I bet you’re in the market for a cooker… and you’re probably wondering whether the Orion cooker is best suited for you. 

Well, read on to get my personal experience with this fantastic cooker.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that the Orion cooker is an outdoor smoker which is totally different from a pressure cooker

I have been using this amazing cooker for some time now and I must say it’s an awesome cooker. In this post, I will give my personal experience with this amazing cooker. Let’s start by describing what a charcoal grill smoker is.

What is the Orion Cooker?

The Orion Convection Cooker, a cooking device that uses indirect heat to produce convection current within the cooking cylinder. It’s actually a fusion of the natural way of cooking combined the modern way of making things more efficient and effective.

Aside from smoke and steam, it has introduced a faster and more efficient cooking through the use of convection heat transfer power.

The Orion Outdoor Cooker

I received my own unit of the Orion 101 Convection Cooker as a Christmas surprise from my son. His sister says it’s a gift her older brother gave me to mock her for a set of frying pans she also gave me as a Christmas present. The joke is she thought that a casserole, which she knew I wanted for Christmas, and a frying pan is one and the same thing and her brother never stopped teasing her for that.

I’m not complaining, of course. I’m the designated cook of our household, so everything related to cooking is always part of my wish list for any occasion, including birthdays, from my three grown up kids.

While I could not openly express my elation over the Orion 101 Convection Cooker for my daughter’s sake, I’m truly happy to have one and to try it out on one of our Christmas dishes – Oriental Baby Back Ribs.

Putting The Orion Smoker To Test

I bought six slabs of baby back ribs of about 2 lbs per slab and marinated them with my secret oriental spices for 8 hours. I took out my Orion 101 Convection Cooker from the box and set it up in the garden, which took me less than 10 minutes. 

As we all do for “how to videos”, I checked out YouTube exactly how it works, complete with video demo and all. So, how else could I possibly fail? It’s all in the video below; from the moment you light up the charcoal up to the time you’re done with the cooking!

How To Use a Charcoal Smoker

Using the three rib hangers, which can hold two slabs each, which comes with the unit, along with other accessories… I hooked them into slots inside the cooker to make them stand. I also placed a few hickory chips just around the drip pan for a touch of smoky country smell.

That done, I filled the ring just below the cooker and the top of the cooker with one bag of quick light charcoal. I wasn’t too sure that was all there is to it – seemed too quick and easy to be real – but there didn’t really seem anything more to be done. off course, I didn’t want to stay too far from the action though, so I set up a garden table and chair close by where I could set up my laptop to check my email and do some online research.

The thing is, I was caught up online for about an hour and a half and into two rounds of ice-cold lemonade, but the delicious scent of roasting ribs brought me back to what was really supposed to be the task at hand. I walked over to check on my cooking and saw that it turned out exactly as I expected – a brownish, fall off the bone, sweetish, juicy, smoke flavored kind of baby back ribs.

Backyard Bbq Smoker results

“It’s worth it, Pops,” my son told me, tapping my shoulder from behind with a smile. He knew I was in the garden trying out his gift, but he did not notice the smoke and smell that most cooking smokers have. The Orion 101 Convection Cooker is precisely designed and sealed to keep the smoke and steam inside the cooker, without smoking up the house, if not the entire neighborhood.

Locked-in Flavors

I haven’t tried it yet, but the manual says you could actually just cook slabs of meat without the marinade, and you’re ready to go. Well, I think it certainly could, but my Oriental instinct wouldn’t just let me do that without adding a bit of salt and pepper, at least.

After all, the entire cooker is locked up on all sides, which means the natural flavor of baby back ribs or any meat you want: roasted or steamed is embedded without your needing to turn, flip, and baste the food.

With a handful of hickory chips inside the cooker, you could actually achieve the taste of smoked meat. With that succulent dish, mashed potatoes or rice, and apple sauce or barbecue sauce, you already have a magnificent treat for the family.

Easy Instructions

Just like any small home equipment, the first thing that you should do to enjoy the optimum benefits of your newly acquired kitchen equipment is to read and understand its instructions. The instructions are simple enough to understand in one reading, but it’s good to have it around for future reference.

If you’re more into video than text, then you could check how it’s done through YouTube. The instructions are all too clear and visual for everyone to understand as I did.

The cookbook that goes with the package provides many recipes and helpful cooking tips. It guides you to determine exactly how much time you need to cook a whole turkey and what ingredients to use in plain, straightforward directions.

If you’re not satisfied with the cookbook recipes, I recommend you check-out the slow cooker cookbook.

The Everyday Low-Carb Slow Cooker Cookbook: Over 120 Delicious Low-Carb Recipes That Cook Themselves

Orion Cooker Accessories

  • 1 Poultry Stand and Lifting Handle
  • A Drip Pan
  • 3 Rib Hangers
  • 3 Cooking Grates
  • Cookbook and Manual
  • 3 rib hangers

The poultry stand is big enough to hold a 21-lb turkey cooked in two hours. The cooking grates allow you to cook three layers of fish or pork chop, while the rib hangers can take several pounds of meat for roasting and smoking.

It’s still too early for me to make a similar claim, but a friend who owns this same unit says the Orion 101 Convection Cooker discolors with use, but it’s stainless, doesn’t rust, and doesn’t lose its cooking or smoking capabilities over time. This is well worth my son’s money.

The Outdoor Cooker Features

The weight of this unit is about 32 lbs. Not too heavy for any able-bodied adult and could be moved around the house with relative ease, from the kitchen to the garden for occasional barbecue parties.

Its dimension of 21 x 20 x 21 inches, about the size of a garden pail, allows it to fit in the trunk of your car in case you decide to take it along with you for fishing or outdoor camping for the thrill and fun of taking your struggling catch from the water straight into your Convection Cooker.

After cleaning up your catch and coating it with a bit of salt or whatever ingredients you may still want to add, you can return to your favorite spot to resume your fishing, then come back 30 minutes later for your fresh, healthy meal with wife and kids. This is great for outdoor bonding and relaxation.

Well, this also means you need to find an adequate space for it inside your house. Just like any home equipment, it’s common sense not to leave it outside the house, exposed to elements, including pesky rodents and squirrels, no matter what the manufacturer claims. You can find a permanent nook for it inside your kitchen if you want to maximize its usage, or you can simply keep it inside a cabinet for future use.

What amount of Charcoal?

Apart from space constraints, the use of charcoal could likewise be considered a downside if you intend to use the Orion cooker convection bbq smoker on a daily basis, especially for a small family.

With only four of us in the family, I find it unwise to use an entire bag of charcoal per session as this could add up to a substantial expense after awhile. You can maximize its use when you’re preparing food for at least 10 persons.

I intend to use mine only during weekends and for special occasions, such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, picnics, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc., so I don’t see this much of a problem. Why not on a Father’s Day, you might ask? It’s my rest day, that’s why! But I certainly won’t leave out my Orion Cooker during my fishing trips and annual mountain retreats now that I know what it can do even without electricity.

What about The Smell and Taste?

Orion Cooker Outdoor convectionRecently, I tried it on two pounds each of chicken thighs and pork chops. As usual, I rubbed into both meat a combination of butter, garlic, onion, and secret spices from the East, and placed some apple chips around the drip pan. Then, I left it to cook as I proceeded to my favorite seat just below the maple tree nearby with my alarm set to one hour. After an hour of online browsing, I was roused by the alarm to check my cooking.

As expected, both chicken and pork were superbly cooked. It was brownish and moist and had the gentle smell of smoked meat. A neighbor, who is known as a barbecue connoisseur in our neighborhood, was walking by, noticed the smell of my cooking, and decided to stop and check what’s literally cooking.

I offered him a bite of my pork chops to taste. I consider it a compliment when he said he also wants his own unit of the Orion Cooker.

Safety is one of the most important aspects you should consider when dealing with a grill. Check out the following best smoker accessories.

Best smoker accessories

#1. 3 x No.1 Set: Barbecue Gloves & Pulled Pork Claws Set – Silicone Heat Resistant Gloves.

Silicone is the main material used in the manufacture of the gloves. It can stand high temperatures without getting damaged. That said, don’t go playing around in high temperatures thinking that you are 100% protected. It’s meant to keep you protected from the normal heat produced from the Orion slow cooker or any other cooker

These hot hand gloves are a superior set. The set comes with the following components:

  • A pair of silicone gloves – These bbq gloves can handle a maximum temperature of 425F. The gloves are kitchen approved for handling frozen and hot food making them virtually impenetrable. Washing them is not a problem
  • One meat shredder – These make turning, lifting, shredding and handling your meat an easy process. 
  • Basting Brush – Want to apply sauce on your meat? Use this silicone heat resistant 8.5-inch basting brush. It conveniently doesn’t leave any bristles on your meat and as the name suggests, its heat resistant.
  • 3 Recipe Ebooks – These E-books contain grilling, boiling, roasting and baking recipes. There are 0ver 299 recipes for the grill alone. 

#2.Grillaholics Smoker Box – Add Smokey BBQ Flavor on Charcoal Grills

Add some of these stainless wood chips on your charcoal grills and you instantly change your flavor to a smokey BBQ. Don’t we all love that grilling smell? That smell that will leave your family members or neighbors with that “Can’t wait to have some” feeling.

Don’t blame this smoker box for having uninvited visitors !!

How to use :

Fill the box with the preferred flavor. Select your favorite; apple, hickory, mesquite, or Jack Daniels wood chips and you’re all set for that smokey experience. It takes about 15 minutes for the chips to start smoking.

#3.Grillux Stainless Steel Vegetable Grill Basket

Every meal is not complete without vegetables. Grilling vegetables is not a new thing. Using a grill basket, you’re all set for the action. The Grillux basket can be used on any grill- charcoal, gas All Weber, and Charbroil. 

As the name suggests, it’s curved like a basket, that way no food is lost while on the grill. It also has some holes on the sides. These holes allow heat to penetrate to the vegetables allowing slow grilling. There is no exact formula on how to grill vegetables, simply place them in the basket and you’re good to go.

#4.Mr. Bar-B-Q 94001X 18-Piece Stainless-Steel Barbecue Set with Storage Case

This bbq set comes in a plastic casing that consists of 18 essential grilling tools, well a bottle opener is an essential tool if you ask me. 🙂 Don’t we all like to sip something while we grill? Other tools include 4 skewers, a basting brush, grill brush for cleaning, 8-corn holders, and a knife.

All the tools are made with stainless steel and riveted handles all made from wood. The storage case measures 12-2.5 by 17-2.5 by 2-4.5 inches

#5.Alpha Grillers 18″ Grill Brush – Best BBQ Cleaner.

#6.Grillaholics Grill Mat – Set of 2 Non-Stick BBQ Grilling Mats

 

The Verdict

It’s a no brainer that the Orion slow cooker is one of the best cookers available in the market.