Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Let the Deep Frying Begin!

So guess who got a turkey fryer for Christmas?

Now frying was not the first thing I had planned on doing with this setup, in fact it was one of the last things I had planned on doing with it. Lets face it, there are literally endless culinary possibilities with a gigantic pot and propane burner.

The first thing I ended up doing was boiling a big pot of water to see how long it would take. To do this, I filled up the pot to the MAX FILL line which was about three gallons of water. I set the burner on high, and measured the temperature of the water to get a starting point. I then placed the pot on the burner and set a timer. It took roughly twenty minutes to boil three gallons of water. Without delving into a bunch of math, I came up with about 3.3 KW of power being used. Not bad.

My original plan was to use the fryer to malt my own barley and boil up some wort for brewing beer. To do this I needed a lot of time, planning, and materials all of which I did not have. New Year's Eve was looming and I wanted to bring something to my sister's house for the gathering that she had arranged. So in the end I decided to fry some things up to take to her house.

First I needed to decide what I was going to fry up. Although this is a turkey fryer I did not have the time or materials to fry up a turkey. Furthermore I would have had to carve it all up and lets face it, a carved turkey is not really something you want to simply grab and stuff in your face after you have been drinking all night. So I decided that finger foods would be best. Fried chicken is a good choice, and of course we will need something sweet, so I decided on fried Oreos and fried Twinkies to cure a sweet tooth.

Next I needed to procure three gallons of frying oil. I had heard that peanut oil was the best for this. I have tasted things fried in peanut oil before and had liked it. The smell was also somewhat welcoming, so I decided that peanut oil would be best.

With a large list of things to buy in my hand I was off to the beast for some shopping. Navigating the isles of Wal*Mart on New Year's Eve was not as difficult as I had expected. The store was crowded but not unbearably.

I settled for a fried chicken recipe that was easy, yet crispy and delicious. I had my list of ingredients tightly clenched in my hand and ended up buying chicken legs and wings since there were no pre-cut whole chickens about in the meat department. Also I had to get buttermilk. I've never bought buttermilk before and was unsure if it was even carried in the dairy section. It would appear that only small quart sized bottled were available so I snagged one.

When I found myself  in the isle for snack cakes and cookies, I got pretty confused. I had no idea that there were so many varieties of Oreos. I mean it was just outright mind boggling. It was like they had a variety of cookie for every subtle change in the density of creme between two pieces. Then on top of all that, they had all sorts of colors, flavors, shapes, and seasons they were marketing for. It took me a moment but I FINALLY found the regular run of the mill Oreos.

Also while in the snack isle I was equally perplexed by the fact that there were no Twinkies about. I ended having to buy the Great Value Golden Cream Cakes. What a generic rip off! Whatever! It looked like a Twinkie.

As for the frying oil, I searched high and low and was not able to find any peanut oil. It's like there was a shortage or something. I ended up having to pay WAY too much for cottonseed oil at Target.

Now that I had all my ingredients, I soaked the chicken in buttermilk overnight, and got it all breaded up. For the sweets I just used Belgian Waffle mix. Later that day I fired up the fryer.

The frying was a little tough seeing as how it was my first time. Also there was some difficulty in maintaining the oil temperatures throughout the frying process. I suppose I just need to work on that a bit. Some of the chicken in the beginning came out a little darker since the temperature was a too high. In the future I need to keep it between 310-320 degrees.

Despite the setbacks and roadblocks, there was a lot of fried food that fed a lot of smiling faces.

I deem this first fry a success!

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