Your loyal customers know what they can expect when they walk through your doors – friendly staff, consistent food quality, and a really good time. Cooking high-quality consistent French fries, wings, and chicken fingers requires daily maintenance of your frying oil, often one of the highest food costs in the kitchen. Frying oil will affect flavor profiles, so it is important to make sure your fryer oil is operating in top condition. As your business starts to increase, pay special attention to the “enemies” of frying oil:
- Air – when frying oil interacts with air, the oxidation process initiates, breaking down the oil quality, which will ultimately negatively affect the flavor of the food. While we cannot avoid oxygen, we can help the frying oil by covering the vats when not in use, and only filtering the oil for a maximum of 5 minutes. Anything longer could be a detriment to the oil life.
- Water – If your recipe calls for frozen fried foods to be dropped into the fryer to complete the menu item, carefully shake off excess ice or water from the food before frying. Water can weaken flavor and cause the oil to darken faster. When it comes time to empty the fryer, remember, use hot water only (no soap!) to clean out the vat, and assure that it is completely dry before refilling with fresh oil.
- Carbon – You see that black gunk forming on the inside of your fryer? That’s carbon build-up. It is inevitable, but if you skim vats often to remove crumbs, and scrub the sides of the fryer during the maintenance cycle, it can be removed. Carbon will negatively affect flavors and cause oil to break down faster.
- Salt – Although salt is an essential ingredient of fried food, believe it or not it can break down oil life. Be mindful to avoid salting finished fried food over the open fryer.
- Soap – When cleaning your fryer and surrounding surfaces, avoid using soap inside the fryer and on the fry baskets and filter box. Only use hot water. Not only can soap cause the oil to darken faster, it can cause foaming, smoking and foul odor.
- Heat – Of course you need high heat to cook delicious fried foods, however, be mindful to turn off the vats when not in use. Only turn on vats that you intend to use for that shift. For example, if your breakfast menu has only a few items requiring the fryer, turn on one vat and leave the other 2 off until the lunch shift. Check out some neat technology being introduced on the new fryers from Henny Penny.
For the past 25 years, Evergreen Grease Service, located in Adrian, Michigan, has been helping commercial frying operations discard their oil properly and safely, turning used cooking oil into sustainable outlets such as biofuel and animal feed. Browse the rest of our website to learn more.