What to Avoid
• Countertop Fryers: Countertop fryers are cheaper than outdoor cookers and promise superior convenience and ease of use. You can use them inside, and you don’t need to buy propane. A built-in thermostat regulates the temperature of the oil or water, and at least on the model we tested, the temperature was accurate once set. Unfortunately, it just didn’t do a great job of frying turkeys. It took almost 30 minutes longer than the outdoor cookers from start to finish and yielded a bird that was evenly cooked but had steamed, soggy skin. Why? The countertop fryer uses less oil, so it loses heat faster when you lower the cold turkey into the oil. And the countertop fryer just wasn’t as powerful as the propane burners, taking longer to heat the oil and struggling to maintain the proper frying temperature. As a result, the turkey cooked, but there wasn’t enough energy to evaporate excess moisture—thus the soggy skin. In addition, condensation also built up under the fryer lid, cascading into the oil when the lid was opened and sending hot spatters everywhere.