Deep Fried Turkey Without Oil1

Do you know the difference between youth and maturity? It’s how you feel about Thanksgiving. As a child, Thanksgiving was the worst. It was that bastardized holiday between Halloween and Christmas. You had to get dressed up, but not in fun costumes. Instead, itchy sweaters, shirts with collars and uncomfortable shoes. And nobody gave you any candy or presents. No, it was just a big meal with dry turkey. Sure, there’s lots of desserts, but for the most part they consist of pumpkin or pecan pies. The first is a funny orange color and how can a nut be made into a pie?

As an adult, I LOVE it! I don’t have to shell out a bunch of money on costumes, candy, or presents. I don’t mind getting dressed up. In fact, I sort of like it. There’s not just two football games anymore, now there are three! Did I mention that the food and wine are outstanding? Even the funny colored orange pie. Particularly if I’m making the turkey.  We haven’t done a turkey in the oven in close to two decades. We always make one outside on Thanksgiving. We’ve grilled the turkey, deep fried the turkey and now we do a little bit of both. We use this ingenious little device from Char-Broil to do deep fried turkey without all the pesky oil, potential deck fires and third degree burns. Also, not only is this low fat compared to a deep fried turkey, it’s also naturally low carb. And low carb is all the rage these days. Just do your best to avoid the mashed potatoes, yams, and wine!

Here it is, the Char-Broil Big Easy Oilless Turkey Fryer:

Big Easy Turkey Collage

Expert Tip ~ There is one rule though. No sugar. No sugar in a brine or marinade and no sugar in a rub. See, this thing cooks so hot, which simulates deep frying it, that it will blacken any sugar used in preparing the turkey. 

Deep Fried Turkey Without Oil Ingredients:

13 lb turkey
Coarse salt
Favorite sugar free rub (in this case, Code 3 Spices Grunt Rub)
A little vegetable oil (OK, it’s not entirely oil free!?!)

Properly thaw the turkey according to the directions on the packaging. Coat the back with coarse salt and then hit it with the Code 3 Spices Grunt Rub:

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Then place the turkey in the Big Easy basket, breasts facing up:

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The reason I don’t do both sides before putting it in the basket is that the rub will stick to the cutting board when I roll it over to coat the other side. The basket keeps the turkey elevated from the cutting board.

Now lay the basket on its side:

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And coat the front of the bird with salt and the Code 3 Spices rub:

Big Easy Turkey - 012

And now the turkey is ready for the Big Easy:

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On a side note, if you haven’t tried the Code 3 spices, you are missing out on a number of levels. First, the rubs are fantastic. Top to bottom, the entire line is outstanding. Also, they give a portion of every sale to charities that help first responders (police, firefighters and EMT’s) and our military personnel. I like to say they make great rubs and have an even better cause. Now back to the recipe.

Fire up the Char-Broil Big Easy to high and place the turkey in the unit:

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To help crisp up the skin, put the mesh lid on top to help deflect the heat back down:

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Man cannot live by turkey alone, so while the bird is doing its thing, time to check out what’s happening in the kitchen. Looks like we’ll be having some pies tonight:

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After about 30 minutes in the Big Easy, I drizzled some vegetable oil over the bird which will further help to crisp up the skin. You can see a little of the oil near the neck:

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The reason I waited to coat it with the oil is that I wanted the rub to adhere to the skin before I poured oil on the turkey. If I poured the oil on right away, it would’ve washed the Code 3 Spices rub off.

How long to you cook the soon to be Thanksgiving turkey? Easy, 10 minutes per pound. Here we have the turkey at about 90 minutes:

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Back inside, the pies are done. I can’t flippin’ wait!

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A little over 2 hours, the turkey is at 160 degrees internal temperature and ready to come out of the Big Easy at which point I let it rest for about 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the bird and the internal temp to come up to the 165 needed to be safe to eat:

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But how did it come out? Let’s check that breast:

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Uber juicy, skin so crispy people will swear you deep fried it, and that wonderful rub! Did I mention low carb? Wow! This is why I love Thanksgiving! If you want to buy one of these little cookers, you will not regret it. It will transform your Thanksgiving. Here’s a link to the Oilless Turkey Fryer.

If you have any questions about this deep fried turkey without oil, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

4.3 from 4 reviews
Deep Fried Turkey Without Oil
Recipe type: Thanksgiving Turkey
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
Step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to deep fry a turkey without oil in the Char-Broil Big Easy, infrared grill.
  • 13 lb turkey
  • Coarse salt
  • Sugar free rub
  • A little vegetable oil
  1. Thaw the turkey safely according to the packaging
  2. Coat the back with coarse salt and the rub
  3. Place the turkey in the basket, breast side up
  4. Lay the basket on its side and coat the breasts with salt and the rub
  5. Start the Big Easy, set to high and place the turkey in the basket in the unit, covering with the mesh lid
  6. After 30 minutes, drizzle vegetable oil over the breasts
  7. Grill for 10 minutes per pound
  8. Remove from the Big Easy and allow to rest for 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute
  9. Slice and serve

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Oh my wow! There is so much perfection right there! 😲✔️👍😎 . Video shot by the insanely talented @carlaocarvalho77 …… - 4 months ago
Scott Thomas

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Scott, do you ever do a chicken in this thing during the non-Thanksgiving months?



I’ve done chickens in it as well. Takes no time! Just avoid the sugars and you will make some mean chicken!


We have a Big Easy Roaster/Smoker/Grill. I assume this recipe can also be done in that. If so, after the 30 minutes with the top down (like your mesh cover on), do you leave the top open and leave it on high or do you turn the heat down?

I can’t wait to try a turkey in this. We’ve done many things; i.e. baby back ribs, chicken, pork roast, baked potatoes, vegetable etc. Everything has been delicious.




I leave the bird covered, particularly if it’s windy or cold. And I leave it on high the entire time. Let me know how it comes out…


should you remove the pop out timer or leave it in the bird



I realize this is a little late, but you can go either way. I hope it came out well!


we just got a The Big Easy and did a test run using two 6lb chickens. They came out moist and juicy. can wait to fix our turkey in it!!!!



Let me know how it comes out…


How come the legs don’t cook fully through at the same time as the rest of the turkey



Because they are dark meat. Means they have more fat and the higher the fat, the longer they take…


I use the extra rack pieces to raise the base of the turkey to the center upper half of the grill and it cooks more evenly. I think the heat doesn’t reach the bottom of the basket as well as previously thought.

Why does my 6pound chicken keep coming out unevenly cooked and is taking and hour and a half to cook but part of it still isn’t done



Can you make sure all the burners are working? Maybe some are clogged or malfunctioning. Contact Char-Broil. They should have better questions to ask you to get to the root of the problem…


can I cook a 17# turkey in my new grill



I think it has a 16 lb maximum, but I would assume a 17# would just take a little more time, but I can’t guarantee that…


Just bought the oil less fryer and we are going to have a Turkey this thanksgiving. I’m super excited.


Kimberly, you won’t be disappointed. Let me know how it goes.

Scott, I’m so glad I found your info on this. We are trying this for the first time for Thanksgiving. Do you suggest seasoning the basket as well? Hoping to season it over the weekend but they are calling for snow & temps in the 20’s. Wish me luck! Thanks, Debbie



Just to be safe, I would season the basket as well…


If I leave turkey in fridge over night do I need to bring it down to room temperature before cooking it next day



I don’t think you will have a problem. It just might take a little longer to get to the 155-160 you want to be at before resting…


Any problem with injecting the bird?



Not at all, just avoid injections with a lot of sugar because some of the injected liquid will leak out and if it has a lot of sugars it will blacken really bad…


Do u pour the oil on or do I use a brush. Just afraid it might start smoking if the oil touches the sides or bottom



I just drizzle it over the top. It will smoke a little but not bad…


Niki… i use the spray oil to help the sugarless rub to stay on hours before cooking. Obviously not near the gas flame….

can you soak you turkey in a brine the night before… if so any suggestion



Yes, you can soak in a brine the night before, but I wouldn’t recommend going move than about 12 hours in a brine otherwise it can get a little hammy…


Oh, and don’t use any sugars in the brine. The skin will blacken pretty bad and it will look terrible. It will still taste great tho!

Scott Thomas,
Thank you!!!!


I tried the big easy last year for thanksgiving. It was my first time ever cooking a turkey period. It was such a success at our family dinner, I had family members requesting I do theirs for Christmas. I’ve got 11 orders today.


What recipe did you use?

Can you use the traditional style of internal stuffing of the bird?… For example. My Wife always puts a lemon, onion, and other objects, and ingredients inside the bird during the cavity search. Will that still work with this cooking design?…. Thanks,


No, Don, you can’t use the traditional stuffing. It will burn up bad…


Hello Scott,
I use my new fryer for chicken. Breast side up and cook to a temp of 165 however the bottom of the chicken is raw? Any ideas?



Maybe rotate halfway through and cook a little longer? I wish I had a better answer, but I’ve never experienced this…


I had the same problem because I laid the bird on its back. The next time I cooked, I stood the bird up with the butt end down and the neck end up, and it came out perfect.

Howdy from College Station, TX! Thanks for your insight, been frying turkeys for 15 years, first run at the oil-less…


At what temperature should I cook at not the Turkey but the cooker thanks



I’m not sure the temp of the cooker. I just crank it up and let it do its magic…


Followed your recipe and it worked great. It was very windy and my Big Easy was actually extinguished! I caught it fairly quickly and moved to a better location and restarted. I’d lost my time frame for cooking and went solely by temp. Pulled the 13lb bird when the breasts reached 165 degrees. I wrapped it tightly in foil for about 15 minutes before carving. Unfortunately, the legs and some of the meat deep in the breast wasn’t quite done. More time? I had 2 temperature probes in the bird. One went to 165 the other was over 170. Just posting to maybe help someone else who reads this.


I’ve been doing oil-free frying using the Big Easy for four or five years now. It really does a terrific job. Always brine the turkey overnight. I saw an earlier question about the size of the bird being limited to 16 pounds. I’ve done over 20 pounds and had excellent results. Basically if you can get it in the rack it will work just fine. I never put the lid on but it seems to brown very well anyway. A friend of mine used the lid and had a problem with the turkey turning black but now I wonder if she had sugar in her brine. I’ve never used a rub or drizzled oil on the bird but will try that next time.


Frying my first turkey tomorrow. Kind of nervous. Hope it works out. I’ve only used the fryer once since I’ve owned it. Anyone have any pointers? Not really sure on a rub or injection yet…..


Oh, and how do you brine a turkey???


How was it?

Tried this recipe tonight. Followed it to the letter and that turkey is beautiful and Delish! We’ve cook a few chickens and a pork roast since we got our big easy but this was the first turkey. Great recipe! We will be cooking more soon.



Glad it came out well!


what tem. does the gill need to be for fried turkey



Just set it to high. You’ll be good!


Being from Louisiana we always had fried turkey. When I moved to Arizona I decided to fry turkey myself for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Boy what an expense. All that oil just to discard it later. Did that for about 10 years than a friend also from Louisiana (in Phoenix) told me about the The Big Easy so I decided to buy one and give it a try. WOW! What a great invention for food lovers. Great results every time. Now ut does not have to be a holiday to enjoy turkey. Also have cooked Roasts in it with great results. My grandmother started me cooking when I was 10 years old and being a manager for 15 years at Piccadilly I highly recommend the the Char-Broil Big Easy .
P.S. One tip make sure legs are down in basket. First time I used it put breast down and the skin stuck to the basket ( Yes the basket was seasoned)


Oven broke!!!! Oh no!!! Have the big easy!!!! YAY!!!! 16 pound min…. whoops… 22 pounder with stuffing in the basket it went…. perfect!!!! Best turkey ever!!!!


Has anybody cooked a turducken?


I have an original Big Easy. I was thinking about putting a foil wrapped package of smoking hickory on bottom of pot. Have you heard of anyone doing this? Do you think it would work?



Yes it will work. I would be ready to replace the packet as it burns out. The basket makes it easy to remove the bird, take out the old packet and add new ever so often as the smoke dies down…


I have a 22 pound bird. Will it still work in the oilless fryer



It should work just fine. I think it can handle up to 24 pounds…


Hi Scott! My brother-in-law has talked me in to using his Big Easy for Thanksgiving this year. I have been a little leery about it (I usually cook one on my BGE), but after seeing your recipe I am very excited. I plan to brine for 12 hours and will cut out the sugar as suggested. I am using a salt brine. Quick question, would you still use the salt on the outside if you brine, or would you just use the rub (I am using your suggested rub)? Also, I was planning to use some basic aromatics. Do you see any issue with that? Thanks for any feedback in advance!



You don’t need to salt the outside of the bird after the brine. You should be good to go…


I want to cook a couple of turkey breasts; do they get placed on the bottom of the rack and how long should they cook?



Yes, the bottom of the basket and I believe it’s 10 minutes per pound of meat. But don’t add the weight together. Each one should cook independently of the other. So if you have a 4 lb and a 5 lb breast, you might want to put the bigger one in first. And as always, cook to temp, not time. So when they reach 160, yank them and slice. If one gets done earlier, pull it out and start serving and let the other finish cooking. Good luck!


about the little plastic thermometer in the turkey


Remove it before putting it in.

Do you turn the temp all the way up on the feyes are where do u leave it set when cooking


I’m not sure what you are saying.

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