This Air Fryer Has Turned Me Into a 'Do You Have an Air Fryer?' Guy
I did not want to become an air fryer guy. There's an account on TikTok that is all about whether or not you can air fry any given type of food. To be frank, I had purposefully avoided that life. As my friend Scott told me, once you get an air fryer, you are contractually obligated to predominantly talk about everything you can do in it. Homemade french fries. Crispy Brussels sprouts. Fried Oreos. Cloning your pets, etc. But on New Year's Eve, while FaceTiming with my cousin Maggie and her husband, she asked me, "Do y'all have an air fryer?" I begrudgingly told her no. She said, "Oh, you have to get one. It's worth it for the wings alone." About thirty minutes later, just before midnight, my phone lit up with a text: Your air fryer will be there on Monday. Love you.
New year. New me. My name is Justin, and I'm an air fryer guy now.
The air fryer that Maggie got my partner and me is a Chefman, and we were immediately obsessed. Depending on how intense you want to get with your air frying, this brand has devices with capacities ranging from two liters to eight quarts. That's a lot of food to be cooked. But the fascinating part of an air fryer is that, in theory, it removes some of the oil and grease from the making of your fried foods. Now, listen—that's not going to save me when it comes to the double-dip breading on my wings, but it does eliminate the better part of the grease they cook in. But this air fryer life is something greater. And the Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer is a great, compact fryer to welcome into your home.
Pull up a chair. Let's talk about why.
The non-stick rack that holds your food allows for any additional grease to drop down. It also allows for maximum air circulation.
Hot as you want it—as fast as you want it.
An air fryer works similarly to a convection oven. It moves hot air around the food, as opposed to slowly heating it from one source. That means that in the Chefman, the food that you put into the basket is getting a 360-degree heat treatment (provided you let your food have the room—do not overcrowd). The TurboFry has a dial that takes the temperature up to 400 degrees. But what makes Chefman stand out is that unlike a lot of air fryers on the market, it does not require pre-heating time, so if you need to cook something at 400 degrees for, say, 15 minutes, you literally put it in for 15 minutes, set the temperature, and in 15 minutes, you're good.
The removable drawer is insanely easy to clean and has a cooking rack that pops right out. Pro-tip: Take the extra minute to wash it by hand so it lasts longer.
How little oil does this thing need? Very little.
The big health draw of an air fryer is that it largely removes oil from the equation. I, personally, did not believe this, because we live in a time of conspiracy theories and whatnot. Can one really fry without oil? Turns out, the answer is yes. With just about a cap full of cooking oil, a whole pound of chicken wings can go into your fryer without any fear of sticking or drying out.
The temperature goes up to a steamy 400 degrees, which is hot enough to do any frying. The dual knob also controls cook time.
It's easy to clean. Seriously.
Growing up in the South, I love fried food. That also means that I loathe making fried food, because it's one of the messiest clean-ups in the kitchen game. Pouring grease into your drain is a fast way to clog your pipes forever. Hell, I'm convinced that if your frying pan gets within four feet of the sink, all your dirty dishes will be covered in grease. But with the Chefman, the clean-up is unusually easy. Take out the removable cooking drawer and wipe it out with a bit of grease-removing dish soap, then rinse clean. Best of all, the Chefman TurboFry Air Fryer is compact. Nestle it right in line with the rest of your countertop appliances, and you're ready to go.
Not everyone can have a Maggie, so the next step is on you. But with a price point of around 60 bucks (currently $45 on Amazon!), cooking homemade fries and chicken wings has never felt so guiltless. You just have to accept that this is your personality now. Sorry, I don't make the rules. I just cook the chicken.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.