Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Orion Cooker

Several months ago, while cruising the web early one morning, I found the Orion Cooker for sale on the "Woot" website for just under $100 dollars and decided to purchase one and see how it cooks. I had read about them a time or two and some of the claims did interest me so why not??

This is some of the hype from their website...

Smoke and steam and the same time-no flame ups
No oil-extraordinarily fast cooking times
Low cooking maintenance-moist tender meat

The Orion Cooker is a new, innovative outdoor convection cooker that uses three cooking processes simultaneously: convection, steam and smoke (if desired). This cooking process couldn't be any easier and yields incredible results every time. Using 100% indirect heat to create a convection current, there is absolutely no cooking maintenance with drastically reduced cook times. When compared to traditional smokers, the Orion Cooker is unmatched in cooking speed. Smoke six racks of ribs in 1 hour and 15 minutes, or a twenty pound turkey in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

The Orion Cooker includes 3 rib hangers to accommodate 6 racks of ribs, 3 cooking grates providing 398 square inches of cooking surface, and a poultry stand and lifting handle which holds a 24 pound Turkey. Fantastic prime rib, beef brisket, boston butt and seafood. Just fill it, fire it and forget it!

You know, it's that last sentence that sold me..."fill it, fire it, and forget it". That is my kind of cooker!

The cooker came well packaged and was much heavier and somewhat larger than I expected. It is made out of all food grade Stainless Steel and seems very heavy duty. It was very easy to assemble and everything fit together well and all the parts were there which made for a short assembly time.

For my first cook, I decided to do a whole chicken on the poultry stand.

I just followed the directions in the manual when setting up this first cook and did the following to get the cook ready for the fire...

Lined the drip pan with foil and placed it into the cooking chamber and then put my wood chips that I used for smoke around the outside of the pan which keeps them right up against the side of the cooker so they will burn and create the smoke for my cook.

I then prepped the chicken with some rub and placed it on the poultry stand and then placed it into the cooker on the lowest grid and put the top section on the cooker.

I then counted out 12 briquettes from a bag of the "Instant Light" charcoal and placed them into the top charcoal ring and dumped the balance of the 13.5 pound bag around in the lower charcoal ring and spread them out evenly.

I then lit up both the top and bottom charcoal rings and like the manual said, I just forgot it until it was supposed to be done which was 70 minutes from the time I lit the charcoal and I came back and got the chicken out of the cooker.

The chicken looked great, was very moist and tender, had a nice light smoke flavor, and was every bit as good as if I would have cooked it on one of my other cookers.

Some observations from my first cook on this unique cooker...

Bought the chicken on sale for .99 cents a pound which came out to just under $4.00 dollars for the meat and then I got a bag of the Instant Light Kingsford which is the required charcoal for $12.95 so this means I have invested about $17 bucks in this first cook. I could have bought a completely cooked rotisserie chicken from Kroger which is about as good for $4.99!! It don't compute!

I will need to figure out a method of using the regular charcoal in the cooker.

The cooker is not very safe around anything combustible with the open fire and a fellow sure wouldn't want any kids around the cooker.

I am anxious to try some other meats on the cooker so this will be a work in process as I test this new cooker to see if any of the hype is true!

Six racks of baby back ribs in 1 hour 15 minutes ? ? We'll see....stay tuned


  1. I have had the orion cooker for years, and here is a trick I've found. Never buy self light Kingsford for it (or self light at all for that matter). I buy the cheapest charcoal I can find and use charcoal lighter. No reason to buy the good stuff, since this does nothing for the taste. This will cut your charcoal costs in half. The only reason they specify self light is because they want to insure that the folks using it get a good light the first time. The majority of people out there (mainly city people) don't regularly use charcoal, so this helps them to cover their bases.

  2. And it does ribs great.! In about the recommended time. I love it!

  3. I tried the ribs but they were not fall off the bone ribs. A little chewy. I use the cooker on just about everything else.

  4. If your ribs "fall off the bone", many folks would say they were overcooked. I also found that they were what I call a little rubbery to my taste.