Using, Maintaining & Cleaning Your Deep Fryer
In many ways, your kitchen’s deep fryer is like your car: keep it properly maintained and it will take care of you (and your customers). It’s a fact that a poorly maintained deep fryer is the biggest cause for poor-tasting fried food. Neglect it and your customers will notice. In order to maintain your establishment’s fried food culinary reputation, follow these simple maintenance tips.
There are two main components when it comes to keeping your fried food standards high:
- Properly maintaining your deep fryer
- Taking care of the oil you use.
Poor maintenance in either of these areas will result in a product that may turn customers away.
MAINTAINING YOUR DEEP FRYER
For many operators, the deep fryer can be a mainstay of your busy kitchen. That means you need to take care of it. It’s important to open the hood regularly to make sure that all of the components are working properly. Or hire a professional to do so.
- Operators should also make daily cleaning rituals a habit. Never just shut off your fryer when you close up shop for the day. Not only do you need to wipe down the exterior of the fryer, but you should also clean out the baskets. Run them through the dish washer and wipe them dry before returning them to the deep fryer.
- Your fryer should also go through a deep cleaning every 3 to 6 months. This is called a “boil out”. Once you have completely drained your old fryer oil, refill the vat with warm water and a commercial grade cleaning solution. Turn on the fryer and allow the water to reach a simmer — not a boil — and scrub out the inside of the vat with a long-handled, soft bristled brush. Allow the fryer to simmer for about an hour before draining and rinsing with warm water.
- It’s also a good idea to have your deep fryer inspected by a professional foodservice technician at least once a year. They will help identify components that are worn out and that should be replaced before they could potentially cause permanent damage to your valuable equipment down the road.
TAKING CARE OF THE OIL
The fryer oil itself is also very important. In fact, if you don’t take care of your oil, it won’t matter how well you take care of your equipment. While it’s understood that you cannot wheel your deep fryer into the nearest quick lube, it’s a good idea to establish a regular oil maintenance schedule.
- Because the oil itself is heated using heating elements that are submerged in the oil, it’s critical to clean these elements whenever you change the oil. That means brushing away food particles to maintain proper heat transfer throughout the oil, which will also help you avoid unevenly cooked products.
- One of the biggest things is to stay within the recommended cooking temperature range. See that temperature control? Use it. Every type of fryer oil has an ideal cooking temperature so make sure you’re aware of the range you should be frying within. Sure, a higher temperature might decrease cooking time but it can also cause your oil to burn which will not only transfer an unpleasant taste to your finished product, but also decrease the life of your oil, which will lead to more frequent replacement.
- Operators should also filter your oil on a regular basis. It’s like the oil filter on your car: you need to keep your fryer oil clean. When you filter your oil you prolong the life of your oil and you maintain the quality of your oil, which leads to a consistently good tasting product.
- Change it out. You cannot use and use and reuse your oil forever. While proper care can extend the life of your fryer oil it will degrade over time. When your oil starts to turn a dark brown or it starts to smell, it’s time for a complete oil change. Oil that has surpassed its useful lifespan will not only break down the quality of your food, but it could also damage your equipment. New oil is far less expensive than a new deep fryer.
If you don’t take care of your oil, it won’t matter how well you take care of your equipment
The bottom line is that customers like fried foods, from French fries to cheese curds to chicken. Customers do not like fried foods that taste and look bad. A poor culinary reputation will drive business away.
The good news is that you can easily control the quality of how your deep fried treats taste and appear. Show your deep fryer some love and it will love you back and you customers will love visiting your establishment.