Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer - first impressions

For Christmas this year, I got our family a Big Boss Oil-less Fryer (model 8605), which was recently on sale at London Drugs.
I hadn't read too closely about the product except that it was about frying with less or no oil. That was good enough for me to want to try it.

After some initial experiments, it appears that the product is essentially a convection oven. A light generates heat and a fan blows it around. There are even baking recipes in the recipe book -- essentially, you are buying an oven. Food gets cooked eventually, but you won't necessarily get the same "deep fried" effect.

"Frying" is accomplished by spraying food with oil, and according to the recipes, generally olive oil is recommended. By coating the food with even a light mist of oil, the heat can then fry the affected surface.
When you normally deep fry food, it gets surrounded in enough hot oil to cook. Here, you don't need that much oil because what oil is on the food is heated by the lamp and hot air.

For various reasons, results have been less than satisfying and far from "fried" so far.

One of the reasons is that the sprayer provided doesn't generally spray a mist as it does spit a jet of oil. A jet of oil splats a small area and isn't very useful. You can end up squirting a lot of oil trying to get just a little bit on the food.
For best results, I have found that if you press quickly and firmly, you get more of a spray, but there is still only a very small radius and a big blob of oil in the centre.

The design of the sprayer is also very annoying. The nozzle has a tendency to turn, which results in the jet squirting into the unnecessary high "collars" around the nozzle and then dripping down into a really tight well that is hard to clean. Did they actually focus test this garbage design?

Even if you do get oil to mist nicely and evenly onto the food, only the top part gets sprayed. You really need to turn all your pieces upside down to mist the other side. A heck of a chore for french fries, especially when you also need to put them in a single layer on the trays. Heaping them (as in the picture) results in some fries protected by others and becoming soggy.

Cooking time is also longer than frying. You may want to look into deep frying with olive oil, which is a less-unhealthy option than deep frying with vegetable oil.

Meanwhile, my experiments will continue...

ADDENDUM (2013-Dec-23): Try the MISTO Gourmet Olive Oil Sprayer.

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