Pros: Uses less oil; constant temperature; less mess; easy draining
Cons: Fog on viewing window; accumulation of oil
Rating: 4 out of 5
First posted 7/1/2000
I admit it, we love fried foods. No matter how much we tell ourselves to eat more healthily, my fiancee and I keep coming back to fried foods. Recently we saw an episode of one of our favorite cooking shows, “Good Eats,” that was all about frying. In it, the host, Alton Brown, recommended the rotating deep fryer. We’d been thinking about getting one for some time, but weren’t sure we really needed it.
We were wrong.
The difference is amazing. No more smell of grease on the air. And do you remember that faint feel of grease on your skin after frying? Not with this handy device. Not only that, but no more splattering hot oil on yourself, your glasses, and the entire surface of the stove!
Rotating fryer basket: Supposedly the rotating fryer basket helps to reduce oil absorption. I don’t know about that, but certainly the level of oil in the base doesn’t seem to drop much over the course of frying. It also reduces the amount of oil you need to use, which is nice. In addition you can filter and re-use (once or twice, anyway) the oil through a handy filter basket, so you’ll use even less oil.
The rotating fryer basket does work quite well. It rotates slowly and constantly, never gets stuck, and does seem to help things cook more evenly. The only two (slight) problems we’ve had are that some foods stick to the fryer basket and some foods that float on the oil don’t cook quite so evenly.
You can solve most instances of the first problem by dropping wet foods straight into the oil; the hot oil will seal them and keep them from sticking to the basket much. Then be gentle when prying them loose. You can solve most instances of the second problem by opening the fryer up halfway through and flipping any foods that are floating.
Temperature and cleaning: The fryer also keeps the oil at a constant temperature – something else that helps to reduce oil absorption and cook better food. It has a viewing window so you can see when food is done. It tends to fog up early on, but as food nears the “done” point it usually clears up.
Draining the thing and cleaning the inside is surprisingly easy. You open up the little cleaning hose near the base and drain out the oil. Then you gently wash it with soap and water, allowing the water to drain out through the same hole. You clean out the hose with a provided plastic rod, and then allow the whole thing to dry.
However, oil tends to very slowly accumulate on the outside–slowly enough that you don’t tend to notice until it’s all gummed up and nasty, by which time it’s a real pain to clean. It can help to take a little fresh oil and rub the old oil with it, then use a hot wet cloth and some mild suds to wash off the fresh oil. However, since you can’t immerse the thing, it will still tend to accumulate nastiness in various tiny nooks and crannies on the outside over time. This is the only real negative we experienced with this fryer, but it definitely became a noticeable problem over time.