I like deep-fried a lot, however only with traditional seasonings. I once tried a cajun-style deep-fried turkey and did not like it. A baked turkey is fine with me too, although I tend to get tired of eating it quicker.
A properly deep fried turkey is the best ever. It is super moist, full of flavor, chrispy skin (if you eat the skin) takes a lot less time. I have not been able to one correct myself due to misinformation about how long to cook it. The time per pound values were very different.
Deep fried turkey is the best I've ever had. BUT the price of cooking oil is a big factor for me. Also it must be cooked outdoors and you need someone strong enough to lift it out of the fryer. There is a safety issue if you have children running around. So I stick with my Oster turkey roaster.
Fried is great. a few years ago I was a die hard baked turkey person. But after infomercial indoctrination I bought one of those Masterbuilt turkey fryers and the turkey was great, crispy skin, moist juicy turkey, easy clean up and no fire hazard. It was fast, easy and delicious.
I have seen those indoor turkey fryer for up to a 14 lbs bird but I have not seen them cook well. I have heard of people not using the proper oil and that ruins the taste but that's with any food really. Turkey fryers just seem more convenient and quicker to me. I don't think I'll be home for thanksgiving and I still want to eat a turkey made from the home which I'm not above buying a cooker just for that one purpose.
I love to cook and bake, but I am sorta getting to the point where I would like a restaurant-prepared turkey!! ha ha!! I don't care HOW they cook it, just so I don't have to do it (or dishes or shopping or house cleaning or napkin ironing or anything!)
We've had the fried version and have enjoyed it too but I guess we are just getting a bit long in the tooth as we both like the traditional roasted turkey on Thanksgiving day with all the trimmings we grew up with. I do brine our bird before roasting it and that helps with the dryness that often signals a traditional roasted turkey. I remember some of the disasters from my childhood tho, the ones where when it came time to carve the bird and a fork would be stuck in it half the meat under that skin would be roasted to ash and so dry you could clean up a flood with it, thankfully those are way back in memory now, and we haven't had to "enjoy" one of those specimens for many years now.
Baked turkey for me... If you put 4 sticks of butter in the cavity, wrap tight, bake until done fold foil down and brown the skin under the broiler real quick you will have a juicy turkey, brining a fresh turkey helps too. Bake breast side down if unwrapped. The drippings are used in the dressing.
I would recommend getting a water smoker, injecting the turkey meat, and smoking the turkey. This has made the best turkey my family has had. We like a cajun turkey flavor, which also makes for an awesome gravy! You can make whatever solution you may like, regular flavor (with the smoke of course) or as we like it, a spicier flavor. The breast meat is also juicier than when we make it in the oven.
Have you ever had a turkey done on a charcoal grill with a Rotisserie??? You owe kit to your self to try one. I have had turkey cooked many different ways, but by far my favorite is on a Charcoal Grill with a rotisserie. Everything I have read on grilling a turkey over charcoal tells you NOT to stuff the bird. I have cooked stuffed turkeys for the last 5 or 6 years with no problems and have done upto a 22 pound stuffed turkey on my Weber Kettle with a rotisserie, it has always come out delicious. You just must take a temperature reading not only in the meaty parts of the turkey, you must also do it in the stuffing. I have never run into a situation where the stuffing was not cooked enough when the rest of the bird was done. One word of caution. Make sure you use plenty of butchers twine to make sure the bird stays together.
I've never fried my own, however, I lived in Florida for a decade and a cracker friend of mine (not to be confused with redneck) fried theirs with peanut oil and it was the best turkey I'd ever had. That said peanut oil is expensive and they hosted large parties 5 + birds and the fixens completely eaten.
How are you going to fry it and have you done this before?
I love Fried Turkey because of the crispy, crunchy skin. But if you don't have an indoor Turkey Fryer (deep fat fryer big enough for your turkey), and it's a windy, cold day outside, a roasted turkey is just as good and a heck of a lot safer.
Speaking from experience, outside turkey fryers are a problem when it's windy and cold. You will have a very hard time keeping the cooking oil at the optimal temperature for frying. It will lengthen your cooking time and you will not get the desired results for a great fried turkey. Think of it in terms of cooking breaded chicken or steaks. Too low a cooking oil temperature leads to a soggy, oily coating.
Make allowances for the sputtering and spitting oil when you first put in the turkey. Do not drop it in surprise or you could have the whole pot of oil tipping over. Lower it in gently so it's best that you wear elbow length oven mitts and a heavy apron.
Snowbird is also right that you have to be strong to get that bird out of the fryer. One mistake and you could end up with a visit to the emergency room in the hospital with 2nd or 3rd degree burns on your lower extremities. You have to make sure you have a good grip on the lifter and have a clear field in pulling the bird out of the fryer and onto the platter or pan it's supposed to go.
In terms of cooking oil used, I find that vegetable oil (soybean) is a reasonable choice. It has a high smoking point and is not as expensive as canola or peanut oil. What you have to make sure of is flavoring your turkey the same way as you would when you roasted the best one you had ever done. You can brine it (but make sure to remember the addtional sputtering a very wet bird produces when put in hot, hot oil) and put herbs and spices under the skin.
Alternatively, you could opt to buy the more expensive deep fryer. Definitely safer.
Whatever you choose to do, Good luck, Be careful, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!