Video Review: Delightful Misuse of the Char-Broil Oil-Less Turkey Deep Fryer

roasted chicken
Deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey is popular for a reason – it happens to be the same reason that Lipitor is popular, but that’s beside the point.  Unfortunately, every year, 10 million* Americans start house fires from attempting to fry their bird.  And in addition to the arson hazard, deep frying a turkey requires a ton of oil, which, let’s face it, you’re not going to filter and reuse.

Luckily, the folks at Char-Broil have created The Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Deep Fryer, and were kind enough to loan me a unit for testing.  This cooker looks and works just like a conventional turkey fryer, except it uses no oil.  Instead, a ring of gas burners heat up the inside of the cooking chamber, roasting your meat evenly and allowing the fat to drip down, with no risk of flame-ups. 

Rather than test the machine with a turkey, though, I thought I’d try out a few other dishes.  Check out my video review after the jump.

Deep Fried Sous Vide Egg Yolks

If sous vide eggs had been invented two thousand years ago, there would have been entire books of The Bible dedicated to their praise.  But at the last meeting of the Jet City Gastrophysics, we took a giant leap forward.  You see, the beauty of a sous vide egg lies in it’s exquisite texture.  After about an hour in the water bath, the yolks become buttery with nearly the texture of pudding.  The only way to improve on this amazing transformation is to add a crunchy shell. 

Makes: 6 pieces
Total kitchen time: 90 minutes (30 minutes active time)

Special equipment: sous vide heating immersion circulator

Shopping list:

  • 6 + 1 organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • canola oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. black truffle salt
  • 1 tbsp. fine lemon zest (optional)
  1. Cook 6 eggs (reserving one) sous vide at 64.5°C for 60 minutes.  Let the eggs cool in a bowl of tepid water for 10 minutes.
  2. Turn on the faucet to very low. Working one by one, carefully crack a cooked egg into your hand, and let the white drip away under the water.  Set the yolks aside.
  3. Heat about 1.5 inches of canola oil in a small saucepan until it reaches 360°F (make sure the temp doesn’t exceed 370°F).
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flower, baking powder and sea salt.  In a second bowl, whisk the remaining (uncooked) egg.  Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate.
  5. Gently roll each yolk in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg wash, then roll in breadcrumbs.
  6. Fry each yolk for about 30 seconds, or until lightly golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel, then sprinkle with black truffle salt and lemon zest.

These fried eggs make excellent tapas, particularly if your guests aren’t expecting what’s inside.  Perhaps in another thousand or two years, we’ll discover something even more delicious.

Popchips Un-Fried Chicken Wings

You’ve just gotta  love chicken wings.  Whether served with a pitcher of beer or a glass of milk, there’s something very satisfying about sucking tasty, tender meat off of a tiny bone.  But, the best part of chicken wings are, of course, the crispy batter and finger-licking flavors.  Rather than break out the deep fryer, why not add your crunchy crust from a bag of chips?  I’ve found that Popchips, with their hearty crunch and all-natural ingredients, are a great choice.  The beauty of this recipe, though, is that you can make wings of all flavors (barbecue, sour cream and onion, cheddar, parmesan garlic, etc.) just by using a different flavor of chips!

Makes: 8 crispy wings (or 4 big drumsticks, or 2 breaded chicken breasts)
Total kitchen time: 25 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 8 all-natural chicken drumettes (you can substitute 4 regular drumsticks, 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 bags Popchips (you choose the flavor!)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the skin from your chicken pieces and discard it.  As you de-skin-ify the chicken, drop it in the buttermilk to soak. 
  4. Arrange the skinless, buttermilk-basted chicken pieces on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.  (If using larger drumsticks or chicken breasts, check for doneness by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.  It should read 160°F.)
  5. Crush the Popchips onto a large plate and spread in an even layer.  You can either crush them by hand, or pulse them a few times in the food processor.  Drizzle the cooked chicken with honey, coating all sides.  Roll each chicken piece in the crumbled Popchips until fully coated.

Of course, we can’t talk about chicken wings without mentioning sauce.  This is a highly personal topic – some people swear by ranch, blue cheese, ketchup, hot sauce… whatever.  For me, a slow-cooked red onion marmalade hit the spot!

Full Disclosure: I got free stuff, but that doesn’t pay for my opinion.