Heat oil in a large stockpot or turkey fryer to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Make sure the fryer is located outdoors in a safe area, preferably on dirt or pavement, and far away from buildings, wooden decks, or other objects. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.
Ensure that the turkey is completely thawed. Cut any extra skin away from the neck area and make sure neck hole is at least 1 inch in diameter. Pat the bird completely dry with paper towels, then rub liberally with salt and pepper on both the outside and the inside. Place turkey into a drain basket, neck-side first.
Working slowly and carefully, gently lower the basket into the hot oil to completely cover the turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 35 minutes.
Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F (80 degrees C). Allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.