Do I want a deep fryer?
My husband has been bugging me for years to "let" him buy a deep fryer. I bought a new dishwasher over the weekend so now he is half-joking trying to guilt me into buying a deep fryer. Aside from French fries, potato chips and chicken wings (obvious stuff), what the heck do I deep fry?
Deep fryer owners: is it worth the investment?
I have one. It's about five or six years old. When I want to deep fry, what do I use? A sauce pan and a thermometer! MUCH easier to clean up, and on my induction burner, much faster to heat too. Especially when I use a deep cast iron fry pan.
However, I am -- once again -- looking at deep fryers! Specifically, I'm looking at the T-Fal/Emeril deep fryers with the immersion heating elements and the built in oil filter/storage container. I cook mostly just for me, but fairly often for me and my housekeeper, so I don't need a deep fryer that will cook enough French fries for a school lunch program. T-Fal does make a smaller unit under both their own and their Emeril brand, but...! They are way under-powered for a reasonably fast recovery after adding cold foods to the oil. So until they kick up the wattage on the smaller units, I'm not going to be one of their customers!
Meanwhile, age and arthritis have moved a housekeeper from the luxury class to MANDATORY! So for now, as least, I think I'll just stay with the oil spattering induction deep fry method, and let her deal with the mess. Bless her heart. And I have more control over how much oil I use this way as well. Smaller cast iron pans hold less oil than the big ones! Fried food is NOT diet food, so I don't need a big pan. Well,I really don't "need" fried foods, for that matter. But they do taste good...! And I AM self indulgent.
But meantime, my current deep fat fryer looks very efficient sitting on the pantry shelf! '-)
Owned one for a while, major pain in the ass. If I deep fry anything these days it's outside on my side burner on my natural gas grill. I'm done with deep frying indoors.
I have had several: Fry Daddy, DeLongi, West Bend, Commercial (fryolator?), and have used various pots.
I started (in high school) using pots on the stove, then in college a Fry Daddy and a West Bend fryer, then a DeLongi and an electric wok, then a used commercial unit that required 240V (garage/clothes dryer plug.), now either the stove or an outdoor gas burner (turker fryer).
How much food does he want to cook? I was in my early 20's, recent college grad when I purchased the commercial fryer, IIRC 5 gallons of oil, it was a big hit at BBQ/Sunday Football at my place. The home use electrics had their capacity limitations, 1-2 servings, electric wok maybe 1/2 serving. I now deep fry outside in a cast iron dutch oven, using ~2 qts of oil, on a propane burner, works fine for 4 servings. For a serving or two, inside on a stove using a saucepan.
Oil can be expensive, I have read/tried many ways to reuse/save oil, in my experience there is a time factor, doesn't matter what you cooked (e.g. no fish), how well it was strained, in time it will go rancid. Unless, one plans to cook often/large amounts, look for capacity and heat output, if you want to be known for your deep fat fryer, look for a used commercial unit. In 1982, I paid $250 vs ~$12 for a Fry Daddy.
Is it worth the investment, depends on the investment, ~$50 or $2,500?, but based on fries, chips and wings, No.
The DeLongi had smell filtration, but maybe it is like holding your breath, sooner or later, you have to exhale.
I do not own one, but I think the answer really depends on how often you think you will use one. If not very often, then it may not worth it.
"My sister bought one when she and her husband lived in the South...gained 10 lbs in one year."
There are two unknowns with that statement:
1) How much did they eat (quantity)?
2) How did they cook (i.e. over cooked and greasy)?
Properly cooked and drained, fried food can be not nearly as bad as most home cooks make it. Have you ever had fried fish that was totally "greaseless"? How about fried chicken?
If you leave the food in the oil after it stops bubbling, that means the water has all boiled off and your now soaking up oil. Also, putting your fried food on a wire rack will keep it from soaking up oil as it cools to eating temperature.