Woke up early the next morning to let the bird thaw to room temperature. I read somewhere that doing this prevents uneven cooking. I was concerned with bacteria from leaving the turkey out to thaw the day before, refrigerating, and then leaving it out again 8 hours later, but I was more concerned with making an under/overcooked, dry, flavorless turkey on my first attempt with the in-laws there to bear witness. I figured the hot grease would kill anything bad, so I decided the benefits outweighed the risks. You may feel differently, and I wouldn't blame you if you did. After 5-6 hours of thawing, I put the bird in the fryer (SWMBO found a swanky butterball indoor turkey deep fryer on sale at Costco for $120. I recommend it because frying outside in the cold WHOMPS!). Since I've never fried indoors, I took extra precautions and made sure the cooking area was well ventilated, had a smoke detector/fire alarm nearby as well as an extinguisher. Here is the turkey as I lower into the grease and mid-fry.
I had an 18 pound turkey & did 3 mins per pound expecting it to be around 155-160 when done and come up to 165-170 while draining/resting. However, I forgot to subtract the weight of the giblets and turkey neck. When I pulled the turkey out and checked its temperature, it was at 167! It still turned out well, but if I had left it in any longer it could have overcooked. It's a mistake I won't make next time, and hopefully you guys learn from it. Below is fresh out the grease and on the table as we were setting it.
SWMBO & the in-laws LOVED the turkey. They raved about how juicy and flavorful it was, especially the white meat (which is why I injected because white meat can be bland sometimes despite the rub). Not bad for a first attempt. My new fryer and I will have plenty of time to practice and perfect between now and next thanksgiving. So it should be 20Xs better next year! 😃