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Turkey Cooking Options

There is more than one way to cook a turkey and these are just a few


There are many ways of cooking the holiday turkey other than firing up the oven. These methods have more flavor and produce a better turkey in my opinion. This list is an example of all the different types of turkey cookers (they cook other things as well). Of course grills and smokers produce great turkeys, but for those who want to try something unique, these are the cookers to look at.

The Orion Cooker

Orion Cooker
Orion Cooker
Describing what The Orion Cooker is may be the most difficult thing about it. Basically this is a charcoal fired roasting oven. The completely enclosed cooking chamber completely separates the flame from the food. This does not mean that you can not add smoke flavor and it does not mean that this is no better than your oven at cooking everything from racks of ribs (8 at a time) to whole turkeys. This is a great "cooker" for large meals, tailgating and for getting foods cooked quickly (a 20 pound turkey in 2 1/2 hours). So while not a grill or a smoker, it is definitely a good cooker.

Char-Broil's The Big Easy Oil-less Infrared Turkey Fryer

Char-Broil The Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer
Char-Broil LLC.
We all know that turkey frying can be dangerous. Char-Broil has developed a way to make it not only safer, but cheaper and easier. The Big Easy is a propane powered infrared roaster oven that gives you foods that look and taste very much like they were fried. I believe that the true versatility of this unit has yet to be discovered. Anything you can lower into the cooking chamber can be cooked quickly (turkey at about 10 minutes a pound). This unit won't grill steaks or burgers but any whole poultry, roasts and other larger cuts of meat are perfect. All in all I have to say that this little cooker is very impressive.

North American Outdoors 35-Quart Aluminum Saf-T-Fryer

North American Outdoors 35-Quart Aluminum Saf-T-Fryer
North American Outdoors
Frying turkeys can be dangerous business no matter what you do. This doesn't mean that you need to give it up completely. For most people once you've tried deep fried turkey you don't want to go back. The Saf-T-Fryer is what you get when you give the list of risks to a team of engineers. This unit takes virtually all the risk out of frying a turkey (provided that you follow the instructions). With everything you need to fry a turkey (except the oil) this unit is the complete solution that provides many great safety features. If you really want to fry a turkey the traditional way, this is the unit for you.

Bayou Classic 30-Quart Outdoor Turkey Fryer Model# 3016

Bayou Classic 30-Quart Outdoor Turkey Fryer Model# 3016
Barbour International Inc.
This is about as basic a turkey fryer set up as you can buy. It is also about as inexpensive a turkey fryer as you can buy. In fact the oil and the turkey will probably cost you more than this set up. On the other hand, this turkey fryer has no safety features for what can be a dangerous cooking process. If you are careful and know what you are doing then this is a cheap way to go. If you have doubts then you might want to look into a safer piece of equipment.

Butterball Oil-Free Electric Turkey Fryer

Butterball Oil-Free Electric Turkey Fryer
Since deep frying a turkey in hot oil has developed a reputation for being dangerous (and delicious) a few people have been thinking of ways of doing it with out the oil. The solution is to create an enclosed chamber, heated from the outside, to roast a turkey at high temperatures. This is one of these cookers. This "fryer" is basically a small, electric oven that cooks a turkey at around 10 minutes a pound (two hours for a 12 pound turkey). While it can do that, it really can't reproduce the flavor of a real deep fried turkey. You can add wood chips to get a little smoke flavor however.

Masterbuilt Butterball Professional Series Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer

Masterbuilt Butterball Professional Series Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer Model #20010109
Basically this is a large fryer designed to hold up to a 14 pound turkey in a specially designed (turkey shaped) frying chamber. Like other modern fryers this unit is thermostatically controlled and has a built in timer so you can tell it how long you want to cook. The interior frying chamber is molded to fit a turkey so you don't need to use a lot of extra oil to fry the bird. The advantage is that you get a unit that is about as small as you can make it and still hold a 14 pound bird. On the down side this means that the reheat time is longer once you put the turkey in the oil.
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