Fryer Accessories Buyers' Guide
Getting the right fryer accessories can have a big impact on how well the commercial deep fryer you have will be able meet your needs. These accessories can make it easier to cook and serve food, and can also assist with cleaning the fryer, in many cases making these jobs easier so your operation can save on labor and increase output to keep up with customer demands. Because of these benefits, fryer accessories can be a valuable addition to your foodservice operation.
Fryer baskets are some of the most important deep fryer accessories. Most fryers come standard with fryer baskets, which are most often rectangular, but may be round. Although specific measurements will vary between manufacturers, full-size fry baskets will be at least 13 inches long and wide, while half-size fry baskets will be approximately 13 inches long and 6 inches wide. For additional versatility, you may wish to have more baskets on hand or to upgrade the baskets the fryer came with. Tortillas can be fried with taco shell fryer baskets, which shape tortillas into classic folded taco, taco bowl, and tostada shapes.
Fryer baskets are typically made of steel and may be nickel-plated for additional durability and corrosion resistance, with metal or plastic-coated handles to make them more comfortable to use. Many models have hooks on the front to make the basket compatible with hangers, which come standard with some fryers and may be purchased separately for others. Basket hangers can be used as a staging area, allowing employees to prepare the next basket of food to be fried, or hold fry baskets when they are taken out of the fryer, allowing excess oil to drip off.
Fry dump stations are made to hold fried products after they're cooked, keeping them warm and crisp until they are served. These can be heated by electricity or gas, with an element or burner below or heat lamp above. They are available as floor models and countertop versions, and many have a crumb catch pan to help sift out sediment that falls off of food while it is being held.
French fry scoops, which are shaped to make it easy to funnel fries into serving containers, are meant to be used with a fry dump station. Constructed out of aluminum, stainless steel, or heat-resistant plastic, these scoops are available in a variety of sizes and may have one or two handles, which lets left- and right-handed employees comfortably use the scoop.
If you decide to use a gas fryer, a gas connector will be required to provide the fuel your equipment needs to operate. These connectors range from 12 to 72 inches long, with any combination of male and female couplings. Some of these are available in a kit that includes gas pressure regulators, and many have a quick disconnect feature that makes it possible to easily move the fryer for cleaning around the unit. Quick-disconnect gas connectors are usually designed with a safety valve that shuts off the flow of gas upon being disconnected.
Fryer screens can help extend the life of your oil by catching crumbs and sediment to prevent them from building up on heating elements, where they can burn and create a foul taste in the oil. Meant to be used below the fry baskets, these screens are available in sizes that are compatible with full-pot, split-pot, and tube-type fryer pot configurations. Screens can come with or without handles, which are sometimes coated in polymer to make them easier to use when hot. The screens are available with wide gaps or with a fine mesh to catch smaller pieces of sediment. You can also invest in a fish plate, which sits in a frypot and prevents the fish from falling into the elements at the bottom.
Other deep fryer accessories include features that may come standard with certain models. Many companies offer casters to make cleaning your commercial fryer easier, because it can be moved and will be raised several inches from the floor. If you decide to add casters or replace the ones that come standard on your unit, be sure the ones you purchase are listed as compatible with your model. Some companies also offer hanger packages and basket support racks, which are placed in the fryer to prevent the basket from sinking too deep and damaging components in the frypot. An upright basket rack offers a way to store many fryer baskets in one footprint for frying in high volumes, while a fryer basket divider allows you to fry two types of food in one basket, adding versatility even to single-basket fryers.
Fryer Cleaning Accessories
Cleaning and maintaining your fryer can extend not only the life of your equipment, but the life of your oil, saving you a lot of money in the long run as you get more use out of each batch of oil. It also enables you to provide a higher-quality food product, protecting the flavors of your dishes by removing impurities from the oil.
For those reasons, a mobile deep fryer filter is one of the best investments you can make for your fryer, as it allows you to filter the oil regularly and safely. These are designed with a low profile that allows them to fit under most fryers, but you should verify that the fryer filter you buy is compatible with your fryer. Depending on which you choose, these will use gravity or powered suction to remove the oil from the frypot, with a pump pushing it back up when it's clean.
These fryer filters, along with filter paper and powder, remove carbon and sediment from your oil, allowing you to use it for longer. Models are available that allow you to filter 50 to 210 pounds of oil at a time. If you have a small fryer or do not need to filter often, a cone holder that holds the filter paper and powder allows you to manually filter oil. However, oil must be filtered when hot, so a cone holder does pose more of a burn hazard than a fryer filter. A fryer cover is a necessary preventive piece, as it is essential for keeping debris out of the oil when the fryer's not in use.
When it comes time to thoroughly clean out your fryer, brushes and rods are indispensable. Fryer brushes allow you to scrub out all the hard-to-reach areas in the bottom of the frypot, particularly in the crevices around and under the heating elements. A fryer rod can help you clear out a drain line that has become clogged with sediment, as it allows operators to remove crumbs from under and around in-pot burner tubes.
If you will be doing a substantial amount of frying, you may wish to consider a shortening disposal unit. These use gravity or pumps to help quickly drain a fryer and offer tanks of varying sizes, from 40 to 100 pounds. They also come on wheels to make moving large amounts of oil simple. Many of these are available in low-profile designs to fit under fryers. The most important aspect of these disposal units is the minimum drain height, which should be lower than the drain on your commercial deep fryer to be compatible with it.