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When You Should Avoid The Air Fryer For Bone-In Cuts Of Meat

whole chicken in air fryer
whole chicken in air fryer - rafa jodar/Shutterstock

As the great Ian Malcolm from "Jurassic Park" once said, "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." The air fryer is a great tool for the modern kitchen, but that doesn't mean it should be the be-all for cooking. While the air fryer can be convenient for cooking bone-in meat, it's not recommended for large cuts because the final results will likely be subpar. One reason for this is that you risk drying out the meat.

When we say large bone-in cuts of meat, we're referring to those large cuts of pork shoulder, standing rib roasts, and whole chickens that you might see on your family table on a Sunday evening. However, even very thick cuts of steak can become withered husks in an air fryer. As a rule of thumb, if a steak is over an inch thick, it's not the best fit (and if it's less than an inch thick, it might also overcook). While you can cook a whole chicken in an air fryer, you risk drying out the breast meat because it takes less time to cook than the thighs. Instead, consider just placing your thicker cuts of meat in the oven. These larger chunks of meat benefit from a slow cook at a lower temperature, which avoids many air fryer pitfalls.

Read more: The Unexpected Meat You Need To Avoid Grilling At All Costs

Avoid Bone-In Cuts That Will Overstuff Your Air Fryer

prime rib roast on board
prime rib roast on board - Nightanddayimages/Getty Images

One of the issues with large cuts of bone-in meat is that you risk overfilling the basket of your air fryer. It's possible that your choice of meat, whether it be whole chicken or roast, won't even fit in your air fryer. Air fryers aren't exactly known for their spacious baskets. On the smaller end, air fryers hold about 2 quarts while larger units may hold 5 quarts or more. Squeezing a big bird into a small basket isn't the best idea.

You'll likely come across recipes for air-fried whole chicken or personal accounts online. However, if that huge cut does fit, cooking it can be inconvenient. The process requires stopping the air fryer every 15 minutes or so to reposition the chicken. You also risk burning it if the bird is so big that it comes too close to the heating coils.

If your meat doesn't have the room it needs, you could end up steaming it or even undercooking it in some places while trying to avoid overcooking it in other spots. You see, an air fryer works by circulating hot air in the basket, which causes your food to cook on all sides. The issue with larger chunks of meat is that the hot air has to cover a larger volume. This leads to uneven cooking with pieces of your roast overcooked or burnt and other parts barely cooked.

Bone-In Meats That You Can Air Fry

t-bone on plate
t-bone on plate - Kajakiki/Getty Images

One thing that these larger bone-in roasts have in common is that they benefit from slow cooking, so using an air fryer isn't ideal. However, you can use the air fryer to cook smaller cuts quickly. Instead of roasting a whole chicken, consider breaking it into small sections. You'll avoid overly stuffing your air fryer. And since you will also be able to cook the breasts and thighs separately, you won't have to worry about the white and dark meat cooking at different speeds.

You can also easily air-fry thinner slices of meats as they'll fit in the air fryer basket and don't require an extensive cooking process. While steak purists may argue against it, you can easily air-fry a t-bone (assuming, of course, it's an inch thick) for a quick dinner. By the same logic, bone-in pork chops should also work. Just add a little olive oil to both meats to promote frying and avoid any sticking during the cooking process.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.