Turkey fryer: Is it on your holiday check list?

Turkey fryer: The Southern tradition of deep-frying a Thanksgiving turkey in peanut oil is catching on. Some things to know before you try a turkey fryer at home.

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A Thanksgiving turkey, ready for the feast. One way to prepare a turkey for Thanksgiving to use a turkey fryer.

Deep-frying a turkey for Thanksgiving has become more popular in recent years. The process yields a tender and delicious meat and offers a novel twist on the classic Thanksgiving centerpiece. Depending on the turkey fryer you use, it can also mean your main dish will be ready to serve in an hour or less, vastly improving oven roasting times that can range anywhere from 3 hours (6-lb. bird) to 6 hours (24-lb. bird).

The Southern tradition of deep-frying a turkey in oil can be incredibly dangerous, so don't attempt it before reading up on the process. The National Fire Protection Association actually discourages the use of outdoor turkey fryers.

But if you are deep-set on deep-frying your Thanksgiving turkey, here are some useful tips for frying outdoors:

  • Never leave your turkey fryer unattended.
  • Make sure your turkey is completely thawed, removed any wrapping, and discard the neck and giblets.
  • Before filling your fryer with oil, do a test run with water. Place the turkey in the fryer, and fill with water until the bird is just covered. Remove the bird, letting the water drain back into the fryer, then mark the water line. This is how much oil to add to the fryer.
  • Pat the bird dry with a paper towel and rub with desired seasonings.
  • Do not stuff a deep-fried turkey! Prepare the stuffing separately.
  • Once you have cooked the turkey, following the fryer's instructions, remove the bird and let it stand for 20 minutes before serving.

There are a number of how-to guides online, including tips from Butterball, a very simple rub recipe and procedure from Paula Deen, and a pictorial demonstration on The Huffington Post.

You can also find somewhat safer indoor fryers, such as this pricey digitial Williams-Sonoma fryer on sale for $280 or this electric Butterball fryer for $139.

Again, please use safety and precaution (and intelligence!) when deep frying a turkey.

If you are still inspired to tie a bandana around your forehead à la "Duck Dynasty" fashion, take a look at this video of the BBQ Pit Boys demonstrating how to deep fry a turkey.

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