A turkey fryer has never really sounded like a safe way to cook—there’s just something inherently stupid about the act of dropping a dead bird the size of a basketball into a vat of boiling oil, no matter how tasty the outcome. According to TheStreet.com, “Turkey fryers are a known cause of many fires, so much so that the National Fire Protection Association advises against their use.” TheStreet test-drives an alternative, the $129 Char-Broil Big Easy oil-less fryer, which Char-Broil describes as “Just like a turkey fryer, minus the boiling, hot oil and visits from your local firefighters.” According to TheStreet, it doesn’t leave the skin as crispy as a real fryer would, but otherwise works great.
The double-walled cooking chamber’s construction supposedly creates an environment in which the heat “penetrates” the turkey evenly, resulting in a quick cooking time and a bird with crispy skin and moist meat — in other words, exactly what you’d expect from a fryer.
[The oil-less fryer] does live up to its promises in terms of the incredibly speedy cooking time (I did a 10-pound bird in less than an hour, which may even be faster than a fryer) and the seal-in-all-the-juicy-goodness factor (this bird oozed its essential turkey-ness with every slice of the knife).
For $80, there’s also the Orion Holiday Turkey Cooker/Smoker, which uses charcoal, but TheStreet.com clearly places it a distant second (we’re not even sure they tested it).