By Christie Vanover | Published November 5, 2015 | Last Updated April 10, 2023
Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Turkey Fryer Review. Learn how it fries a turkey and so much more without oil.Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition, but you know what? Traditions can change!
Disclosure: Char-Broil provided this product to Girls Can Grill at no cost, so I could test it and provide feedback to other grillers.
Just look back 20 years. You can probably picture mom in her holiday apron roasting the turkey in the oven for hours.
Fast forward 10 years…
The Cajun tradition of frying turkeys became more commonplace, because it’s faster and delivers a juicy bird with extra crispy skin. But it can be scary. This video is proof of what can go wrong.
What’s the newest (and much safer) Thanksgiving tradition?
Frying without oil in the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Turkey Fryer. You heard me right – oil-less. This video is more like it.
You’re probably asking yourself:
- How can you fry without oil?
- Will it be crispy?
- Will it be juicy?
- Will it be fast?
I had the same questions, and couldn’t wait to fire up the Big Easy to get them answered.
Assembly took about 15 minutes. Then, I hooked it up to a standard propane tank.
The next step is to season the “frying” chamber. You can do this the easy way by rubbing it down with oil and turning it on for a few minutes…or you can do this the fun way, by seasoning it with bacon.
My first test fry was a pork belly slab. I knew this would season the chamber nicely and would be a true test. Pork belly traditionally takes hours to cook. You want the pork meat nice and tender and the fat cap extra crispy.
I was pleasantly surprised when the Big Easy delivered just that. I plopped the pork belly in the fryer basket for 1 hour, and it was perfect. The TRU-Infrared technology radiated heat inside the chamber at just the right temperature, creating meat that was moist, juicy and crispy.
Before going Thanksgiving-style, I wanted to see if this could do an every day dish.
I’m tired of buying appliances that are one-trick-ponies. I like appliances that can be used year round for multiple cuisines.
I went south of the border and made oil-less fried fajitas. First, I roasted the peppers and onions in the fryer basket. Then, I added marinated flank steak. It took me an hour and a half because I only had the main fryer basket, but if you buy the extra rack insert, you can create a full fajita dinner without slaving over the stove in just over 30 minutes. Test two was a success.
For my next test, I wanted to see if I could create a Big Easy turkey deep fryer Thanksgiving for vegetarians. This was the easiest test yet.
I placed a whole acorn squash in the basket along with a stalk of Brussels sprouts that were drenched in lemon garlic butter. An hour later and dinner was ready. The sprouts were tender on the inside and extra crispy on the outside. The squash was perfectly soft and subtly sweet and only needed a sprinkle of salt.
The sprouts and squash can be carved as symbolically as a turkey, providing a stunning way to replace a turkey as the centerpiece.
After all of this pre-testing, it was time to give the turkey a go.
I bought a 14-pounder and rubbed it inside and out with some of my favorite rubs.
I fired it up in 3 steps:
- Turn on the propane tank
- Turn the dial to on
- Turn the ignition switch
Voila! It’s kicks on the first time every time.
After 5 minutes, I dropped the bird in the basket wings and breast side up. After 1 hour, the bird was starting to turn a gorgeous golden color. I went ahead and placed the topper on top to help brown the bird evenly. After 15 minutes, the color was there, so I removed the topper and finished cooking the bird until it reached 165F degrees. It only took 90 minutes to cook.
I tapped my fingernail on the skin and couldn’t believe how crispy and crunchy the skin sounded. Crispy question answered. But would it be juicy?
I pulled the basket out, wrapped it in foil and let the bird rest for about 30 minutes.
When it was time to carve the turkey, the juices were a flowin’. What a success!
It was so simple, very easy, way safer then a vat of oil, really fast and most importantly, delicious.
For the first time ever, I could also make gravy from fried turkey drippings. With oil-fried turkey, you have nothing but oil. But the Big Easy Turkey Fryer has a drip pan that collects the juices – and I mean a lot of juices. I had plenty of drippings for mashed potatoes, stuffing and the bird.
This looks amazing! I’d try your fajitas first, as I’ve yet to find tasty fajitas in New York. Then, of course, the turkey!
Thanks Emily. Best of luck!
Christie – for turkey, do you put butter under the skin or add any other oil?
No. I didn’t need to add any butter or oil. The turkey was perfectly juicy and crispy without it.
I’ve never heard of such a thing! WOW! Would love to give it a try!
It’s really fun to use Tiffany. Everything I tried turned out great. Good luck.
My favorite holiday! I’m a little biased since I’m a turkey baby. I love the fact that it’s so much more healthy than frying and that you can make so much more with it. I’m always looking for different ways to show my kiddo how to eat healthy and she loves grilled veggies. This would be awesome!
You’re such a great dad, Frank. Good luck.
Wow, you really put this through it’s paces! Everything looks great and that turkey looks spot on perfect!
This is fascinating! No oil….count me in!!!
You’ll love it Kim.
Hi Christie… Would love to try this. Also glad to see your blog. Very nice…
Thanks so much Beenoverthere. Happy grilling
Everything looks so good!! I love that you tested it different ways! Thanks for showing us this cool new toy!
I would make a fried turkey and chicken wings
You’ll love both in this fryer. The skin gets nice and crispy.
I’d start with bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeno kebabs!
Mmmm. That sounds like a great way to start.