Have you heard of the latest in a long line of countertop appliances? It is an air fryer nowadays! We have stoves, pots and pans, oven, microwave oven, oven toaster, deep fryer, and stovetop barbecue grill. Apparently, it is not enough. An air fryer is now a staple in most households. In our household, when something is broken, it gets fixed. We call an appliance repair specialist as soon as possible. Repair instead of immediately buying a replacement. But these days, we tend to add a new invention especially when almost everyone has and talks about it.
So, what is an air fryer, anyway?
It is a countertop convection oven simulating deep frying without the need for cooking oil. A fan circulates hot air in high speed thereby cooking what is inside it. It is a “healthier” way of eating fried food because the food was not submerged in oil. That made most people get on board, especially the health buffs and those who are on a diet. Fried food is great! Who does not want a fried chicken? Or a fried porkchop with lots of gravy on it?
But, the question is, is it worth it? I mean, there is a real convection oven. There is also an oven toaster. Our office pantry has an air fryer so I went ahead and tested it. I bought a kilo of marinated pork belly which I normally cook in a deep fryer to make the pork skin and fatty meat crispy. First, the container basket is small. It can only fit at the very least three to four slices of pork belly, cut in two inches long and slightly more than an inch wide. It was a tight fit in it but I was able to make it work. Cooking time took about ten minutes, pausing in between to check if both sides were being fried properly. It was. The result? Tender, juicy pork belly slices. The pork skin was not crispy but tender, the same with the fatty parts of the pork. It was okay but I would have preferred for the skin to be crispy. It is healthy, though, so I forgave that result of the air fryer test.
I tested it again this time with baby back ribs. It was unsuccessful. The ribs became dry, the air fryer sucking out the juices from it. My sister cooked half of the baby back ribs using a slow cooker and it was a success! Juicy, fall-off-the-bones delicious!
Is it really worth adding to the number of countertop appliances at home? If you are into fried food, then, yes. Healthier way of frying, sure. If you already have an oven at home, I suggest not to buy an air fryer anymore. An oven will be so much better. Bigger, too. If you don’t have one, then go ahead and get one.
As for me, I think I’d stick with the big oven, our deep fryer, and the slow cooker.