I promised to report back on the new deep fryer, and overall, I’d say I’m very glad we got it. We don’t deep fry regularly for our family, but we do it for parties, and we have parties often enough that this will get sufficient usage to make it worthwhile for us. Deep frying is key for Sri Lankan appetizers, or ‘short eats.’
a) keeps oil at the right temperature, so you don’t have to keep fiddling with turning the heat up and down to try to maintain it as you add / take out food
b) as a result, everything browns evenly to the same color, which I’ve *never* managed before!
c) I feel like I can actually walk away — if I know that browning the meatballs at 374F takes 5 minutes (I don’t know that for certain, because I was distracted and not timing things during party prep, but it’s about that, and I’m sure I’ll fine-tune it with a few more parties), then I can put them in and walk away and go fill the punch bowl or whatever, which is super useful; I never felt confident enough doing that when stovetop deep frying
MISTAKES I MADE:
a) the first batch, I put them in the tray (as pictured), and then lowered them all into the oil together. Don’t do that — the bottoms will stick to the mesh tray. And in fact, the instructions say you should only do that for breaded items, and I forgot. Oops. What you should do is put the tray in, then use a spider (this model comes with three of them, in different sizes) to drop (lower) the items quickly into the oil (careful not to splatter yourself). Then use the tray to lift them all out together, and tongs to lift the pieces out of the tray
b) I *also* managed to make them stick twice, because I rested the tray on a paper towel (as pictured). Don’t do that — especially if any are broken on the bottom, you’ll glue the meatballs / tray to the paper towel. For later ones, I just rested the tray on a plate, and then removed the meatballs to a separate paper-towel lined plate.
You can see the first batch on the left, and the second, non-stuck, batch on the right.
c) When pouring the oil out at the end, Kevin didn’t realize the lid wasn’t on securely, so we had an oil spill that necessitated clean-up. I think that was just our set-up mistake, though. Pour out the oil slowly and carefully, and you’ll be fine.
Really was as easy as they claimed — save the oil container you used, let the automatic filtration filter the oil into it (or you can leave it in the bottom tray and store in a cool place, if you’ll be frying again soon). We weren’t planning to, so we used a funnel to transfer it to a large storage bottle and stuck that under the sink. My mom always kept big corn oil containers under the sink with used oil, specifically for deep-frying only; I think you can use it a few times before it’s time to toss it.
And then all the rest of the pieces, except for the heating elment, go in the dishwasher. They only just barely fit in mine, and we had to do it in two separate loads (filling in with other post-party items), but they did fit, and came out oil-free. The heating element, you wipe down with a damp sponge and let dry, very easy. Pack up and store until needed again.
Obviously, you need to be able to afford the storage space, if you’re not going to be using it regularly, but we do have room in the basement, so that’s where it goes, and I’m glad we got it. I picked this model (T-Fal FR8000, currently $83.99 on Amazon) after reading a lot of reviews, and I’m happy with it for our needs. Link in comments!
(And hey, if any kitchen tool manufacturers (small or large) are reading this and want to send me free stuff to try and honestly review, I’m happy to talk to you…I love gizmos and gadgets. Also fancy ingredients, pretty decor items, etc. and so on…)