Don't Make This Easy Meat Mistake With Your Air Fryer

While the air fryer was rolled out at a fair in Berlin in 2010, it was not until around 2015 that this low-fat fryer became the newest kitchen fad, according to the Chicago Tribune. While some consumers found the new gadget on their own, its popularity was surely cinched once the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Emeril Lagasse, and finally, Oprah espoused its efficiency for frying (via Grub Street).

If you haven't jumped on the air fryer bandwagon yet, you may be asking: What is an air fryer, and how does it work? Some will say that it's just another version of a convection oven, while others enthusiastically praise the air fryer as an essential kitchen appliance. As with most divisive debates, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Taste of Home explains that while the air fryer is similar to a convection oven, the difference is that an air fryer's fan helps heat to circulate quickly. Food resting in its basket gets quick and even heat, resulting in a crispness that's challenging to create in a convection oven. Food is, admittedly, not actually fried, but home cooks can achieve a closer rendition of their favorite fried foods without the added oil associated with deep frying.

So how healthy is air fried food? WebMD estimates that air frying reduces fat significantly and can cut calories by up to 80%. Cleveland Clinic notes the same while also adding that air fryers can reduce both cooking and cleanup time.

The meat mistake not to make

There's certainly no shortage of air fryer recipes to make the absolute best use of your air fryer, from meat and vegetables to fish or fries. You can whip up some maple bacon brussels sprouts or air fryer baked sweet potatoes as quick side dishes, or even make a whole pizza in your air fryer. Get breakfast to the table faster, too, by making bacon in your air fryer while scrambling your eggs.

The key to making savory food fast in this quasi-fryer, though, is to let the machine work its magic. If you put too much food in your air fryer you risk reducing the amount of convection around the contents of your fryer, nullifying the advantage of using the appliance.

Taste of Home recommends leaving lots of room for air to circulate, especially when cooking meat. While you might be able to get away with piling veggies sky high (if you just want them cooked quickly and don't care about the crispiness), meats require more maintenance. So if you're making air fryer chicken, roast beef, or other meats, it's best to give them some space in the basket.