I put "owned for" at 2-3 months because, I got this fryer for Christmas 2010 BUT I only Opened it and used it for the first time September 2011. I think I was intimidated by the size of the box, it was HUGE! When I opened it, the fryer was HUGE too! Stands about 18" tall by 12"x12" square. Don't let this scare you!
I didn't really need the instructions, it was all very simple. My first try was chicken wings. I used the minimum amount of oil (1 gal), I did look in the recipe guide to see where to set the temp, but other than that, again very simple. You wait for the light to turn green, this can take 30 minutes or more if your oil has been refrigerated. Drop in your meat, wait till the frying noise gets quieter and the pieces float, use the hooking grabber to lift the basket. Done. NOW I'm fairly short 5'3", and having this sitting on my counter and trying to lift the basket out of the oil with the hooking grabber they provide means I'm lifting way over my head to remove the basket. I had a pan lined with paper towels by the fryer to catch the dripping oil. It was kind of a mess. The 2nd time I used it, I did not take the basket out at all. I CAREFULLY dropped my pieces of chicken in the hot oil and removed them with a fat straining spoon (I have no idea what to call that tool).
This fryer makes the BEST fried chicken and wings. I brined my chicken in salt water before flouring and frying and I had not problems with it drying out. I have not fried an entire bird (chicken or turkey) but I'm looking forward to trying one. I think when I do, I will drag my fryer outside just to be safe and I won't push the size limit, keep it small no bigger than 10 lbs.
Cleaning is very easy, even for somone like me who dreads it! I like that the spigot is high enough that it siphons off the oil without any crumbles that are on the bottom of the pot. Here's my handy tips: #1 When you're draining the oil through the spigot, drain it back into the original gallon jug, you can refrigerate and use the oil several times. #2 When you've filled your jug and turn the shut-off, flip the spigot 1/2 a turn so the hole faces up, this keeps the residual oil in the spigot from dripping on the floor. #3 Rinse the rest of the oil with hot water, spray the pot, basket and heating element with Simple Green, let it set a few minutes and it cleans right up, no scrubbing! (You can get Simple Green in the automotive section of Walmart.)
If I had a con, it would be that the lid doesn't detach. I would like for it to detach to make it a little easier to clean, but wish in one hand... Still pretty easy to clean.
Hope this helps!