We Need To Have A Conversation About Air Fryers
A reckoning is in need on this crucial societal issue
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The marketing of “Air Fryers” is destroying the very fabric of our culinary foundations. I spend a lot of time making bbq. I will sit by the pit for hours and hours on end, tending a fire, spritzing a brisket with water and vinegar mixture, waiting for the right moment to wrap the meat in butcher paper and then eventually resting the finished brisket in a cooler for upwards of 4 hours. It’s a lot of work and I’m pretty damn proud of the finished product most of the time. I’ll even post pics on Instagram.
When I see someone post a pic of something they made in their “air fryer” you would have thought based on the caption that they just discovered the ver concept of eating food. The enthusiasm far exceeds anything I’ve ever felt making bbq. What the fuck is up with this?
What marketing genius has been able to convince people that they are frying their food with air, and that it is actually the greatest food ever made, simply due to the fact that they used said air fryer to prepare it?
Maybe you aren’t catching onto why I’m frustrated? Do you not see the problem here? I’m about to blow your mind…
Air fryers are fucking ovens.
Convection ovens to be precise. All these goofballs out there raving about how their air fryer makes the best food they’ve ever had think something magical is happening in there. “It’s FRYING”! No, it’s really not. Congrats you made chicken wings in an oven that blows air around the inside.
The gaslighting coming from the air frying fanatics is maddening. I’ve witnessed countless chefs - even ALTON BROWN, who everyone listens to about EVERYTHING when it comes to cooking - argue with air fryer apologists on social media and get nowhere. It’s a religious cult.
Convection ovens are found in every restaurant kitchen in America and beyond. Most decent ovens that you buy for your house nowadays come equipped with a convection setting. They are truly wonderful. It does in fact produce a great end product, because the fan blows inside the oven, distributing heat more evenly and avoiding hot spots. Conventional ovens are terrible for baking bread or cooking using multiple racks. Baguettes get over cooked on the ends, cookies on the bottom rack cook differently than on top. Roasting vegetables or meat is considerably less efficient and effective. Convection is always the way to go, except for very delicate preparations like a custard based desserts for example. Even then, when I was in charge of baking bread and preparing desserts at a restaurant in Baton Rouge, I think I adjusted temps and times to go ahead and use convection to cook my creme brulee. Convection is the best.
What really cracks me up is when someone tells me that their oven has a convection setting and they also own a countertop air fryer. Even more amazing when they try to convince me that they are different. Ok.
That might be the one reasonable argument for owning an “air fryer”. You have a shitty oven with no convection setting and you would like to roast some chicken wings and get them crispy. But can we please stop calling it frying? Frying involves submerging something either partially or fully (deep frying) in hot oil or fat. Frying is one of the greatest discoveries of the culinary world and this technique makes all the best foods. Just let it be. In everyones obsession with coming up with “healthy alternatives” they’ve let themselves believe that oven roasted is now frying. Oven roasted is GREAT! I love roasting. It’s maybe my favorite cooking technique! Roast Chicken is the quintessential dinner that every person should know how to prepare. Give me a convection oven at 500 degrees and we are going to have some damn good food. But if you came to my house and I served up roast chicken - you know what I’m talking about, you’ve seen it on tv, you’ve probably made it, it’s a staple - if I served you that and called it fried chicken you would punch me in the fucking dick. Imagine how mad you’d be if when I invited you over, I advertised that I was serving fried chicken and then what came to the table was some roasted chicken wings? You might call the police on me. You would be right to do so.
I’ll say it - air fryers are Un-American. And if you use one, post on facebook about how you can’t believe how good this fried food is, you are a terrorist.
Yes, air fryers beget terrorism.
We just bought a new house and I renovated the kitchen, including getting a new range. Wanted gas, but long story short it didn’t happen. I went with a Frigidaire induction range. It was the cheapest one on the market that I could find, but I’m quite impressed so far. Big fan of induction. I was also please to see that it has convection settings!
I was deeply disturbed at what I saw right beneath the convection button.
Because the market is so fucking actually stupid, Frigidaire went and put a totally separate setting on their oven setting to do the exact same thing as the button right above it. Fuck y’all.
“OH BOY YOU SEE THAT HONEY IT’S AN AIR FRYER TOO! WE CAN HEALTHY FRY!”
So now I own an air fryer. You’ve made me a fucking terrorist.