By Christie Vanover | Published November 5, 2015 | Last Updated November 14, 2022
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.