Number one rule? Make sure your tools are dry. The worst thing you can do when frying (other than burning the house down) is getting water into your oil – the splattering can easily burn you. We wipe down the pots before pouring the oil inside and make sure that our spoons, tongs and spatulas are dry as a bone.
Set up your station. You don’t want to be reaching over the oil, so have a station on one side for your raw goods and on the other side of the pot to lift your fried foods out and place. We also like to use two pairs of tongs – one to place things in the fry oil and another, cleaner one to pull them out.
Listen! Each time you place food in your fry oil, it will cool the oil down. You want to hear the sound of frying when you place your items in – and always wait a minute or so to let the oil heat back up before you reload the pot with more chicken, fritters or doughnuts.
Picking your oils:
You’ve got a wide range of choices when it comes to oils, most of it depending on what you’re frying and what’s important to you. Pressed seeds and nuts make simple, virgin oils. These unprocessed oils are best for finishing your salads and dishes but break down into unsavory and unhealthful compounds. Mechanical and chemical processes help oils beat this breakdown; see our chart below for your options
Frying up to 350°F:
Butter, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Shortening and Avocado Oil are fine for quick sautéing and frying delicate donuts and light fritters (Shortening and Avocado Oil can go up to 375°-380°F)
Frying up to 390°F:
Duck Fat, Chicken Fat, Lard, Grapeseed Oil will work for frying things with darker surfaces, from fried chicken to deep, dark apple fritters
Frying up to 400°F
Canola Oil, Beef Tallow, most other vegetable and vegetable-blend oils.