In Del Rio, Texas on Thanksgiving morning in 1963, Carlos "Cisco Kid" Kelp heated up a big pot of peanut oil to cook french fried potatoes for a tailgate party in the parking lot of Del Rio High School, before a football game between the Del Rio Rams and the South San Antonio Bobcats.
His two drunken buddies, Clyde "Friendly" Frind and George "Goombah" Ferraro, spotted a turkey on the seat of Kelp's pickup truck, that Kelp had purchased earlier that morning for roasting at home in the afternoon, after the game.
Frind and Ferraro removed the 18-lb. bird from the vehicle, unwrapped it, and started throwing it around like a football.
At one point Frind didn't throw it far enough to reach Ferraro, and it dropped into the pot of bubbling oil, splashing some hot fluid on Kelp, who required first-aid treatment by a school nurse on duty at the football field.
The three amigos decided to let the turkey cook for awhile, and eventually removed it with the handle from a bumper jack, cut it up, and served it to other football fans.
Apparently, it tasted good, and the dish became an annual tradition, and quickly spread around the country.
Several companies make specialized turkey fryers, and tools to inject flavoring into the bird. Frying turkeys can be dangerous and messy, and should only be done outdoors. Consumer Reports warns that Underwriters Laboratories has refused to certify any turkey fryer as safe, because all of six cookers examined could overheat oil to the point of combustion. BE CAREFUL.