We try to stay on the healthier side when we cook, so I had never seriously considered deep frying a turkey, although I had tasted it before at a friend’s house. I was intrigued by the “oil-less” part of this turkey fryer. It turns out, the Big Easy uses a special heating chamber to create what they call “TRU-Infrared” heat. You get results and flavor similar to deep frying, but without any oil, so it’s much healthier.
Since we needed a way to cook our turkey and the price wasn’t too outrageous (under $100 on Amazon), I ordered one with two-day shipping. It arrived on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, just in time.
The first thing I noticed was it was larger and heavier than I thought it would be. It weighs about 30 lbs and is around 25 inches tall. It took about 15 minutes to unbox it and put everything together. Assembly was simple, requiring me to install the legs, handles, and propane hose.
The cooking chamber is a big stainless steel pot with a hole in the bottom. This chamber sits inside the larger black heating chamber. According to the directions, the cooking chamber needs to be seasoned prior to first use, just like a cast iron dutch oven. I used my favorite cast-iron seasoning oil, flax seed oil, and rubbed a light coat all over the inside of the cooking chamber. Then I hooked up the propane and turned it on for 15 minutes or so. The cooking chamber developed a nice golden brown coloring. All set for cooking the big turkey.
Thursday morning came along and it was time to give this thing a try. I had brined the turkey using a solution of water and kosher salt in a 5-gallon bucket overnight. Then I rubbed it down with a little olive oil and a dry rub of smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. The Big Easy comes with a meat thermometer, so I placed that in the breast and put the turkey in the cooking rack standing on end, breast-side up.
The Big Easy cooks things faster than a conventional oven, recommending about 10 minutes per pound for a turkey. Although the specifications for the Big Easy say it can cook up to a 16 lb turkey, I had a 17.5 lb turkey and it fit just fine. I started cooking 3 hours prior to our target dinner time.
It cooked right on target at 10 minutes per pound and was ready to take out after 170 minutes. This turkey looked perfect, a nice crisp dark golden brown. The smell was amazing, perfect roasted goodness. I pulled the turkey out on with the rack and set it aside to sit for about 20 minutes before carving it up. In the meantime, I used the juices (there’s a drip pan under the Big Easy) to make a nice gravy.
When I finally carved into the bird, it was cooked perfectly. Nice, moist, juicy meat, with a crispy skin. It tasted very close to a deep fried turkey, but wasn’t greasy and oily. This was a big hit at our table and we’ll be cooking our turkeys this way from now on.
We are looking forward to cooking other things in the Big Easy as well. It can cook 1 or 2 chickens at a time, beef and pork roast, potatoes, wings, and anything else you can think of. There’s an accessory kit that allows you to cook even more things which we’re planning to get as we use it more and more.