Basic Fried Turkey Tips

Big Easy Fried Turkey Tips
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It’s no secret that fried foods taste really, REALLY good! Deep frying a turkey is a popular method that can be fraught with perils, though. Hot oil can splash and burn skin and hands, boil over and catch fire and in general is a risky cooking method.

But sometimes, simplicity goes a long way. There are many variations of fried turkey that can be prepared using The Big Easy® Oil-Less Turkey Fryer by Char-Broil®, but we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to do much more than prep, cook and serve to get masterful — and quick — results.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • You can – and should – absolutely consider brining your Big Easy-bound bird to ensure it’s as moist as it is delicious.
  • Since it is not recommended to place stuffing inside the cavity of the turkey, we recommend some aromatics – things like herbs, onion, garlic and lemon – to enhance your flavor profile.

Make sure you place your cooker in a level spot away from wind or other adverse weather.

How to Brine a Turkey 

Two days before your big dinner make sure the turkey is either thawing (if frozen) or thawed and begin the brine process one day before. It seems most everyone agrees that brining the turkey is a great idea. If you like, you can also boost flavors by injecting the bird before you cook – but that doesn’t add moisture the way brining does.  Follow these directions for a basic turkey brine to get a tender and flavorful turkey.

The Argument of Stuffing the Turkey 

Garlic, onion, citrus, and fresh herbs add great flavor to a fried turkey.

Although it might be tempting to stuff the cavity of the turkey with your favorite edibles, you won’t want to if you are frying your turkey.  The stuffing will keep the turkey from cooking evenly, making the inner meat underdone and the outer meat dry.  Try making a baked stuffing recipe instead.  To take advantage of the turkey cavity, try adding a few smaller aromatics such as lemon or orange slices and sprigs of fresh rosemary.  These are light enough to not affect the cook time of the turkey, but can still provide tons of savory flavor.


How to a Get Crispy Fried Turkey 

There’s nothing better than crispy, brown skin crusting the outside of your juicy, fried turkey.  There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re hoping to get that perfectly crispy.

  • Make sure the turkey has sufficiently dried after brining.  Use paper towels to pat the skin dry and then allow the turkey to rest in the fridge for a few hours to let some of that moisture escape.  The drier the meat, the faster the skin will heat up to create a crispy coating.
  • Lather the bird in either butter or olive oil just before cooking.
Basic Fried Turkey Recipe

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

From my experience I think the 12lb size bird is perfect for cooking in The Big Easy. Based upon the feedback and comments posted in The Big Easy Users Forum - I'll pass along some thoughts on how you might go about ensuring your holiday dinner is a success (well, at least as far as the birds are concerned!) in The Big Easy or Big Easy Smoker, Roaster, Grill.


  • 1 whole turkey 12 - 13 lb is a good size
  • Spice rub if you like
  • Aromatics like herbs, onions and/or citrus


  1. The day of your meal, make sure your cooker is on a level area that is located in a place that is out of the wind because that only causes problems.
  2. I find it helps to wipe the cooking basket with a paper towel that I've lightly coated with vegetable oil to help prevent the minor sticking that can occur. I'd leave the bird out after rinsing so they achieve room temperature before cooking.
  3. You won't need to baste while cooking and be sure to avoid any rubs or sauces with sugars on the outside of the bird, these will caramelize and then burn long before the bird is done.
  4. Place the bird - breast up - in the cooking basket and place the basket in the cooker. Turn it on.
  5. At 12 pounds it should take about 90+ minutes to cook to just under 10 degrees from the target temp. I use the handle to lift the basket and set it on a baking sheet whilst I probe various parts with an instant read thermometer. Do also use the meat thermometer provided - or one you prefer - to remain in the bird when cooking. 
  6. To remove the bird lift the basket and unceremoniously 'dump' the bird into a holding tray and use your hands to bet the back down and breast up - cover the bird with aluminum foil making sure to seal the edges of the tray, and then place a couple of towels on top to serve as additional insulation. It's gonna keep cooking, retain all the moisture sealed in by the infrared 'searing' and be juicy and tasty.
  7. I'd recommend you present this bird and then go to the kitchen to carve it... unless you are a virtuoso at bird carving, do it in the confines of the kitchen and make a lovely presentation on a platter.

70 thoughts on “Basic Fried Turkey Tips

    1. Brad,

      You would cook a turkey breast the same way you cook any other large cut of meat in the Big Easy. I suggest you brine the breast overnight with our Pinch Of Sizzle Smokin’ Brine ( then apply your favorite rub (a rub with low sugar content works best as it won’t burn). Drop the breast into the basket and just lower it down into the Big Easy cooking chamber. Cook time should be about 10 minutes a pound. You want to cook the breast to at least 165 F internal temp and then pull it out and let it rest for around 15-20 minutes before slicing. I hope this helps!


  1. I have cooked one turkey breast in the Big Easy and it turned out wonderfully moist and juicy. Is it possible to cook two 7 lb turkey breasts at one time in the Big Easy? If so, would I use the same 10/lb recommendation? Thanks in advance for your help[.

    1. Kathy – yes, you can cook two turkey breasts, back-bone to back-bone may be a good way to do it. Use a trusted and accurate meat thermometer in each to ensure you know how they are cooking. Starting temperature should be about 40F-42F degrees, completely thawed. For more help with various ideas about preparing food in The Big Easy — head over to the Char-Broil LIVE Community Forums, a link is at the top of the page. Head to the Char-Broil Products Forums and click on Char-Broil TRU-Infrared. You’ll find all the products, including The Big Easy line of outdoor cookers, listed there.

      LOTSA ideas!

      Welcome to the Cookout!
      Barry ‘CB’ Martin

    2. I will have disagree with the comment about cooking two turkey breasts at one time. I have done this and the turkeys will sit against each and those parts of the turkeys will not cook properly.

  2. You mentioned cooking the turkey in a basket, what is it and were could I get one? Thank you in advance.

    1. Kevin – all of The Big Easy line of cooker come with a cooking basket as standard equipment – this basket is used to hold cuts of meat and move them in and out of the cooking chamber of the cooker. Do you have a Big Easy? It should have come with the cooker.

    1. JR – the answer is a qualified “Yes” with a modifier of “BUT” Depends upon what you want the final product to look like. The cooker use infrared to generate heat on the surface of the food – so it is a wonderful way to cook and oyster or clam – but the process/results may not be exactly as you get in an oven or standard gas/charcoal grill…

      I urge you to check out the Community Forums (link at the top of the page) and review all of the posted conversation threads on The Big Easy cookers – many of which are on this subject. You can use the search box to find the topic. OR register and post your own question – chances are another member has the same question or has some experience they might share to help you.

      Hope this helps! Barry ‘CB’ Martin

    1. I just did a 20# turkey but spatchcocked it so it would fit….there was plenty of room in the basket.

  3. I am going to cook my bird this year in the big easy. My bird is a bit toward the 18lb mark. Its a bit snug but it slides down in the basket. Will I be ok? Im not worried about some minor sticking. The bird will get cut before it reaches the table. So it dont need to be a masterpiece

    1. You should be okay, just make sure you cook it to an internal temperature of 165F. In my experience, anything larger than 16 pounds in the big easy may take a bit longer too cook. You may want to cook with the lid off so that the top of the turkey doesn’t burn if you have a bird that size.


      1. You should be fine. My only concern would be getting the cooked bird out of the basket. That can be tricky even with a smaller turkey and one that large might be a challenge.

  4. Im cooking a 7 lb turkey brest, when should I inject the meat before I cook it? Ie how long should the turkey marinate before I cook it in the big easy inferred fryer?

    1. I would say 3-4 hrs all the way to around 12. It really depends on how much time you have. I would be lying if I said that I can tell the difference in the way a turkey breast tastes it it’s been marinated over night or just a few hours. Of course the long it sits in the marinade, the more flavor that marinade will impart into the meat. I hope that answers your question.

      Thanks!- Michael

  5. Can anyone please tell what is the best setting on Big Easy smoker /grill to smoke a Turkey. I know 165 is safe, but what power level is bast, it has 1-15?? like power level 7 for 6 hours or until 165? Any help please

    1. You will want to cook your turkey around a power level 13-15 in the Electric Big Easy Smoker Roaster Grill.

      Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. If you are cooking your turkey in the Big Easy, it should come out really juicy without marinating it. If you want to add some additional flavor though, marinating might be the way to go.

      Thanks –

  6. Can you cook a bigger bird (22 lbs.) without the basket ( putting the turkey directly into the cooker)?

    1. Rusty –

      DO NOT cook your turkey without the basket. If you put the turkey directly into the cooking chamber, it will scorch the outside of the bird and more than likely stick to the cooking chamber. You will also have a hard time trying to get the turkey out. A 22 pound turkey should fit in the basket of the Big Easy Smoker Roaster Grill without a problem, but will not fit in the Big Easy Oil-less fryer though. Hope this helps!


  7. Can The Big easy cook an 18 lbs Turkey? if not why? Its fits in the basket and it’s not popping over it.. lol
    Thanks from Peoria IL…

    1. Peoria – We recommend a 16 pound or less turkey to cook in the Big Easy for the best results, but if it fits in the basket, give it a shot! You may want to tuck the wings in so they do not burn though. Just make sure to cook it to an internal temperature of 165F and you should be good to go!


    1. Around 10 minutes a pound is where you should start so around 2.5 hrs should do the trick. It may cook quicker or slower based on outside temperatures though. Hope this helps!


    1. Jason – We don’t recommend stuffing your turkey in the Big Easy. The stuffing may not reach the temperature for food safety before the bird does. Also, when you stuff a turkey with bread based stuffing, it acts as a sponge and pulls all of the moisture out of the turkey. I hope this helps to answer your question.


  8. My Turkey cooks the top first. The bottom is never done at the same time.
    I tried leaving cover off of my oil-less fryer, still not good. Don’t know if the heat is to high or what. Can you help me.

  9. How do you make gravy when you use the Big Easy. Most gravy recipes recommend using pan drippings. Can you use the drippings from the drip pan to make gravy? If not, what to most people do?

    1. Garthurd – Juices and drippings can be taken directly from the Easy-Out Drip Pans and added to the rest of the ingredients needed for making gravy. It would be similar to using pan drippings. – Dustin

  10. Hi and Happy Thanksgiving. My husband is opening our new Big East infared turkey fryer. I’m bummed out because the instruction manual has not one page in English.

    I’m trying to download and cannot find what I’m looking for. I’m cooking 2 separate turkeys at around 9.6 lbs each. How long and at what temp do you cook a turkey this size??

    Thank you for your anticipated response


    1. Joanne- I’m sorry you did not receive the proper instructions. Below, I have included the links to your English instructions, and the cooking guide. The Big Easy is set for the ideal temperature. You can reference the cooking guide, but I would cook turkey on high for 11-13 minutes per pound. When it is finished, the internal temperature will be 165 degrees at its thickest point. Best of luck preparing the meal, and have a Happy Thanksgiving! -Neil

    1. Raymond – When using a gas Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer we recommend keeping the control knob turned all of the way on so that you are able to get the best gas flow and performance from your Big Easy. If you have any questions about cooking please give us a call at 1-800-241-7548 and one of our knowledgeable grill service specialists will be more than happy to best assist. – Dustin

  11. Ok soo i have been cooking my 13 lbs turkey since 11am and its almost 3pm but the turkey still isnt done. Its a new big easy just bouggt so is the propane tank. Wind is maybe 4-5 mph on and off and weather is 37 degrees why is it taking so long?

  12. Im not happy took me 4 1/2 hours for a 13lbs turkey and turkey still wasnt fully cooked but i got tired of waiting so i microwaved it for few minutes.

    1. David – I’m sorry to hear of the long cook time with your Big Easy. We value you as a Char-Broil customer and want to make sure that you are able to take advantage of everything your Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer has to offer. Cold temperatures can affect the performance of the Big Easy, but it should not have extended the cook time that long. It sounds like this may have been a low flow issue. A low flow can occur if the Big Easy has been turned on or off incorrectly. This can normally be resolved by resetting the regulator. Please follow this link for more information on low flow ( or give us a call at 1-800-241-7548 and one of our knowledgeable grill service specialists will be more than happy to best assist. – Dustin

  13. Thank you dustin i have tried it and i think the flame is double the size now then it was yesterday. I will try to use it again for christmas . Thanks again for your help

  14. I put my turkey in head 1st & it’s been in now for 2hrs. I read where it should have been put in tail 1st instead. Will this change the cook time or effect how it’s cooked?

    1. Joe – It should not be effected too much. Just be sure to check the internal temperature of the turkey in a few areas to see if it’s cooked thoroughly all of the way through. – Mandy

  15. Using the Char-Broil® Big Easy I’ve seen some people saying that you should put a turkey in breast side DOWN, because the heat rises, and you want the leg / thigh cooked more than the breast. All the official instructions I’ve seen say the opposite (breast UP).
    I’m worried I’m going to overcook the breast and have undercooked legs; should I flip the turkey half way thru? I’m doing a 14 lb turkey?
    Thanks for any help!

    1. Alan – We’re sorry to hear about the confusion. For the best results we recommend placing your turkey in the Big Easy to where the breast is facing up. The turkey should cook for about eight to ten minutes per pound, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The turkey shouldn’t need to be flipped, but if you’re concerned about even cooking a digital meat thermometer can be used to check everything. Please give us a call at 1-800-241-7548 for more information. – Dustin

  16. No where can I find the propane temperature to cook my turkey. Should it be turned to low, medium or high?? Thank you for your answer.

  17. I have used the Big Easy the lest 2 years, and the results have been wonderful. I just need a refresher.

    Do you place the wire mesh lid on at the beginning or do you wait until the last 15 minutes or so?

    Thank you and “Happy Thanksgiving?

  18. When cooking the bird; how high should the heat be when cooking? Full flame or in the middle, etc …

  19. Should I put the lid on when cooking a turkey? What does the previous post about a wire mesh lid mean? Is that the grilling disc?

    1. If you have The Big Easy® Oil-less Turkey Fryer, it comes with a wire mesh lid that sits on top of the cooker. In extreme temperatures, you’ll want to cook with the lid on so that the heat is trapped inside the cooker. Otherwise, you will want to cook without the lid. You can add the lid during the last leg of the cook to add extra color and crisp to the meat.

  20. Hi, I was wondering if cooking a 12-pound turkey …or…. a couple of chickens at he same time, how long for the chickens and how long for the turkey. I would be cooking separately of course. I have teh big easy smoker and griller 2 electric

    1. For The Big Easy® Electric 2-in-1 Smoker, cook times will vary depending on outdoor weather conditions and selected Power Level, but generally you can expect 10 to 15 minutes per pound of turkey and 15 to 20 minutes per pound of chicken (it should not matter if you have one or two chickens) and 35 to 40 minutes per pound of pork or beef roast.

  21. Can you use the dripping from the bird for adding to stuffing? Even though the manual said no? If that is true, why not? I love me some turkey juices 🙂

    1. Hi Ana, you can use drippings from the turkey in your stuffing, however we do not recommend putting the stuffing in the turkey as it will prevent the turkey from cooking evenly.

  22. Your manual says not to use the dripping from the drip pan!? I got little tin pans to catch the drippings. The information is conflicting. Also cooking a turkey in the winter sounds time consuming…….how much more time is it going to take on a cold day versus hot one?

    1. Hi Tammy, you do not want to use the drippings from the grease tray, but you can use the drippings that collect in the included foil tray liner. For cooking a turkey on a cold day versus a hot one, you may find yourself using more gas and having a few added minutes of cooking, but keeping the top cover on your fryer will help retain heat.

  23. This is my first time with a turkey. I am not sure where to set the heat control. On high or preheat to a specific temperature?

    1. Hi Tom, if you are cooking with the Big Easy, the main setting is to set the dial between medium and high, where the turkey will cook evenly based on the 10-15 minute per pound rule. You want to cook the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F.

    1. Hi Michele, our Chicken Legs Rack for The Big Easy can be used to cook turkey wings as well. You can finds this item here.

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