Deep Frying 101

By ABC Oct 14, 2011

 Deep frying is a fantastic cooking method for locking in flavor, but when using hot oil it's important to be mindful of the proper safety techniques.  Mario and Michael have spent some time in the kitchen and have had to deal with their share of kitchen and grease fires.  Here are a few of their tips for properly frying and handling a grease fire that they have picked up along the way.

The first thing you need to be aware of is smoke points for oil.  This is the temperature oil will start to smoke.  The oil with the lowest smoke point is olive oil, and the highest is peanut oil.  Keep this in mind when you are frying different types of foods.

When you are filling up your pan with oil make sure that the oil is only two thirds of the way up the pan to avoid overflowing.  You can always add more to maintain that amount, but don't fill your pot to the top.

When you set up to deep fry be sure to have the right tools close by.  These tools include the lid for the pan, a thermometer, a splatter guard, oven mitts, baking soda, salt, a spider and a paper towel lined plate.  The lid is the most important because you can usually extinguish a grease fire by putting the lid on the pan and turning off the heat.  If you aren't successful putting out the fire with the lid, salt and baking soda are often used to extinguish kitchen fires.

There are many useful items to have on hand when you are actually frying and one of them is a basic thermometer.  The oil should stay between 350-370 degrees F.   You should also have a spider handy.  This tool is great for lifting food out of the hot oil without splattering.  Once you have retrieved your food, place it directly on a paper towel lined plate.

After you've finished frying your delicious dish, what should you do with your oil?  First, let it cool.  Then strain it, put it in a plastic container and refrigerate it.  You can use it again if you are planning to fry additional foods, but Michael and Mario advise against this.  After each use the oil loses some of its original freshness.