Pros: Cooks perfect Turkey, easy to clean, logically built, and safe to use.
Cons: HUGE for a "small" appliance. Difficult to store. Keep the box for storage.
I've wanted to deep fry a turkey for several years, but have hesitated because of all the potential hazards involved (burning your house down, 3rd degree burns, etc). I was even given an older propane version too, but still was hesitant to use it because of all the hazards and risks involved.
I saw a demo of a similar electric fryer before on an info-mercial, and its claims that it was much safer and easier intrigued me to the point where I bought this unit at Costco for a very good price ($129). Included in the very large box are the oil pan, frying basket, heating element, digital timer, and very thick safety gloves. The unit came efficiently packed and with easy to read instructions in both Spanish and English.
The first thing I noticed is how easily the unit breaks down into sections making it easy to clean afterwards. There is a side access panel which houses the A/C cord and a spout extension to drain the grease easily after each use (one of the best features). The frying basket is stainless steel and of a heavy duty construction. It easily can hold up to a 14lb turkey. There is also a clip on the side of it which enables you to set it over the grease pan to cool down the bird afterwards. The outer housing is also made of a rigin stainless steel construction. The heating element easily pops out for cleaning, like the fry pan and basket. The manufacture's build quality of this unit is outstanding.
I decided to use this unit on the riskiest cooking day of the year (Thanksgiving) and also, despite my tendancey not to, I actually read the entire user's manual (sidenote- follow the cooking directions to the letter!). I highly reccommend doing this if you've never done it before. I also elected to use this OUTSIDE because of the potential hazards and because I was skeptical using something holding so much scalding hot oil (over 2 gal) indoors.
Once I set up the fryer outside, I filled the pan slightly below the MAX FILL LINE (reccommended in the users guide). I also used canola oil. It took a good 45 minutes to get the oil hot, at which time, the green "ready" light lit up. Make sure you thoroughly (I mean THOROUGHLY) defrost your turkey or chicken. (4 hours per pound in the fridge). It took a good 48 hours to defrost a 14lb bird. The other recommended procedure is to soak the bird in lukewarm water for 30 minutes to thaw the cavity of the bird (all in the users guide). I elected to soak mine in a turkey brine for 12 hours. If you put a frozen or slightly frozen turkey in the hot oil you will have a problem of a grease fire.
I used the hook extension and blue heavy duty gloves to lower the bird VERY SLOWLY into the scalding hot grease, and still, I could feel the heat and some splattering onto the gloves. These gloves are CRUCIAL in my opinion when putting in or removing the turkey. The manual reccommends a cooking time of 3.5 to 4 minutes per pound. I rounded up to 4 minutes per pound, and set the digital time based on this equation.
Roughly 1 hour later, I had a perfectly cooked bird, possibly the best turkey I've ever eaten. I did 2 different turkeys: one fryed and one cooked traditionally in the oven, and all of the family and guests preferred the fryed bird. I honestly was surprised with it tasting so good. I am a converted skeptic!
Clean up was easy because the unit disassembles in such a logical format. Draining the oil was easy because of the drain valve and removable spout. The only issue I have is where to store it? It's such a large appliance. I plan on reboxing it and storing it in my garage until next year.
Thanksgiving is the biggest cooking day of the year for my family and I have found this unit is a complete hit and sucess. I plan on using it next year and afterwards.