Serves: 12 to 16
Hands On Time: 2 hours and 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 hours and 30 minutes
8 quarts hot water
1 pound kosher salt (see note)
1 pound light brown sugar
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 (0.75-ounce) package fresh thyme
5 pounds ice
1 (15- to 16-pound) whole turkey, with giblets removed, thawed
4 to 5 gallons peanut or soybean oil, for frying (see note)
In a Dutch oven or other large pot, combine the water, salt and sugar. Place over low heat and cook, whisking occasionally, just until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic and thyme. Pour the brine into a large, preferably round, cooler and stir in the ice until the brine has completely cooled. Carefully place turkey in the ice chest, making sure the bird is completely submerged, weighing it down a heavy pot lid if needed. Cover and store overnight in a cool location.
The next day, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse with cool water. Attach the turkey to a metal fryer rack according to the manufacturer’s directions. Secure the wings to the body of the turkey with a piece of kitchen twine.
Place the turkey in a 30-quart stock pot. Use a gallon-sized measuring cup to add enough water to just cover the top of the turkey, leaving at least 5 to 6 inches of headspace at the top of the pot. Keep track of how much water you have added. Remove the turkey and the water from the pot. Pat the turkey and the pot very dry with paper towels. Transfer the turkey to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Into the now-dry pot, pour the same amount of oil as the water needed to cover the turkey in the previous step.
Using an outdoor burner, place the pot over high heat. Heat until a fryer thermometer reads 250 degrees. Carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil and continue heating until the thermometer reads 350 degrees. Reduce the heat, as needed, to maintain the oil at 350 degrees. Fry until a probe thermometer inserted into the breast reads 155 degrees, about 3 minutes per pound of turkey. Carefully remove the turkey from the hot oil and transfer to a carving board. Let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
Serve with all the fixings.
About the recipe
If you’ve never fried a turkey before, you’re in for a treat. This method yields tender meat and crisp, crackling skin, all in a matter of an hour or so.
Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt dissolves more easily than other brands in hot water. If you’re using a different brand, such as Morton’s, you may want to bring the salt, sugar and water to a low simmer to dissolve before adding the ice.
To get the most accurate measurement on the amount of oil you’ll need, place the turkey inside a 30-quart stockpot. Use a gallon-sized measuring cup to add enough water to just cover the top of the turkey, leaving at least 5 to 6 inches of headspace at the top of the pot. The amount of water needed will also be the amount of oil you’ll need in which to fry the turkey.