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Char-Broil Big Easy TRU Infrared Smoker, Roaster, and Grill
on December 4, 2014
Most of what is being billed here is as-advertised, so I can at least say they are being honest about their product. I got the box from Amazon within the 2-day delivery my Prime membership promises. I was able to very easily put the fryer together with just a screwdriver in under 20 minutes. A couple days before my anticipated first cooking with the unit, I seasoned it by coating the inside barrell with peanut oil and turning on the fryer. I let it run top open until the oil was burned off and my pretty silver inside turned a nice bronze color.
A couple days later I tested out a whole chicken and the results were very positive. Skipping to the real reason for the purchase, I was cooking my first turkey alone on Thanksgiving with the entire family coming over with high expectations. I prepared the turkey by thawing, washing and drying it out. The afternoon before Thanksgiving, I dry-brined with a sea salt based mix (I don't believe in wet brining).
On Turkey day I took it out patted dry yet again and around 1030 AM began to cook it up. I coated the bird with peanut oil - important to know your oil burn temps, this thing does burn very hot. Olive oil is not really a great option for something like this. Then I used a sage, salt, pepper, etc. seasoning blend to coat the outside of the bird.
I turned on the propane and lit up the Big Easy, just laid the bird into the basket, breast up and lowered down in. I cooked with the top closed for about 35 min, then I left it open. The bird took almost exactly the 3 hours estimate using 10 min per pound to reach the proper temp (~ 165 degrees). I took out the backet and moved it - including bird - inside to a sheet, tented with foil and let sit for 15. I removed the bird from the basket easily which was surprising, I expect the parts that touched the basket to stick in a big way, but it didn't with a fork I could separate the bird from basket and not lose that prescious crispy skin. I then placed the bird on the serving plate, tented and let sit another 15 min on the table (see pic below). I then took the drippings tray out of the big easy (previously covered in foil for easy cleaning) and strained out the fat. I was left with quite a bit of very usable drippings for the gravy. I didn't have to use any water, broth or anything, there was way more drippings than I even needed.
My mom who has been cooking the turkeys for over 30 years annually, went as far as to say she's putting a turkey in the car from now on just in case she stops over some day. This was the "best turkey" we've had in years, maybe ever. It was unanimous at the table.
The inside was juicy (not watery like you get with wet brining), the skin was crizpy and delicious, not to mention fought over.
The Big Easy lived up to the billing. Later that night, it took me less than 20 min to clean it and be done. No muss, no fuss and the kitchen and oven was free for everything else. No waiting for "when will the turkey be ready I need to put in the green bean casserole..." type stuff.
It's not a smoker, it's truly a "hybrid" and I'm skeptical of hybrids but this one, does the job as advertised. No it won't replace your smoker or even your gass/charcoal grill. It won't do those things as well as they do, but it does have a nice niche and met all my expectations.
I rated 4 out of 5 stars because honestly, it feels right. As a hybrid the unit isn't perfect, there are limitations and drawbacks to what this fryer will do, but if you keep your expectations reasonable, I can't see how you won't be very happy with your purchase, I certainly have no regrets.