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By now you’re probably familiar with the pastel-hued Always Pan from Our Place, a direct-to-consumer cookware company. (It’s likely all over your Instagram feed, and it’s been covered a lot on this site) It’s been almost two years since I added the nonstick multi-use pan to my cookware collection and I’m still in love with it.
The nonstick surface remains pristine and I often reach for it (and the included steamer basket) when steaming vegetables, dumplings, or fish. While I do wish the design allowed for use in the oven, I still rely on my Always Pan weekly. So when I heard that Our Place was releasing a new accessory for the pan, I obviously volunteered to test it out. (It officially launches today!) Say hello to the limited edition Fry Deck! And then read my honest review.
The package arrived and I wasted no time opening it up. The Fry Deck is a slotted semi-circle made of cast aluminum. It has a nonstick coating and is finished in the same hue as my pan. (It comes in Sage, Blue Salt, Spice, Steam, and Char.) This makes sense because it’s made to be used with the Always Pan and the Perfect Pot. The Fry Deck also comes with a pair of cooking chopsticks for maneuvering fried food out of the oil and onto the deck. With everything unpacked, I poured oil into my pan and searched my fridge, freezer, and pantry for foods to fry.
Normally when I pan-fry or deep-fry, I set up a draining station even before heating the oil. In my kitchen, that means lining a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and placing a cooling rack on top. This way, fried foods are elevated above the towels so the oil drains away and the golden crust remains crisp. Unfortunately, this method also results in a lot of extra dishwashing. While the paper towel liners wick away most of the oil, the baking sheet and rack still require a sudsy splash in the sink before I can even think about putting anything away.
The purpose of the Fry Deck is to eliminate the draining station altogether. The deck fits snugly over one half of the Always Pan and the Perfect Pot. The company recommends placing it on the side of the pan with the smaller, helper handle so that you can maintain use of the longer handle if necessary. As your food fries, you can use the chopsticks to move the pieces from the oil to the Fry Deck above to drain excess oil and cool. Once you are finished, just let the Fry Deck cool completely (remember, it’s made from aluminum so it’ll get hot!) before hand-washing it.
There’s something special about waking up to freshly fried doughnuts or serving hush puppies hot from the oil. Pan-frying (and deep-frying) is a little luxury I wouldn’t mind adding to my weekends more often. The Fry Deck will help me do that. The deck is sturdy and well-made. It nests perfectly over one half of the Always Pan, without fear of shifting over the bubbling oil. The grid is large enough to fit an entire batch of whatever is being fried down below.
The drawback of the Fry Deck is that it does restrict access to half of the pan when it is in place. My pro tip after using the Fry Deck for a while: Fry your doughnuts (or whatever), flip each piece, and then place the Fry Deck on your pan. Once the second side is brown and crisp, lift them onto the rack to drain and cool.
If you already have the Always Pan or a Perfect Pot (or both) and enjoy fried foods, then the Fry Deck is the accessory that can take your cookware to the next level. Loose pun intended. Get it? Because it’s an elevated deck that sits on your pan? I’ll stop. But seriously, try this thing! Hurry, though, because it’s a limited edition.