Do you have a deep fryer?
I am contemplating getting one. Do you have one? How often do you use it? What do you do with the oil after? I heard you can save it. I imagine myself making tempura, chicken wings, french fries, fried fish... I don't know if its worth getting. Help me decide. Thanks.
I've had two in the past, and agree with the comments on many threads on the subject that they seldom reach the advertised maximum temperature, take a long time to come back up to temp when you add food, take up counter space, and don't last. A heavy guage aluminum or copper sauce pan and a clip-on thermometer works for me. And a grease keeper is a good investment:
Having used the stove-top and electric deep-fryer methods over the years, my preference is for the stand-alone deep fryer because i feel that having the lid really does cut down on the grease that inevitably escapes into the air and can build up on ceilings, light fixtures and cause lingering odours etc.
Based on past experiences, our next unit will have:
- a filter, which really does cut down on the household odour
- a liner that is dishwasher safe - it was a huge deterrent to use knowing units were not to be immersed in water or, dishwasher safe.
- a good reputation for regulating temperature
I have seen some that drain from the bottom and would be interested to hear of folks experience with these units.
I bought a Krups deep fryer from Williams Sonoma for 299.00. You can't beat it. The only one on the market with a full NO FOG window that I'm aware of. I cook all sorts of things in it. Really does french fries great, and as I'm a fisherman fries my stripers like nothing I've used before. Simply the best on the market, and I've tried most of them so far. Happy cooking.
I just bought a Waring DF250 for about $60 on Ebay. I have had various "home" models before but this is MUCH better. 1800 watts, large capacity and virtually all of it can go into the dishwasher. It is bulky and needs a nice shelf in the garage to live in while not in use. The problem with stove top solutions (le Creuset etc) is recovery time and capacity. I have made the best fried chicken and french fries ever! I even bought a gallon of duck fat from Hudson Valley for special Thanksgiving fries. Yum!
PS This is where your kitchen vent fan earns its money!
I have a delonghi, and find it very handy, usually use it about twice a month for french fries, or rings when it's vidalia season. I like it because I can use it in the garage, and not get the fry smell all over the house. I replace the oil every couple of months, or when there's too many bits floating around. Cleanup isn't any worse than using a dutch oven....Oil stays in the unit between frys
I have a deep fryer and I love it. I used to use my wok for most frying, but the deep fryer is superior when I need to fry in bulk. As someone who entertains often, I appreciate being able to quickly turn out hot appetizers or platters of fried chicken. I find, also, that with a deep fryer, I think more creatively about my food, more whimsically, now that I have the equipment to create chorizo fried chicken or fried Coca-Cola if I wanted.
If you do buy one, spend a little extra and get a good one. I bought a cheapie for my son and it was a disaster. It cooked unevenly and was a real pain to clean plus since it was small it really limited the amount of food that could be fried.
We eventually threw it out. I rarely fry now due to a stupid low salt/low cholesterol diet (do I sound bitter? cause I am!) but when I do, like the other posters I use a dutch oven.
The nice thing about the dutch oven is that it has more than one use so if storage is at a premium, it doesn't take up valuable real estate.
Before I got married I went shopping at Macy's for housewares with my fiance and his mother (oh the horrors, I know). I was eyeing a deep fryer with visions of fried chicken, eggplant tempura, and donuts dancing in my head until my mother-in-law to be said "I remember buying a deep fryer before I got married...that was back when Daddy (her husband) had a 34 inch waist'. Yeah, that 34 inches has doubled by now. No deep fryer for me!
I had a Cuisinart deep fryer; really liked it. But my wife hates the odor of hot oil in the house so I had to use it outside on the deck and that motivated me to give it to someone else. I still deep fry, but I use my cast iron dutch oven heated on my camp stove (on the same deck) and just don't do it as often as I used to.
Keeping the oil can be difficult. If you cook meat or sea food in the oil it should not be re-used more than, in my experience, twice. Even then, I refrigerate it between uses and if I haven't used it within a month I just toss it out. If I'm deep frying starchy items (donuts, funnel cakes, french fries, etc.) I have been able to keep the oil in the refrigerator for a couple of months. Read what you can find on straining/filtering used oil and storing it. The Internet is full of material on that subject.
If you get a deep fryer, make sure it has a temperature setting capability above 375 degrees. Not that you'll use it, but it gives you greater lattitude at the top end of your temperature control. Most I've used that read "375" never truly reach and maintain that temperature.
I have a Waring Pro. It's a really good fryer with great features and it's a pain in the a...It's big, heavy and difficult to clean. I envisioned myself as you have but it turned out to be so much trouble, I just gave up. If I had it to do over, I would just buy a nice enamel Dutch oven with which I could multitask. As far as the oil, I simply pour it through a coffee filter in a funnel and back into the original container. I then freeze it. I recommend you get a good pot, thermometer and spider.
Every time that the subject comes up in our home, we end up having a wee, um, "discussion". The hubster thinks that it would be a wonderful addition, while I disagree. If I had a huge kitchen, with room to store the damned thing, I'd probably cave.
For now, I deep fry in a massive flat-bottomed, non-stick wok. It's useless to use a wok, but it's dandy for deep frying. The narrow bottom gets the oil heating quickly, and the larger diameter of the upper area gives me a good big surface for frying. If you're going to use a pot of some sort, thing wide and deep. Leave lots of headspace over the oil so that if something bubbles or pops, you won't have an incident on your hands.
I don't use a thermometer, but I've been frying for years, and so I'm confident with my skill level. A trip to Chinatown, or an Asian grocery will thrill you with the vast number of implements for sale, specifically designed to lift food from hot oil.
It's fun, but be safe. And use a thermometer, at least to start. Have a fire extinguisher ready, as well as a lid large enough to clap down on your pot if something goes agley.
I have a deep fryer but I rarely use it. I prefer to deep fry in a turkey fryer or a heavy duty Dutch oven. I keep the oil to use again if it has not burned or hasn't taken on too much of a funky flavor that comes from too much use; filter & store in labled glass or plastic jars once cooled. If I've cooked fish or seafood, I keep separate from oil used to cook neutral items like chicken or breaded veggies.
It's worth getting if you're going to use it on regular basis but I've cooked everything you've mentioned by my alternate method. I won mine in a recipe contest so didn't spend any money.
+1 with Cherylptw. DH bought me one several years back, but I think I have used it twice, and I really don't have the space for a lot of gadgets (I don't even have a food processor yet - go figure). You might be better off investing in a good deep fry thermometer and a deep fry spatula.
I have a delonghi that my wife bought me for valentine's day.
I should disclose that I am an obsessed fried chicken maker.
We live in a small NYC apartment, space is at a premium, so no turkey fryer for me.
After frying, I remove the heating element and after the oil cools, I cover with saran wrap and aluminum foil. It keeps the smell of the oil and associated food inside the fryer. The advantage of the fryer (vs. a skillet) is that since the heat source is just above the bottom of the oil, the bits of batter and fry debris stay on the bottom and don't get sloshed around. It effectively keeps the oil clean without having to strain out the bits.
Eventually the oil does break down and gets too flavored, but no differently than any other system if you're reusing oil. I pour out the oil into empty gallon jugs to recycle, put the bottom sludge into the trash and wash the tank.
I do use a separate frying thermometer, and at least compared to my stove, the electric fryer has a faster recovery (oil temperature returning to temperature after cold food enters the oil).
Also, the fryer has a vented cover with a screened grease trap, so it helps keep the splatter to a minimum.