Why One Turkey Is Never Enough For A Southern Thanksgiving

Anyone who’s ever had a deep-fried bird knows exactly why.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Turkey
Photo: Cooking Light

If there's one thing you can say about Southerners, it's that we don't do anything halfway. Around the holidays, we pull out all the stops. We don't dabble in traditions, we follow them to a T. We don't try out a few new recipes, we make the entire cookbook. And at Thanksgiving, we don't have one turkey, we have two. On my Turkey—or should I say Turkeys—Day, I usually sample four different birds from three different celebrations. It's a marathon feast that leaves me feeling both uncomfortably full and impossibly joyful by the end.

To me, turkey is the undisputed star of Thanksgiving. Some people make arguments that the sides are where the real party's at, and while I love green bean casserole and dressing as much as the next gal, nothing can compare to the main event. So why make two? The obvious argument is that you can never have too much of a good thing, but the rationale goes much deeper than that. Here are the top reasons Southerners never settle for just one turkey on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Only Comes Once a Year

Think about it. How many times in the last year have you eaten turkey? And no, cold cuts don't count. Thanksgiving is the one excuse we get each year to chow down on this particular poultry, so we may as well make the most of it. If you get a hankering for turkey in the middle of summer, tough luck. Grocery stores likely aren't selling it, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that has it on their menu. So when Turkey Day rolls around, double the turkey and keep your cravings at bay for the year to come.

Avoid Hosting Horrors

Every Southern hosts' worst nightmare is running out of food. Can you imagine the embarrassment of sending a guest home hungry? And on Thanksgiving Day? The horror! If you're hosting this year, our handy guide will tell you exactly how much turkey to make. But like momma always says, it's better to be safe than sorry. An extra bird can also be a lifesaver in the case of an unexpected kitchen catastrophe. Yours wouldn't be the first turkey to accidentally get gobbled by a mischievous four-legged family member.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

There's a million ways to cook a turkey. You can roast it, brine it, smoke it, and my personal favorite, deep-fry it. Limiting yourself to one preparation seems cruel. I didn't start eating deep-fried turkey until about 8 years ago when I began splitting Thanksgiving Day with my now-husband's family. And let me tell you—it changed my life. My father-in-law typically makes two fried birds: one that gets a few extra injections of spicy Cajun marinade (my favorite!) and one that's a bit milder. There's usually a traditional roasted turkey, too, which brings the total turkey count to three.

Friendly Competition

When it comes to family gatherings, a touch of friendly competition is always welcome. If a midmorning game of pigskin or afternoon round of poker isn't enough to scratch the itch, try a turkey-judging contest between the different birds on your table. Just be sure to keep your comments discreet, less more than one turkey's feathers get ruffled!

Keeps Fighting at Bay

In our family, wings are always a hot commodity. With two Turkey Toms, there's less fighting over the wings and more to be thankful for. There are also two wishbones, which means two Thanksgiving wishes granted instead of just one!


Leftovers are arguably the best part of Thanksgiving. You may be sick of the stuff by the end of the night, but we guarantee you'll have a renewed appetite for turkey and all the fixings by the following day. Pile everything into a sandwich for the perfect football-watching snack. When all the sides are long gone, use the extra turkey to make our Leftover Turkey Casserole or any of these ultra-cozy turkey soups.

This Thanksgiving, make like a Southerner and buy that extra bird. You can thank us later!

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