I do most of the cooking at our house.
Our kitchen is small, and we don’t have a lot of room for countertop appliances.
I’ve read about air fryers, but I really hadn’t given them much consideration.
When I was asked to review the Proscenic T21 Air Fryer ($129), I wasn’t sure it was techie enough to warrant a review, but then I read it could be controlled by Amazon’s Alexa, and that was enough for me.
I’ve really wanted to try an air fryer, and I am sold on the fast cooking and convenience.
The T21 is on the large side for air fryers — the basket holds 5.8 quarts.
As I’m writing this, I just put five large chicken drumsticks in the basket, and they filled the bottom.
The food basket is made of aluminum and is coated with nonstick material. It’s dishwasher safe.
The food basket separates from the drawer for cleaning. There is a plastic safety cover over the button that separates the basket from the drawer. You are warned not to press the button unless the drawer is supported from below, because if you do, the drawer will drop to the floor.
Cleanup is simple. You can either wash the basket or put it in the dishwasher. The drawer isn’t dishwasher safe, but it does have a nonstick coating. You clean it with soap and warm water and let it dry.
If you’ve never used an air fryer, it really is easy. Once you power it on, there are only two controls — the cooking time and temperature.
When you power it on, the T21 defaults to 370 degrees and 15 minutes, but there are plus and minus buttons for each to quickly set the time and temperature for what you are cooking.
You start cooking by pressing a play/pause button.
There are also preset buttons across the top of the control panel. Presets include french fries, shrimp, pizza, chicken, fish, steak, cake and bacon.
There are also buttons to preheat and keep warm.
WiFi and Alexa
You can use the T21 from the control panel, but it also has WiFi so it can talk to the free Proscenic app.
The app lets you remotely control all the cooking functions, and it includes some recipes.
The Wi-Fi also lets the T21 connect to Amazon’s Alexa, so you can control the air fryer with your voice.
I didn’t find much use for the app or the Alexa integration.
Cooking with an air fryer is not something you can do remotely. You need to be there to put your food in the fryer. I can’t think of anything I’d load into the fryer to cook several hours later.
You also need to be there to check on it and to take it out.
I suppose it would be useful for remotely enabling “keep warm” if you’re busy when the timer is finished. You can also use the app or Alexa to see how much time is left or to change the temperature.
I’m sure air fryer veterans can think of more remote uses, but you don’t need to use the app at all.
As I said above, the T21 has a 5.8-quart capacity. It has a temperature range of 170 to 400 degrees.
It uses 1,700 watts of electricity when it’s running. At my house, I quickly learned not to run the microwave and T21 at the same time — it tripped the kitchen breaker.
It measures 12.3 by 12.4 by 12.8 inches and weighs 13 pounds.
I really enjoyed cooking in it, and I spent quite a bit of time searching for air fryer recipes.
By the way, my chicken drumsticks turned out great. They were crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I sprayed them with olive oil, sprinkled on Italian seasoning and cooked them at 380 for 10 minutes and then turned them over and cooked them at 400 for another 10 minutes.
I also had good results cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen cauliflower and frozen breaded chicken nuggets. The nuggets even had air fryer heating instructions on the bag (5 minutes at 390 degrees).
Now I’m on the lookout for the next thing to cook in the air fryer. If you have any favorites, please email them to me.
Pros: Large capacity, nonstick cooking surfaces are easy to clean, simple to use.
Cons: Didn’t find much use for the app or Alexa integration.
Bottom line: Large and easy to use. I think I’m an air fryer convert.
Thermoworks Thermapen ONE
I cook a lot of meat, and it is crucial to have a good probe thermometer so you know exactly when to pull that steak or brisket off the heat.
When I was reviewing the air fryer, most recipes call for cooking for a set amount of time, then continuing the cooking until the food reaches a certain internal temperature.
I’ve been using a Thermoworks Thermapen probe thermometer for years.
The Thermapen is among the best tools you can have in your kitchen.
Knowing the temperature of your food is not only good for cooking a perfect medium rare steak, it can also make sure your casserole has reached a safe temperature.
The best feature of the Thermapen is the quick readout. My original Thermapen returns accurate temperatures in 2 to 3 seconds.
How do you top that? By making it faster.
I’ve been testing the new Thermapen ONE ($105), which looks a lot like the earlier models, but it is very much improved.
First, you’ll get temperature readings in just one second. Those readings will be accurate within half a degree.
The backlit display measures 1 by 1.54 inches and the display rotates 360 degrees so it’s always easy to read.
The probe measures 4.3 inches, and it folds for easy storage.
The Thermapen ONE has motion sensing. It will sleep after a few seconds when you set it down and wake up when you pick it up.
You can set the sleep time from 10 to 180 seconds.
The Thermapen ONE is shock-proof, dust-proof and waterproof. It runs on one AAA battery.
It’s a great gift for anyone who cooks. I bought one for my dad several years back, and he used it every time he fired up his smoker.
It will absolutely change your cooking for the better.
Pros: Easy to use, fast, accurate, rotating backlit display.
Bottom line: There is no better or faster probe thermometer.