So, you just finished basic training and arrived at your first duty station, only to find your barracks room leaves much to be desired in the kitchen appliance department. My first barracks room only had a microwave and a sink, and back in 2010, there were few stand-alone appliances that were simple, versatile, and inexpensive: enter the mighty Air Fryer.
You may be asking yourself, “what the heck is an Air Fryer?” Well, I’m sure glad you asked. The air fryer is basically a mini-oven that cooks food through the process of convection. The heater core circulates hot air throughout the main area of the air fryer, getting food extra hot and crispy in a very short amount of time compared to a traditional oven, and does not require food to be submerged in oil in order to actually fry it.
Inside most air fryers will be a raised basket that allows the hot circulating air to move throughout the entire surface of the food being cooked. It is a stand-alone appliance, meaning that you only need a standard outlet to use the air fryer. It takes up a very limited amount of space; about the size of a normal crockpot or pressure cooker. It is also insanely easy to clean; needing only soap and water in most cases.
The air fryer is capable of cooking a wide array of foods to perfection. I had heard about people cooking steaks in the air fryer–*gasp*–so I tried it. After I pulled out the golden brown, glistening, sizzling steak, I knew I had made a huge mistake: I had rendered the BBQ grill in my backyard utterly useless. I turned in my Man Card that day and haven’t looked back.
I have gone on to cook many different cuts of steaks in the air fryer, the best being the almighty T-Bone, with the perfect amount of fat on it that greatly flavors the remaining meat while cooking. I usually just add a bit of salt and pepper prior to throwing them into the air fryer, that’s it.
Other items I have personally cooked are as follows; sweet potato fries, russet potato fries, crispy brussel sprouts, kale chips, homemade chicken tenders, bbq chicken breasts, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, jalapeno poppers, zucchini, potato chips, flaky halibut, reheated pizza to perfection, shrimp fajitas, and amazing chicken wings. This is just the beginning of the possible foods you can cook with the Air Fryer; the recipes are endless.
The air fryer also eliminates the need for a microwave as you can reheat food more evenly throughout, as compared to the ol’ nuker. The only two things that I have personally run across that either need to be modified, or should not be cooked at all, are; items normally fried with liquid batter as it essentially falls off the food the minute it’s placed in the air fryer, and raw leafy vegetables as they wilt to a degree that leaves them inedible.
So why is the Air Fryer perfect for that #BarracksLife? The Air Fryer is a great barracks kitchen companion because of the multitude of foods it can cook, the minimal amount of space it takes up, it’s so easy to clean even an E-4 can do it, only requires a standard outlet for operation, and it’s great for those PFC’s on a budget.
If you’re a fan of the Air Fryer and have some recipes to share; be sure to post them in the comments!
Editor’s Note: Different commands maintain different rules regarding kitchen appliances in the barracks. Be sure to check with yours before buying any new cooking gear.
Feature image courtesy of Aaron Yoo on Flickr