If you're the proud owner of a gas stove, you know that pan-fried food items tend to cook at different rates. Especially when you're prepping a lot of food at once (fritters! pot stickers! veggie burgers!), some things are going to start browning faster than others. And that's why owning the Our Place Fry Deck ($30) is maybe the best kitchen accessory since—*gasp*—the air fryer.
One of those beautifully simple inventions, the fry deck sits on top of the fan-favorite Our Place Always Pan ($145) and makes food prep and cooking for large parties simple. Here's how it works: You add whatever you're cooking to the well-oiled pan—let's say tempura-style veggies—and watch as they brown. When certain pieces of tempura are fully cooked, you simply place them onto the fry deck, where excess oil will drip back into the pan.
This no-frills addition to your frying experience also means that you can cook large quantities of food more easily. As soon as you make space on the pan by transferring your tempura onto the fry deck, you can add the next batch and the next—and so on. By the time the oil drips off the last batch, you'll be ready to transfer it to a plate and keep the dinner train rolling. It's a tiny difference in your cooking routine, but hey, sometimes the small switches make all the difference.
The hype for this product is real: The fry deck has collected nearly four and a half stars on the company's website, and people are using the "L" word a lot to gush about this kitchen tool. "So far, we have used the fry deck to drip-dry our breaded chicken cutlets and also empanadas. It works amazing, saves oil, and now we are not wasting a dozen paper towels when frying anything," writes one reviewer.
I couldn't resist trying the product myself, so I readied my trusty Always Pan and found a recipe for chickpea fritters from easy cooking blog Feel Good Foodie. Below, I've chronicled my experience with the fry deck from start to finish for your entertainment. But in the end, my pictures simply couldn't do the food justice, s you'll just have to believe me when I say that everything tasted way better than it looked.
Cooking with the Our Place Fry Deck
I start my journey by making the chickpea fritter dough, a painless process that entails combining all the ingredients in one bowl and mashing them together. Once that's done, I form the dough into six round patties. Just like that, they're ready to go on the pan. I heat up two tablespoons of canola oil and away I go.
After a few minutes, the fritters are nice and brown on one side so I go ahead and flip them. A few more minutes tick by and some of them are ready to go (while some—thank you, gas stove—don't look at all ready). I then place the fry deck over the pan and shepherd the well-cooked fritters onto the fry deck. This also allows me to move the other fritters onto the parts of the pan that are receiving the most heat. Again, a huge win.
In about 10 minutes, the fritters are completely ready to go and I'm hungry for lunch. I serve a couple with tahini, half an avocado, and a couple eggs—and I'm ready to eat.
The verdict on the fry deck
In short, I totally stan the Fry Deck. However, I find the price a little steep for the functionality. Paying $30 for a tool may seem silly when you could just pat your pan-fried goodies dry. But hey, it's definitely more environmentally-friendly than using a paper towel every single time.
One other thing to note is that the fry deck does block half of your cooking surface area, which can be a little bit annoying when you're trying to flip burgers or shuffle things around the pan. This isn't a deal breaker, just a note on its limits.
All in all, I'm glad for this addition to my kitchen. Like I said at the beginning of this now very verbose review, the best kitchen tools are often simple. They rid you of one tiny inconvenience that ends up making cooking a way more enjoyable experience. For the air fryer, it's gaining back time (it cooks everything way faster than the stove); for the Fry Deck, it's a slightly more delightful frying experience.
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