One of the best things about living in the south is fried food.  These days you can pretty much fry anything from Twinkies, to onions, to seafood, to cheesecake.  The possibilities are endless! With Thanksgiving right around the corner, there's a new take on preparing your feast. Two words, fried turkey.

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Now I know most people get caught up in the traditional aspects of this holiday what with the colored leaves decorations and the excitement over your favorite foods like cranberry sauce and green bean casserole, but why not try something a little different this year?  Our recent presidential election erupted cheers of "change" so let's incorporate this transition of change into our everyday lives. And by change, I mean, connecting with our Southern roots and tendencies.

If you look on any food/cooking website, you'll almost always find some sort of recipe for frying turkeys.  Just the other day I found a fried turkey recipe from Paula Deen.  One of the benefits of using a turkey fryer is reduced time needed to cook the turkey.  For all Americans striving to cut corners to get things done in a shorter amount of time, then this is the Thanksgiving answer for you.

Now before you embark on this new proposition, you must invest in a quality turkey fryer. Every fryer consists of a burner (which is attached to a propane tank), a large stock pot, a lifter, and a thermometer. Remember, you might have a 6 lb turkey so make sure your stock pot is large enough to hold your ideal turkey size.  One important reminder: make sure turkey is thawed before placing into the fryer.  If not thawed, this could lead to a grease fire.  Unwrap your turkey, place in the pot, and fill with water until the turkey is covered plus an extra inch.  Mark this line as this is how much oil you should use when frying. 

Now it's time to clean your turkey! Make sure the giblets and neck are removed (if left in, they could create a big mess). Then make a 1 inch cut around the leg/thigh joints as this allows the oil to drain when the turkey is done. Rub your turkey with any seasonings or inject with marinades to add a little extra flavoring.

Place your stock pot on the fryer and pour in the cooking oil (I prefer peanut oil) up to the line you marked earlier. Attach the thermometer to the top edge of the pot making sure the stem is in the oil at least 1 inch.  Turn on the fryer and heat oil to 350 degrees F. Once it reaches the temperature, reduce heat slightly and slowly lower the turkey into the pot (make sure the legs are facing up!!).  This may take awhile as well as know what happens to food when you place it in hot oil.  It might bubble and jump at you, so be careful. Once the turkey is lowered, turn the fryer burner up to return to 350 degrees.  In terms of cooking time, allow 4 minutes per pound of turkey. Place newspaper on the ground so you can place your fried turkey on it when it is done.

Now you have found a way to wow the relatives this Thanksgiving with a new turkey recipe. Remember, make sure the turkey is completely thawed before placing in the hot oil.  If you're concerned about the amount of propane left in tank, there is a gadget called GasWatch Propane Tank Level Indicator which you hook up to the propane tank and it tells you how much gas is left. Now you know if you will need that extra propane tank on hand.