I don’t know where to start with this one. I am proud of myself for waiting 24 hours to post this though, gave me a chance to calm down and catch my breath.
What is an Orion Cooker? It’s a stainless steel rig that cooks your food by convection, the heat source doesn’t see the food. The food is placed inside, on racks or hanging from racks, the match-lite charcoal (manufacturer’s spec) is placed in the tray that surrounds the outside bottom of the cooker and in a little tube pot thing up top. Smoking chips are placed inside between the drip tray and the cooker’s outter wall. Once all that is done, put the lid on and light the charcoal.
For 3 racks of baby back ribs, you do nothing for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Pretty neat, eh?
Since I knew a real wood fire wouldn’t be introduced to the food directly, I had an idea as to what kind of smoked product to expect. It’s really good, juicy, smoky, but lacking the character only a real fire can introduce.
Um, I didn’t get that. I spent nearly 40 bux on 3 slabs, I didn’t get that. What I did get was steamed meat. MmMmmmm, steamed meat. No browning, no smoky flavors, an odd texture and they were over-done. Over-done steamed meat! Oh joy !!! The boys opted for Top Ramen instead. Even a dry rub of 2 kinds of pepper, dried basil, garlic powder and salt produced a very bland product.
After 24 hours of mind numbing reflection and a few conversations, I don’t think I added enough smoking chips and I think I should have pulled the meat at an hour or even 55 minutes. Even so, the looks of a pale rack of pork ribs, all funky with moisture, really turned my stomach upside down. I buried a few ribs in some jarred sauce and it was 100% better, so I tossed them in the trash. Even at 100% better they weren’t worth keeping.
All that aside, it’s an excellent cooker. The damned thing is all stainless steel, built well and built with good thoughts behind it. The screws, washers and nuts are all stainless as well. It went together very easily, every hole matched up and all the threads were perfect.
Considering the briquettes are exposed, small children and pets need to be kept at a safe distance. The instructions say you need about 15 pounds of match-lite, which is about 12 some odd bucks. So, if you’re going to fire this sucker up, fill it up. There’s no damned sense in putting a 3 pound chicken in there. If you have food that flourishes in steamy heat? This cooker just can’t be beat.
I took a handful of pictures of the Orion Cooker and they came out really great. Come for the pictures, leave when the food arrives.