Fried turkey is the answer to a Thankgiving under the gun. There is no need to wake up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven. Let that bird brine for 36 hours then pop it in a cauldron of hot fat (outside, of course). And you've got turkey on the table in under 2 hours. It's not just any turkey. It has juicy meat all over, even the breasts. Don't feel guilty about the frying, you probably only eat turkey once a year. Serve it with a healthy array of sides if that makes you feel better. You'll need to invest in an outdoor turkey frying kit.
Reprinted with permission from Southern Comfort by Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Place the turkey in a large food-safe plastic bag inside of an ice chest large enough to contain it. To make the brine, in a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, mustard, salt, and cayenne until smooth. Gradually whisk in the water, followed by the thyme and garlic and pour around the turkey in the plastic bag, submerging the turkey in the brine. Tie the bag closed, pack the cooler the rest of the way with ice, and brine for 24 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. Transfer the bird, breast-side up, to a turkey frying basket.
Place the turkey in the frying basket in a 30-quart stockpot and add enough oil to barely cover the bird. Remove the turkey (in the frying basket) from the stockpot and bring the oil to 400 degrees; this can take up to 1 hour.
Carefully lower the turkey into the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes per pound, about 30 minutes. Lift the turkey in the basket from the fryer and drain over a draining rack.