Using an Electric Skillet
Many different foods can be cooked in one. According to the description of certain electric skillets, they can be used to roast, fry, grill, stew, bake, make casseroles and more.
Unlike some other AC-powered cooking devices, most of these can be completely immersed in water for easy cleaning.
Before you buy and use such a device in your 18-wheel tractor trailer, here are some tips to bear in mind.
|Most electric skillets are
described in terms of inches:
We have found that we can cook about twice as much ground beef in our larger rectangular unit as the smaller square unit. If you are not concerned about cooking large amounts of food, a smaller device might work for you.
The size of your electric skillet may limit where you can store it in your truck. Mike stores his device under the bunk
Because the lid fits snugly, the unit does not rattle even on the roughest of roads.
Some people claim that one of the benefits of using an electric skillet is its ability to heat foods evenly. Please observe the heating element on the bottom of our large rectangular device.
Now, please observe how water heats up in the device.
You will see that the water boils at the point where the heating element is directly below. To us, this device does not heat as evenly as a pot does on our stove burner.
|It is convenient to be able to see food while it is cooking. Some electric skillet lids have see-through tops. We seldom actually observe food cooking through the lid on ours because of its size and location (directly under the large black handle).|
It is also convenient for the lid to include a steam vent, as ours does (shown here with the vent "open").
Bear in mind the materials in the lid and its handle or knob.
|One of the biggest
inconveniences in using an electric skillet is either holding the lid
or finding a place to set it down during the cooking cycle, such as
when the food within needs to be stirred. If you need to use both hands
(one to stir, one to hold the unit), you'll need to set down the lid.
Mike's square unit does not have a built-in lid holder, but our larger rectangular unit does. See how the extension on the lid fits into the hole on the handle, allowing it to be propped up so that the condensation can run back into the base.
Many cooking devices these days have some form of non-stick coating.
Please observe from this photo how the non-stick coating in our large rectangular electric skillet is peeling, especially in the corners.
One of the most popular non-stick surfaces on cookware is Teflon. You need to be aware of the health risks associated with the use of this product. For your convenience we are providing a link to the article from Dr. Joseph Mercola (on another site) entitled "Teflon Lawsuit Slides Off DuPont."
We do not recommend any specific alternative non-stick coating. If you find that the coating in your electric skillet is peeling, you may choose to have a company reapply it.
Handles and Legs
On some AC-powered units, such as the one shown on this page, the hard plastic parts that are attached via screws to the bottom are a combination of handles and legs.
Depending on the device's usage and the design of the handle/leg, this part can break easily. One day when we had only the one square electric skillet in our home, Vicki was drying it and accidentally dropped it on the floor. One of the handles/legs broke.
The cost to replace it (with shipping) was more than she wanted to spend. She attempted to glue it but the glue didn't hold. Mike eventually took that unit on the road. It was during one of Vicki's trips with Mike that she used duct tape to tape the two broken pieces together. Granted, we would never want to immerse the duct tape in water, but the cheap fix worked until the unit was replaced with a new one.
There are companies that sell replacement appliance parts. If you are intent on buying a replacement part, consider whether or not you have to buy two at a time and if this is a good value for you. Believe it or not, we still have the second replacement handle/leg of a unit that we no longer own! Having to buy two replacement parts for the now-discarded appliance led Vicki to just duct tape the broken handle/leg of Mike's unit.
|You will want to follow the
manufacturer's instructions for seasoning your electric skillet.
Also, always use the right kind of utensils.
Be aware that the use of metal utensils may shorten the life of any cooking device containing a non-stick coating.
Some people prefer using nylon, melamine or silicon utensils for cooking.
It may also be easier if you to buy a set of utensils all made of the same material.
Please do your own due diligence before buying utensils.
|Of particular importance to
professional truck drivers is the amount of energy required to operate
your electric skillet.
While there are some 12-volt devices on the market, we do not recommend them for the same reasons we outlined on our Pot-n-Pop page.
We believe you would be better served buying an AC-powered unit plugged into your inverter. However, make sure that the energy it draws is no more than what the inverter can provide.
|This image shows that our large rectangular electric skillet draws 1500 watts (see "1500W" on the top line in the middle). Since Mike has a 1500 watt inverter, he can use this device in his truck.|
|Mike enjoys using an electric
skillet in his truck for cooking certain foods
Of all the cooking devices in his truck, he uses an electric skillet about 10% of the time. He used to mostly use a microwave oven, but now enjoys using his Kitchen Kettle hot pot the most. For more on these appliances, please see our meal preparation page.
Unless the food that you're preparing in your electric skillet is fairly dry, clean up can be a real challenge. For example, getting rid of grease run-off, such as that from a grill can be especially challenging. You'll want to be prepared with the right tools for the job.
|Money saving tip:
Consider the foods that you will be cooking to determine if there is a
device that can fix it faster or more easily. Instead of using any
appliance with a 12-volt plug, we recommend using a standard AC-powered
appliance plugged into a battery-connected inverter.
Compare the features of the devices you are considering, including their warranties. You do not want to buy a device that is too big or too small to meet your needs. Look carefully at the design of the units you're considering, to see if they will hold up to the rigors of life on the road. A sturdier unit, though more expensive up front, may be a better investment over time.
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