Salt and Pepper Turkey

Salt-and-Pepper-Turkey-made-in-an-Electric-Outdoor-Roaster-a-quick-and-easy-processI have always been a big proponent of deep-frying a turkey. It has been, until now, the juiciest turkey I have ever made. However, the biggest turn-off of the whole deep-frying process is the $50 of oil you need to buy and then have to dispose's kind-of-a-pain and always feels like a big waste.

However, there is nothing better than not tying up the oven on Thanksgiving Day with a turkey that needs four hours to cook. Therefore, deep-frying the turkey continued for a few years until I just couldn't get myself to buy those large vats of oil anymore. So the turkey made it's way back to my indoor oven and last year I did make one of the most delicious turkey's ever.

But, over the past year I kept seeing this Char-Broil The Big Easy Electric TRU Infrared Smoker and Roaster everywhere I went. Mostly at large warehouse stores like Lowe's. Seeing it so many times wore me down and I finally decided to buy one. It was a sign, right? I wanted to get the turkey cooking back outside where it belongs. This way the oven is reserved for all the beloved side dishes. Good idea? Yes. I thought so too.

This past weekend I finally fired it up to give it a test run. It requires a 30-minute seasoning cycle before using, which was not a big deal to complete.

I wanted to make a "no-frills" recipe. No exotic rubs and/or seasonings. No brining (which I always do). And no expensive free-range, local, special-fed, gobbles in seven languages turkey. I wanted to see what this machine could do on its own with a simple, frozen Butterball, rubbed in peanut oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. That's it. The results were kind of astonishing.

This was the most amazing, juiciest turkey I have ever made. Three days later, the leftovers were just as awesome. Still juicy, still full of flavor. The turkey needed nothing else but salt and pepper...that's it.

The roaster can hold up to a 16-pound turkey and would definitely hold a couple of chickens, which is what I'm going to roast next. The turkey you see here was 14.5 pounds and fit perfectly in the basket. I have always preferred a smaller-sized turkey because they are usually hens at this size. I think the hens are juicier than the toms.

Anyway, the basket comes right out and is sprayed with cooking spray. The turkey slides right into the basket, legs down.

The roaster comes with a meat thermometer, which gets inserted in the breast. The machine automatically turns off when it reaches the maximum temperature you have set it for.

It takes about 10-15 minutes per pound for this size turkey. When it's done, it is beautifully browned and ready to eat.

Salt and Pepper Turkey made in an Electric Roaster
Recipe by | Serves: 10-12


14-16 pound turkey, thawed
2-3 Tablespoons peanut oil
kosher salt
coarse ground black pepper


Prepare your turkey, making sure it is completely thawed (this can take 3-5 days in the refrigerator). Remove the neck, giblets etc.

Make sure there are no metal ties that are holding the legs together. Rinse your thawed turkey and pat it dry.

Rub the turkey all over with peanut oil. Apply salt and pepper generously all over the bird.

If turkey legs are not secured be sure to truss them.

Spray roasting basket with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Insert the meat thermometer into the breast (do not touch bone). Set ending temperature for 162 degrees F.

I set my power (cooking) setting on "12" for 30 minutes and turned it down to "9" for the rest of the cooking time. (Each power setting corresponds to a certain temperature.) The turkey was finished in about 3-1/2 hours.

Remove the basket from the roaster and place on a rimmed baking sheet, letting it rest for about 15 minutes before removing it. Let it rest another 15 minutes before carving (30 minutes total). Bird is never going in the oven again, this was just too easy with an amazing result.


Cathy owns a vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.  She is a food writer for Davis Life Magazine and blogs daily about wine, food and everyday living.  She lives with her husband and two sons.  You can visit her at