  After several tests, he finally felt that he had mastered this trick.  

On December 23, 1750, Franklin got his chance to show off his new party trick.  Unfortunately, it did not turn out the way that he had planned.  He set the pernicious charge to electrocute the contained turkey, but the electricity shocked him instead!  The turkey fled and Franklin was on the ground.  The only thing that hurt more than his chest was his ego!  Although this trick didn’t go as planned, it forever changed the way that we eat.  Franklin had unintentionally discovered how to tenderize meat through electric charge.  This method has been used to tenderize meat ever since.

With the holiday season just around the corner, you might be wondering how to make your own turkey.  Here are a few recipes that don’t involve electrocution:

  1. Perfect Roast Turkey 
  2. Cajun Deep-Fried Turkey
  3. Vegan & Gluten-Free Tofurkey with Stuffing
  4. Bay Leaf and Honey Glazed Turkey with Pear Chutney
  5. Air-Fryer Turkey
  6. Bourbon-Brined Turkey with Apple Bourbon Pan Gravy 
  7. Braised Turkey with Moroccon Spices
  8. Turkey with Herby Pork and Apricot Stuffing
  9. The Greatest Grilled Turkey
  10. Turducken

We hope that you all have a safe and wonderful holiday season!