6 quarts hot water
5 pounds ice
1 pound kosher salt
1 13- to14-pound turkey thoroughly thawed, giblets removed
1 pound dark brown sugar
4 to 4 1/4 gallons peanut oil
Brine the turkey: Put the hot water, salt, and brown sugar in a 5-gallon upright drink cooler and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Add the ice and stir until the mixture is cool.
Gently lower the turkey into the container. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure that it is fully immersed in the brine. Cover and set in a cool place for 8 to 16 hours.
Prepare a Turkey Derrick.
Fry the turkey: Insert the lifter spindle in the turkey cavity, legs up and wings/breast down. You may need to tie the wings in with cotton butcher’s twine to keep them from flopping out and getting caught on the pot edge.
In your kitchen sink, lower the turkey and spindle down into the empty pot you’ll be frying in and fill it with water, one gallon at a time, until the bird is just covered.
Remove the spindle and turkey, then mark the water fill level from the top edge of the pot so you know how much oil will be needed. Pour out the water and dry the pot thoroughly.
Out at your base of operations, clip the carabiner to the top of the lifter spindle, suspending the turkey about 30 inches above the burner surface.
Set the empty pot on the burner unit, attach the thermometer to the side of the pot, and fill with the peanut oil to the measured level; the thermometer tip must be immersed in the oil; do not overfill.
Following the instruction manual carefully, light the gas burner and adjust the gas and air flow; do not put a lid on the pot. Have a seat and wait for the oil to reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the oil reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit, untie the cord from the cleat and slowly lower the turkey into the hot oil; don’t hurry this. Quickly dropping the turkey in is dangerous, and it lowers the oil temperature dramatically, which is not good.
When the base of the lifter spindle touches the bottom of the pot, raise it 1 inch, and securely tie off the cord on the cleat.
Raise the burner heat to bring the oil up to 350°F, then set the timer for 30 minutes—and do not leave the pot.
Closely monitor the oil temperature: It will start to climb above 350 degrees as moisture cooks out of the turkey; reduce the gas flow accordingly to keep at 350 degrees. This is important. Letting the temp to go higher can result in a dangerous inferno.
After 30 minutes, untie the cord from the cleat, raise the turkey out of the oil, tie off the cord, and insert an instant-read meat thermometer.
The turkey will be ready to remove when the internal temp is 151 degrees Fahrenheit: Take a reading at the breast, thigh, and leg to be sure all parts of the bird have reached 151 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the turkey has reached 151 degrees, raise it well above the pot and securely tie off the cord at the cleat. Turn off the gas supply and put the lid on the pot.
Set the timer for 30 minutes and have a seat. Do not leave your base of operations; you want to defend your bird from hungry animals (and neighbors?), and it is still cooking.
Carryover heat will raise the temperature to an ideal 161 degrees—perfect golden doneness. Continue to keep everyone away even though the flames have been extinguished; the oil is still very hot.
When the turkey has reached 161°F, lower the turkey to rest upon the pot lid and unclip the carabiner from the spindle; hook a heavy coat hanger through the top of the spindle and lift the turkey away to a kitchen full of awestruck family and friends.
When the oil has cooled to below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the lid and filter the oil back into its original containers; it may be used once more. To dispose of the oil, take it to a local collection point for recycling as biodiesel fuel.