Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gadgetry: Orion Cooker

Wow look at me two posts in one day.

Ok you can call me a shill if you like, I know I go on and on about my gadgets and toys. And I've been meaning to put up a post for you about my flaming inferno tower smoker cooker thing-a-ma-jig. So I present to you my quasi review/show off of the Orion Cooker. I swear these people should be paying me when I feature their products, not enough eyeballs I guess :)

The orion cooker is not technically a smoker. A smoker is a unit (be it electric or otherwise) that can sustain a low heat and create smoke. This device is a convection cooker that applies smoke. For my purposes it's a bit splitting hairs, however bbq purests would definitely *not* refer to this thing as a smoker.

As you can see this thing users coal, lots and lots of coal. In fact it's possibly my only complaint about this device is that it requires 15 lbs of instant light charcoal. Most of it goes along the bottom "gutter" and 20 or so briquettes go into the tower at the top. Why you ask? Well basically this creates a convection oven like heating in the actual container. (The whole thing is sealed). Using convection cooking and indirect heat you're basically cooking large quantaties of meat very very fast. The downside of cooking stuff really really fast is that once you are done and you open up the convection oven, you don't really have enough to power a second helping, but the coals are still really really hot and will burn for hours before it's cool enough to cleanup. I bet if you picked something that doesn't take as long (fish) and paired it with something that takes say a "medium" amount of time, you might be able to get thru 2 batches of cooking.

As you can see on this inside shot it has little posts that you can put near the top to hang ribs. There's a total of 3 grate brakets for you to cook 3 stacks of roasts, chicken, fish. They also have a turkey stand (see turkey post). The bottom pan is a drippings pan where all the juices (and lots of fat) melt off. Around the pan is where you put your wood chips.

Course there's the cleanup. If I can find a better way of dealing with the coals (maybe buy a bucket?) and cleaning the whole thing up (it's an ordeal with the scouring pads and the water hose). I think I would call this thing perfect.

Their marketing does not lie, literally I whipped up a batch of fall apart tender beef and pork ribs for several of my parties in 1 hour and 15 mins. Without exception the ribs are always a hit with all the tasters. Everything I've produced on this cooker has been amazing. Very juice, very tender, and it takes no time at all. The turkey from this thanksgiving was amazing and came out with that classic brown skin you always see in the pictures but aren't quite able to get because the oven bag screws it up.

Happy Eating!
Ironjack

7 comments:

Lunch Buckets said...

What a neat tool! The skin on that turkey looks absolutely amazing. I'm curious about the cleaning ... what exactly do you have to clean? Because I don't really clean my grill ... at least not with a hose and scouring pads! (suppose that takes care of any drop-ins on BBQ day!)

Ironjack said...

I'm a huge proponent of the "aging" of a grill, I love charcoal and I hate propane :). I know it's a religion on cleaning grills or not, but in this case it kinda doesn't apply here.

The big pain on the orion grill is to break out the SOS pads. I have to scrub the "drum" and everything that is encapsulated inside the convection oven. The ashes are easy but I have to wait for the morning to scoop them into a plastic bag. The "gunk" in the drip pan goes to a plastic bag, the coals into another, and I have a small chore of washing it out and scouring out the carbon.

It's a bit of work. I have a superbowl party coming up and a I'm sure I'll whine some more about the cleanup. In the meantime I'm positive the ribs will be extremely YUMMY!

jason said...

Couple of tips for easy cleanup:

After a cook, take one of those tin foil pans and place it under the hole where the coal should exit. Scrape all the hot coal into the foil pan, and cover it with a damp paper towel and some ice.

For a GOOD clean of the Orion, spray the whole thing with quick off oven cleaner and leave over night. The next day, take it to a car wash with a pressure hose and blast the grime off. I always rerinse when I get home in case the car wash used recycled water.

Ironjack said...

Wow great tips! Thanks! and of course thanks for dropping by.

Tim said...

Sometimes you can get away with using less than 15 lbs of charcoal if you're not cooking large quantities. I did 4 chicken quarters and some brats the other day, used about 5 lbs of coals and since it was windy I stacked them all on the downwind side. I lit them and the top section and came outside about 20 min later and spread my hot coals all around the ring. 1/2 hour later I took the brats off and let the chicken go another 10 min, it was perfect and I didn't feel bad since I didn't waste coals.

Clean up is not fun on this thing but make sure you do it the next day or you will find a nice stinky surprise when you take the lid off! ick!

Ironjack said...

Thanks for coming by Tim. Great Tip. I'll have to experiment with charcoal use. I bet I could get away with half for the turkey.

The one thing I do like about the sealed part of the cooker. It seems to keep flies and other undesirables out while I wait (usually the next day) for it to cool off.

gvine said...

I just got one about 3 weeks ago, did a roaster chicken first and beef ribs this weekend. I found that I used way too many wood chips the first time and even the second time where I hardly used any they look good enough for another go.

Yeah, lot of charcoal but I use like 1/3 self lighting for kind of a bed then regular charcoal on top with some fluid. Seems to work just fine.

Thanks for the tips on cleaning, I've scoured it twice and it's not something I look forward to. I'm trying to oven cleaner and pressure hose next.