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Review: Orka Silicone Mitts – Great for Some Tasks

September 15th, 2009 · No Comments

Orka Silicone Mitt

Orka Silicone Mitt

My sometimes cycling partner Ken Steinhoff watches Woot – a web site that offers deals on some product or another once a day. He’ll occasionally throw one my way that I might bite at – early in the morning because they go fast – since it’s a one-day-only-till-they-run-out sale, so he says.

He teased today’s sale to me: “Any interest in silicone cooking mitts?” he asked.

Today’s Woot deal is for Orka Silicone Mitts — $14.95 for two. It’s a good buy. (Note:You can get them from Amazon if you miss Woot’s sale.)

Named for a shark

The Orka mitt is named for a killer sea creature with a big bite. The “mitt” part is shaped like a shark’s mouth – and it grips stuff like crazy. Hot and wet stuff, we should add — the wet part being the thing that always gets me burned. Picking up a wet pot-holder is frankly dumb — yet I have done it without thinking too many times to count.

The mitt is made of silicone, and heat-proof up to 480 degrees. It’s a long “sleeve” length at 17 inches — thank you, Orka, for that design. It’s not my fingers that usually get burned when I’m baking and cooking, it’s my forearms or the backs of my wrists. Smaller versions are made in 11-inch lengths.

I like this mitt for a few kitchen and grill tasks– removing racks from the hot oven to readjust them or take them out all together, and picking up grill racks on the outside grill. Perfect. You can pick up a whole roasting pan, or lift the turkey or roast from it, and forget flimsy forks and tongs and hot pads. You can un-pan hot breads, holding the pan in one hand, and catching the hot bread in another.

But stiff is not always good

But this is a case where some flexibility would go a long way. The mitts are too stiff to give you confidence in picking up something thin, such as the rim of a cookie sheet, or a long-handled spoon you’ve left in a pot to overheat, or even a delicate loop on a pot lid. The whole big “mouth” of the mitt tries to grab and you can’t get a “finger” grip on things. It results in your dropping things, or approaching a pot lid with a rim grip — not always smart.

They do work at keeping out the heat — you could stick your hand in a pot of boiling water or frying oil and pick up a packet of food  if you wanted to (note the liquids still would drip), but a bamboo-handled skimmer sold for $2 in an Asian market works so much better – and its handle never gets hot.

Still, great for the grill and building fires

I keep a pair of these puppies under the grill and use them for cooking out there. If I built fires on the beach for a clam bake, or in a firepit somewhere, I’d probably welcome them there, too.

Otherwise, for indoor stuff, I think OXO’s Good Grips version is better. They’re silicone, too, although shorter, but still give a more flexible grip.

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