Our Place Fry Deck review
There’s a new accessory for the famous Always Pan—we tried it
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And that excitement is well-founded; after testing Our Place products, we understood the hype behind the IG-famous brand's Always Pan, Perfect Pot, knife trio, and cutting board. All products performed well in our tests, proving they're more than just a pretty face.
So, when it came time to test the latest product to come from Our Place's lineup—the Fry Deck—my hopes and expectations were understandably sky-high.
What is the Our Place Fry Deck?
Joining the lineup of other Our Place accessories, the Fry Deck extends the many existing capabilities of the Always Pan and Perfect Pot to make easier work of both deep- and pan-frying. It's made to ease the frying experience, acting as a drip tray on which to rest your freshly fried food, while the oil drips back into the pot, leaving less of a mess when it comes to plating and serving.
The 11-by-5-inch attachment is made of cast aluminum and coated in nontoxic, nonstick ceramic—similar to what's used on Our Place's cookware. That means it gets pretty hot to the touch while in use, keeping food warm while the oil drains off.
The Fry Deck was shipped with some handy instructions on how to use and care for the product, like where to place it on the Always Pan and Perfect Pot, how to wash it, and how to safely handle it while hot. It also comes with a set of wooden chopsticks to use while frying (the brand cautions against using metal utensils in its cookware).
What I like about the Fry Deck
It fits snugly to Our Place cookware
A fantastic plus to all of Our Place accessories—like the Flipping Platter and Spruce Steamer—is the peace of mind that comes with knowing it will fit into the meticulously crafted nooks and crannies of the cookware. And this add-on is no exception.
Placing it on the Always Pan was as satisfying as fitting in the final piece of a puzzle, and once it was attached, it pretty much stayed put. Swishing the pan to evenly distribute oil and tilting it to retrieve residual crumbs did not disconnect it from its place.
It eliminates paper towel waste while frying
For me, one of the more alluring features of the Fry Deck was the idea of ditching oily paper towels that I'd been accustomed to using to absorb excess oil after frying. I was more than ready to say goodbye to the mess and unnecessary waste that came with this habit, but wasn't sure whether this tool would do the trick. I was elated when I realized it did.
During my test, I shallow fried a batch of homemade breaded eggplant patties—which typically carry a lot of oil from the pan to the plate after frying. I was pleasantly surprised to notice that after leaving them on the Fry Deck for a minute or two, there was almost no residual oil on the plate where I placed them—which would've been pooled in it otherwise.
The only time I did have to use a paper towel during this test was to wipe down the Fry Deck between batches, which had collected oil drops that stuck to the nonstick coating and didn't fall through the cracks. (Of course, I could have used a rag or something similar instead here to avoid waste.)
Its nonstick coating makes it easy to clean
Our Place recommends a gentle hand wash before and after use to keep the Fry Deck fresh. And although you can't toss it in the dishwasher (or, at least, it's not recommended), a quick hand wash using the natural sponge that comes with Our Place cookware does the trick here. Its special coating means clean-up is a breeze, even if it means spending a couple of extra minutes at the sink.
What I don’t like
It’s difficult to get around the Fry Deck while cooking
Frying a small serving of food (read: small enough to fit on the Fry Deck all together) means working with this tool is a breeze: You fry everything like you normally would, then attach the Fry Deck and let everything drain together before serving.
But things change as your batch gets bigger. It becomes almost impossible to remove and replace the Fry Deck continuously while frying, due to its oily nature and intense heat. That means once it's on, it's on—and covering almost half of the circumference of the pan. And while its size leaves plenty of room for drip-drying batches of fried foods back into the oil, it also makes it more difficult to flip foods while they're frying—particularly if they're cooking right underneath the grate.
So as I fried my batch of two dozen-plus eggplant patties, I found myself struggling to maneuver them around the pan and flip the food as it cooked, as the Fry Deck had become somewhat of an obstacle. I also had to pay special attention to avoid accidentally bumping my hand on the Fry Deck in the process, which gets extremely hot at high temperatures due to its makeup of cast aluminum. (Miraculously, I made it out without a burn, but got close a few times.)
I debated only using the uncovered half of the pan in order to avoid this awkward maneuvering, but that would've taken even more time—and with almost 30 patties to fry, the frying process had already taken me an hour.
The chopsticks aren't an ideal partner for all foods
I was initially excited to see that the Fry Deck came with wooden chopsticks as a frying tool, especially since I'm used to frying with forks and other metal tools, which couldn't be used in the Always Pan. And given that I've eaten enough sushi and Vietnamese bún throughout the years to feed an army, I felt pretty confident with a set of chopsticks in my hand.
But I quickly realized that using chopsticks for the frying process wouldn't be as easy as I expected. Especially when it comes to something as delicate (and prone to falling apart) as eggplant patties, it was almost impossible to successfully use the chopsticks to pick them up and flip them without anything falling apart.
I ended up using silicone-covered tongs in place of the chopsticks, and concluded that having wooden tongs as an additional tool with the Fry Deck would've been ideal. Because while I'm sure the chopsticks would've been a breeze to use for things like dumplings or deep-fried tempura (their length proved they'd work just as well to deep-fry in the Perfect Pot), some frying subjects are too temperamental for chopsticks.
Is Our Place's Fry Deck add-on worth it?
Yes, especially if you don't typically fry in large batches
Even though I encountered a hiccup or two, I still found the Fry Deck to be a worthwhile investment for Our Place cookware owners (who love to fry). It lives up to its promise of replacing the soggy paper towel routine, while keeping ultra-crispy food warm while it dries. The placement of the deck might be an issue if you're cooking in large batches, but otherwise it's a snug fitting add-on that can make anything from falafel to fried chicken an easier, less messy experience.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.