Pros: No oil overflowing, fast oil heating, looks good, cooked my food 100% and tasted great
Cons: Temp controller not really accurate Handle gets fairly warm Short electrical cord
I read many reviews on many deep fryer models and decided to go with the Philips Deep Fryer Deluxe model number HD6153. I bought it at Target of which they had several in stock on Feb. 16th, 2003. Apparently Target is the only store to carry these. This is my first impression as a 30 year old married man with 1 child who loves to cook. I give this fryer a 4.5 out of a 5 star rating. The first thing I cooked was a pound of breaded okra. I thawed the okra in the microwave first to get rid of all the ice build up on it. Heated the fryer up to 375 degrees (its max setting), using a 50-50% ratio of peanut and vegetable oil that I bought in a big 5 gallon tub at GI-Joes. Once the oil was at temp. I put the okra in. After 5 minutes it was wonderfully deep golden colored and I removed it and put it on a plate with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil. This cooker has a very large viewing window on its top that although it fogs up in the first minute of cooking making it very hard to see the food inside, the fog went away soon after and you can see whats going on very nicely. The okra turned out GREAT! A little ketchup and I was very impressed. Crispy and not too oily at all. My next item was to fry up some french fries. I cut up one potato, skin and all into thin slices, more like potato chips than fries. Cooked it for 4 min. on 320 degrees and then lifted them out to heat up the oil to 375 and cooked them for 2 more minutes. They came out very crispy and quite good! Nice golden color too. I cut up a 2nd potato into thick pegs, more traditionally styled, and did the same. Not quite as crisp, but with a little salt, just as good as any restraunt would serve, without the added sugar!
Now for some technical observations During heating and cooking, there was visible smoke coming from the top and you could smell the cooking oil through out the room but only about half as much as you could if you were frying in a conventional frying pan. I then put the fryer under my vented stove top hood and that took care of the problem. The fryer has a great safety cord that will magnetically detach itself incase a little kid pulled on it for example, so the fryer wouldnt tip over and burn the kid. Its very modern looking and looks nice in my kitchen. One thing that almost startled me was when I took out my first batch of okra, the handle was very warm, not too hot to touch but warm enough to make you say, "Hugh, that's warm, I wonder if it's supposed to get that warm" Also the electrical cord is quite short and may be inconvenient in some situations, but I think Philips did that as a safety precaution. Out of curiosity, I also bought a deep fry thermometer ($9.00) to test the oil temperature on various settings. I noticed that when turned all the way up (375 degrees) the deep fry thermometer read 390 degrees at the time the heating element light turned off. When the light then turned back on again, the oil was at 340 degrees. All without touching the temp setting of 375 degrees. So, its not exactly a super accurate appliance given it has a 50 degree tolerance (+/- 25 degrees from its set point), but it still cooked that okra as good as okra can be cooked! The heating element is long and nicely coiled and flattened for maximum heat transfer and the oil was heated in less than 10 minutes, and in only 1 minute from 340 degrees back up to 390 degrees (with the lid open!). The pan is removable and can be washed in the dishwasher along with the fry basket and a quick wipe with a paper tower was all that was needed to clean the rest of the unit up.
For $69.00 I feel like I bought a decent fryer for the money. It was easy to find (If you have a Target store close by) and I look forward to many more yummies in the future.
-Mike Carlson (AKA WW_Dagger)
*** UPDATE as of 4-29-2003 ***
The element on my fryer has burned out about a month into using it, or in about 7 uses. The unit just wont heat up anymore. This could be a flaw in my own individual unit, or it could be a flaw in the whole model design, I don't know. I will be taking it back to Target for a refund. (I'm not exchanging it because my wife put me on weight watchers and deep fryed foods are out of the question :-()