Let's face it — deep-frying, or even shallow-frying, food is a pain, even if the results are delicious. Oil splatters everywhere, your kitchen gets hot, and sometimes that greasy oil smell can linger in your kitchen and house for days and days. Who wants to smell like fried fish or latkes? Nobody.
An easy solution? Take the frying outside. Here are five reasons why you should take frying to the great outdoors.
5 Reasons Why You Should Fry Outside
- It's just as easy as frying indoors. If you have some kind of cooking element (grill, portable gas burner, portable electric stove), it's no different than your stovetop. If you have a plug-in deep fryer, even better! Just move the whole operation outside.
- Spattered oil isn't a big deal. With deep frying comes the inevitable: sputtering oil. But relax — you're outside and you can just ignore it or hose everything down later.
- Smells are minimized. The smell of deep-fried food is delicious at first, but the last thing you want is to still smell it days later. By frying outside, fresh air and the next breeze will take all those smells away, and it'll also minimize smells absorbing into your clothes.
- It won't heat up your kitchen. Avoid turning into a sweaty mess because you have to slave over a hot stove in an enclosed space. Even if it's cold outside and you have to put on a jacket, you won't overheat.
- It's fun. There's something just plain fun about cooking outdoors. I live in a building with a communal entertaining area, so when I fried doughnuts on the grill there, it attracted all kinds of attention and was a great way to meet new neighbors. And if you're having a party, there's probably more space outside for you and your guests than in your kitchen.
Things to Know When Frying Outside
Ready to give frying outside a try? Just do everything you normally would do, with the following precautions:
- Be careful of open flames and hot oil. Don't fill your fryer or pot with too much oil and risk it overflowing into the open flames of a gas grill. Also be careful when transferring food out of the hot oil and let the excess oil drip back into the pot first. Have a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.
- Use a deep-frying thermometer. You may not be used to your outdoor cooking element, so still use a thermometer to make sure your oil is at the correct temperature. This is especially important if you're frying on a charcoal grill, where it's harder to regulate the temperature. If the oil gets too hot, immediately remove the pot to a heatproof surface and let it cool off.
- Keep fried foods warm. If you're cooking in batches, especially when the weather outside is cold, make sure you put your fried food in a warm oven so it doesn't get cold and greasy.
- Cool the oil properly. When you're all done grilling, make sure you let the oil cool off before moving or transferring it to avoid getting burned, but also don't leave it out there for too long or it can attract animals or pests.