These fryers are a great alternative to a countertop unit or a larger floor model when you need to expand your capacity to fry small batches of products for appetizers and side dishes. They're designed to be installed in a countertop or workstation, where they can be used to streamline your workflow. In general, these fryers are significantly smaller than their floor model counterparts, so they're unable to fry in the same large quantities. Fifteen pounds is the average oil capacity for these units, which means they can handle around 3 – 5 pounds of food product per batch. Consider these capacities carefully when deciding which is right for your kitchen.
Understanding Frypot Styles
Tube-type fryers are heated via steel tubes that run through the inside of the frypot. Heat from gas is sent through them and conducted into the oil. Because these tubes are submerged in the oil, very little heat is lost to the surrounding air, making tube-type fryers an energy-efficient choice. Large cold zones beneath the tubes collect sediment, keeping it from getting burned and affecting the taste of your fresh food. Those zones must be cleaned regularly to preserve the taste of your products and extend the life of your oil.
Open-pot fryers are a little different depending on whether they run on gas or electricity. The vat in an open-pot gas fryer is heated from below, which means nothing obstructs the interior of the frypot, making it easier to clean and providing room for baskets. On electric models, heating elements are submerged in the oil. Because these are near the bottom, the pots are still open and spacious enough to accommodate large baskets. That eliminates the cold zone to collect sediment, so the oil must be skimmed regularly to prevent buildup of loose breading.
Deciding on the Best Ribbon Style
If it's an electric fryer you're planning to purchase, you have a choice to make between two types of elements. Ribbon elements are flat, wide, and able to provide quicker, more efficient heating because they have a greater surface area to make contact with the oil. Rod elements are tube-shaped, have a lower profile, and are generally more affordable, but typically have longer recovery times, meaning oil heated with them takes longer to heat back up to cooking temperature when cold food is added.
Oil Drain Location
Regularly filtering and replacing your fryer oil is critical to producing a quality product with each batch, so be sure you're able to conveniently drain the oil when it's time to clean or change it. Pay attention to drain location when you select a built-in fryer, as there are a couple of different configurations. A front drain is generally more convenient to access, but may not lend itself well to being installed on narrower work surfaces. A back drain is located safely out of the way, but that makes it harder to access. Fryers with no drain will have lift-out pots that can be removed when you're ready to pour out the oil.
Swing-up elements tilt up out of the frypot without the need for disassembling the unit. These can save time spent cleaning the equipment over fryers with fixed elements.
Basket lifts can be set to remove fry baskets from the oil when the cooking cycle has completed, freeing up labor to perform other tasks while ensuring products get cooked right each time.
Solid shortening must be heated to a liquid state before it can be used for cooking. If it isn't brought to temperature gently and gradually, you risk burning it and damaging your equipment. Fryers equipped with a melt cycle automate this process.
Programmable controls can be used to input cook times and temperatures for specific menu items, which can then be recalled with the press of a button. This can streamline operations and help simplify employee training, leading to a more consistently-cooked product, batch after batch.
Split-pot fryers have two-sectioned frypots that can be used to fry two different products at the same time with no flavor transfer between them.
Gas fryers with Millivolt controls include convenient electronic ignition without requiring an electrical connection.
Remote control panels offer more flexibility in where and how the fryer can be installed, since they can be built into a surface separate from the fryer itself. These can be positioned so they're better protected from the heat generated by the fryer, which can cause damage to the electronic components over time if located too near the frypot.