If you are using the best infrared oil-less turkey fryer, you are using technology that is really amazing. There is seriously no other way to describe the technology. Instead of using the conventional heating element of a turbo broiler, an infrared oil-less turkey fryer actually uses gas heat. Do you see the gas flame that you use on your typical gas range? That is exactly the heat source of an infrared oil-less turkey fryer, but the heat is actually within the inner wall of the turkey fryer. This is what constitutes infrared technology.
Because the heat is radiating from the bottom and from the walls in so many different ways, this heating process creates an intensely hot core. When you put a 5 to 10-pound turkey in that scorching core, you get an amazing combination of a crispy exterior and a tasty, juicy interior. The best part to all of this and really the most surprising is that the bird is going to be entirely cooked.
By thoroughly cooked, I am not talking about the way a lot of oven-baked turkeys are completely cooked. You probably had those. Do you recall how stringy they are? Do you recall how dry they can be? Bad news, right? Not exactly appetizing.
Well, you do not have that problem with infrared technology. What happens is that the heat is radiated in such a way that the skin of the bird forms some sort of flavor seal. When heat hits the skin of the bird, the fat under the skin starts to melt. This fat provides a liquid layer around the bird which enables the heat to bounce around the interior of the bird cooking the bird thoroughly, but instead of drying it out, the moisture is locked in because of the layer of fat from the lower part of the bird’s skin melting. The outcome is an amazing combination of texture, taste and complete cooking. This is something to write home about.
Now, the problem here is that the typical turkey, if left unaided, has a flavor profile that can get really boring. Let us just get that out of the way. There is no point denying it. I mean, how many times can you pack a turkey sandwich? How many times can you make a turkey salad? It gets really old. Even if you try to mix things up by making turkey pasta, it is only a matter of time until all the novelty wears out.
Do yourself a big favor. Add smoky flavor to your bird. A way to do this is through a wood chip chamber. There are many infrared oil-less turkey fryer models out there that have a wood chip chamber. Get yourself some hickory chips or some nice aromatic wood chips, put those in there, and you would be amazed as to how well the flavor would infuse the whole bird. It is as if the flavor got packed into the heat and as the heat radiates from both inside and outside the bird, flavor also radiates throughout the bird.
Now, the key here is to make sure that you cook the bird for a long enough period of time. If you are using wood chips, you need to make sure that the wood chips are heated for an extended, ample period of time so that the flavor can seep in. This takes quite a bit of time. Of course, you probably would save time compared to traditional oven baking, but there is still some time involved. We are talking at least a couple of hours. Still, that is a pretty small investment to make in light of the amazing taste and texture that you would get from your infrared oil-less turkey fryer.
A quick note about texture and flavor
Make no mistake about it, simply buying the right appliance is not enough to deliver a tasty bird. I wish it did. Most cooks wish the same thing. The problem is, air turkey fryers and other roasters deliver texture. Texture is not taste. As mentioned above with smoke flavor chips, you have to go the extra mile to take care of the taste portion of the great turkey feast equation. You have to either rub down the turkey with a nice blend of herbs and spices or you would need to marinate it for some time. Regardless of what you do, you need to do something about the flavor. The flavor of your turkey is not going to come automatically just because you cooked it for the right texture. The flavor is not going to be on point just because you’re using the right stuffing. Again, you have to take extra steps.