(Note: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation for reviewing this product and using it. All of these opinions are mine, and, believe me, I speak the truth.)
Finding ways to cook that make our lives easier is high on my priority list, especially during the holidays, like Thanksgiving. And, there are several pieces of equipment that we all cook with that generations of home cooks before us would give huge high fives wishing they’d had! Just think about the things you love most. For me, it’s my food processor, electric can opener and mixer! Of course, I love my ‘big bad wolf’ as in my Wolf range!
I’m introducing you to a new ‘toy’ of mine, ‘The Big Easy®’ from CharBroil. You’re gonna have to check out their oil-less turkey fryer . It really is a work of wonder. I mean it fries, but requires no oil, which translates into healthier and less expensive (no oil to buy!). It uses natural infrared heat that helps lock in the delicious flavors of whatever you’re cooking. When I unpacked the big box, the guys in my life gathered round like little boys. I mean what guy doesn’t love something to cook with in the great outdoors~a new toy! Already, the ideas for recipes start swirling in my head, but I know that CharBroil has lots already there for us.
Well, even without the directions, the gang was able in no time at all to intuitively put together the equipment. Had they not been there, I could easily have followed the directions, but why not let them in on the fun! One thing that immediately struck me looking at it was that ‘grills are manly looking’ but this big easy pot is sleek and sexxxxy!
Now, the BEST thing about this recipe and post is that YOU have a chance to win The Big Easy®! Yes, you heard me right! Just scroll down to the end of the post, and you’ll be able to enter! It’s part of the #EasyDoesItThanksgiving! May the Big Easy Force be with you! xxox ~ally
The next step for me was to ‘season’ this good-looking pot! It was simple, much like using a new cast iron skillet for the first time. Within about an hour, my Big Easy, hooked up to the 20-pound propane tank, was ready and rarin’ to go!
The way I wanted to approach this beauty was from our lifestyle. Ben and I are empty-nesters. A lot of our cooking is just for the two of us or small dinner parties. We no longer do corporate entertaining nor do we have the huge Thanksgiving gatherings of years ago where we would deep-fry, yes, the old fashioned way, three or four turkeys for 30+ guests. So I wanted to see if this gizmo would be the real deal for our small gather of four of us for dinner.
Since The Big Easy® is big, you may have the initial impression that you have to cook for an Army to use it. Totally not the case. Yes, it’s big, but it’s super easy. If you love your slow cooker or crock pot, then get ready to have one outdoors—that’s what this equipment is like.
It’s very simple. There’s a basket that goes into the cooker. You don’t have to use any oils for ‘frying’. That makes whatever you’re cooking healthier. I did use a quick coating of cooking spray on my chicken and vegetables along with a wonderful spice mixture from my cookbook, Ally’s Kitchen—A Passport for Adventurous Palates, and that’s it. You have the recipe for the photos you’re looking at here!
Almost like magic, you put your meat (or whatever you’re cooking—vegetables, pizza) in the basket. Turn the Big Easy on. Put the mesh lid on top. Then you walk away and do your thing. Mingle with your company, do a load or two of laundry, watch an episode of The Voice~you get the idea! You don’t need to worry about burning, overcooking, or having to turn and attend to what’s in that basket. Your only requirement is to estimate about how much time will be required, and that’s in the instruction book from Char Broil. There are specifics on checking for doneness and using the thermometer to take the internal temperature when it’s about ready. That’s all there is to it. Check the temperature of the meat you’re cooking, and you’re good to go. Now, with my veggies, I just pulled out the basket and used a 12″ wooden skewer to test for doneness.
The safety factors are great—no flames and you don’t have to get rid of used oil. You have to be careful, however, not to touch anything on the equipment once it heats up. So if there are kids around, be EXTRA careful—no touching at all and no getting near the Big Easy. But, this is the same precaution you’d take with most all outdoor grills and young children.
So was I able to achieve my goal of making The Big Easy® a piece of equipment that cooked a meal for only four people. Yes, it is doable and practical and so amazingly easy! However, I’m super excited to use it for our family’s annual ‘The Big Squeeze 2015’~just think ‘the big easy’ meets ‘the big squeeze’~you don’t want to miss reading about this family adventure that YOU can also do with your family!
Here are some of my suggestions that can make your first experience even more productive based upon what I’ve learned. I’m sure as I do more recipes, I’ll have more ideas!
- Have a long pair of tongs or long handled grilling fork ready and available. When you have just a few pieces of meat, it was easier for me to pull it out individually. Of course, you could dump the meat from the basket on to a plate/tray, but I preferred pulling each piece out individually.
- Use bone-in, skin on meat. I did chicken wings and then tried a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts. The breasts would have been moister with bone-in and skin on.
- Cook vegetables that require more time, like potatoes with your meat. I sliced my potatoes in halves.
- If you’re doing small lean veggies, like carrots, bundle together with cooking twine and cook with the meat. Don’t cut veggies into chunks/bite size pieces because they’ll slip through the basket. I sliced zucchini lengthwise in halves, left a peeled sweet onion whole, and used small 3-4” size corn on the cob pieces.
- Have some good (preferably long-neck type that come past your wrists) oven mitts with you anytime you’re dealing with removing the basket, etc.
The winners will be announced November 16, and their Big Easy Turkey Fryers will be shipped on November 18, so they will arrive in time for Thanksgiving. Official rules.