Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes
Remove from heat, then transfer to a medium bowl
Add the popcorn kernels, garlic, thyme sprigs, and 1 teaspoon of salt
Cover and let stand at room temp for 24 to 48 hours
Drain the kernels though a fine sieve, reserving the oil - discarding the garlic and thyme
Take 3 tablespoons of the oil and add it with the kernels to a large pan with a lid (preferably a whirly pop)
Heat over high heat, lid on, for about 4 minutes, shaking the pan, or turning the whirly pop handle, continuously.
Pop the corn until the popping slow down to 2 or 3 pops every few seconds.
Remove from heat and leave for 2 or 3 minutes until the popping stops.
Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl, and add the remaining salt, black pepper, garlic powder, fresh thyme, and 5 tablespoons of the remaining oil.
Stir carefully until well blended.
Serve immediately or allow to cool