Deep-Fried Turkey Brined in Cayenne and Brown Sugar

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Cooking a deep-fried a turkey for Thanksgiving isn't as hard as it sounds (though it does require caution). And there's a great payoff: an exquisitely moist, crispy turkey. You can use different kinds of equipment: a stockpot, an electric fryer, a pot-and-propane setup, or a deep-fryer. The best deep fryers come with a thermostat and a metal basket for lowering the turkey into the hot oil and removing it once it's done. Whatever equipment you use, the procedure is the same: Heat the oil—it can take up to an hour—then slowly lower the turkey into it. A 12-pound turkey cooks in just 36 minutes following the timing of 3 minutes of frying per pound or turkey.  Related: Amazon’s Secret Outlet Dropped 4,000+ Kitchen Sales Before Black Friday, but These Are the 15 Best

Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs
Yield:
10, with leftovers

Ingredients

  • 3 cups packed light brown sugar (about 1 1/4 pounds)

  • 1 ½ cups Dijon mustard

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

  • 2 gallons cold water

  • 1 bunch of thyme

  • 1 head of garlic (separated into cloves and crushed)

  • 12 pound turkey

  • 2 ½ gallons vegetable oil

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot, whisk the brown sugar with the mustard, salt and cayenne. Gradually whisk in the water, then add the thyme and garlic. Add the turkey, cover and brine in the refrigerator for 35 hours.

  2. In a turkey fryer or an 18-quart or larger stockpot, bring the oil to 400°; this can take up to an hour. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels. Transfer the turkey to a frying basket, breast side up.

  3. Lower the turkey into the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes per pound, 36 minutes. Lift the basket out of the fryer and drain the turkey on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

    Deep Fried Turkey Brined in Cayenne and Brown Sugar
    Petrina Tinslay

Suggested Pairing

Rich, robust Zinfandel: 2019 Robert Biale Black Chicken Zinfandel

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