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Cast Iron As Deep Fryer?

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    Cast Iron As Deep Fryer?

    So I saw Ernest ‘s wonderful chimichangas and I was reminded about how I have not had a good one in nearly 15 years since I left SoCal.

    But then I also thought about how painful home deep fryers are in terms of device cleanup after the fact, smells, storage, and how every device I read about never really seemed to address the issues. Maybe there are amazing ones out there? Deep frying is an very messy cook too.

    And then I thought about how easy my chicken Parmesan was using the cast iron skillet on the smoker. No problem with smells, cleanup was a breeze (dumped on grass..maybe not the best idea but seemed easy at the time), any mess was confined to the smoker and not ruining the kitchen , and storage and pan cleaning is easy. Since I am already outside, dumping the oil properly into the garbage is also easier.

    However, I don’t think a standard skillet is deep enough for chimichangas as you want to submerge them.

    1) Is it a good idea to use cast iron for deep frying?

    2) If so, what would be the best cast iron pan to buy for this type of thing?

    To put it concisely: 1) Yes 2) Dutch oven


    • 58limited
      58limited commented
      Editing a comment
      What he said.

    • Polarbear777
      Polarbear777 commented
      Editing a comment

    • crazytown3
      crazytown3 commented
      Editing a comment
      +2 or 4 to all that. My cast iron pans and dutch oven get a lot of use for messy things like this, and cooking outside is the way to go.

    I don't see why not. The lodge combo cooker or another 2.5-3 quart dutch oven would work for most things that need to be deeper than a skillet.


      I use a 12 qt Dutch oven exclusively for deep frying. CI DO's are great for the task, the CI helps with temp stabilization and the deep sides really help with splatter. Cleanup is a breeze as you are basically self-seasoning and the handle provides for easy and safe handling. I will add that you shouldn't dump the oil on your grass as it will kill it.


      • IFindZeroBadCooks
        IFindZeroBadCooks commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, I realized too late that was a bad idea. The Dutch oven sounds great though.

      I have a Lodge 5 quart dutch oven that I got specifically to have a piece of cast iron I could use on the grill or stove or in the oven, and its great for deep frying. Lodge also sells deep fry baskets to fit it. I've used it to deep fry many times on the stove and on the grill. The high walls keep spatters to a minimum compared to frying in a skillet.

      I have an electric deep fryer but don't use it as often as the dutch oven.

      Agree with CaptainMike that you don't want to dump oil in your yard. I dump it after it cools into the jug the oil came frome. If its clean enough for reuse, I put it in the fridge, otherwise put the jug in the trash.
      Last edited by jfmorris; September 25, 2021, 08:47 AM.


      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        If'n yer wantin to reuse yer oil, I recommend pourin it through a strainer, with a coffee filter in it, into a container, bowl, vessel, what have yall...
        Pourin it in yer yard ain't no bad thing...done it many times, would do it again, as needed, 100% guilt-free...usually don't, though
        Lotsa critters benefit from it, it's all natural an organic, I call 'No Harm, No Foul' lol
        Last edited by Mr. Bones; September 25, 2021, 10:24 AM. Reason: comma

      • crazytown3
        crazytown3 commented
        Editing a comment
        The local wildlife, usually cats, love that kind of thing.

      I am hearing Dutch oven by overwhelming consensus here but would a wok be worth considering?


      • MBMorgan
        MBMorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        A wok makes a GREAT fryer.

        The fact that its base is smaller than the top isn't an issue because the base is basically the same size as the burner. The exception would be if you are planning to set your fryer directly on your grill grates. In that case, the larger base of a DO would probably have the advantage over a wok.

        A wok uses much less oil than a DO. It is especially well suited for frying small-medium batches.

        The wide top of a wok is especially good at reducing spatter

      • IFindZeroBadCooks
        IFindZeroBadCooks commented
        Editing a comment
        MBMorgan I did think about a wok but since you mentioned it wouldn’t work well on grill grates (eg the MB560) I went with the DO.

      • fzxdoc
        fzxdoc commented
        Editing a comment
        The wok has amazing heat recovery time--the time it takes to get back up to good frying heat after the food has been dumped into it. That's why I like deep frying in it--on a 30K BTU gas burner.


      A wok would work but you will have less useful space because the sides slope vs being straight up and down.


      • mnavarre
        mnavarre commented
        Editing a comment
        I actually find a 14" wok gives me more capacity than a 5 qt. DO with the same amount of oil.

      Most of the vintage cast iron makers made what they called a chicken fryer. It’s a deep skillet for frying. It seems everywhere i looked this spring there was a chicken fryer that was too cheap to walk away from. I think I ended up with 4 of them. It’s a very versatile skillet. I use mine for making chili, or hamburger and cabbage, or even frying chicken. Check out vintage cast iron chicken fryer on eBay. That will give you a good look at them.
      Last edited by Oak Smoke; September 25, 2021, 09:50 AM.


      • rickgregory
        rickgregory commented
        Editing a comment
        That looks a lot like the lodge combo cooker or for more capacity the deep cast iron skillet. both here https://www.lodgecastiron.com/seasoned-cast-iron

      • Mr. Bones
        Mr. Bones commented
        Editing a comment
        This is right where I was headin, but ya done got here, afore me! Kudos, Brother!

        Has me several chicken fryer skillets, loves em!
        Last edited by Mr. Bones; September 25, 2021, 10:10 AM.

      So I saw Ernest ‘s wonderful chimichangas and I was reminded about how I have not had a good one in nearly 15 years since I left SoCal.
      Here's a favorite from the Lake Tahoe area from years ago:

      CHINGALINGAS | Cantina los Tres Hombres

      3 to 4 lb. chicken
      1 tsp. salt
      1 clove garlic, crushed
      1 bay leaf
      Water to cover
      Oil for deep frying
      1 tbsp. lard or shortening
      1 small onion, minced
      1 green pepper, seeded and diced
      1 clove garlic, minced
      2 tomatoes, diced
      1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules or soup base
      12 (6 to 8 inch) flour tortillas or crepes (may also use egg roll wrappers or wonton skins)
      Guacamole and sour cream for garnish
      Chopped green onions, chives, cilantro, salsa, etc. for garnish

      Place chicken, salt, garlic, and bay leaf in large pot. Cover with water. Bring to boil. Skim foam from surface. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender, about 1 hour.

      Remove chicken from broth and let cool. Shred chicken meat. Reserve skin.

      Preheat oil to 3750 F.

      Melt lard over medium heat. Sweat onion and bell pepper for about 5 minutes, to soften. Add minced garlic and cook briefly. Stir in shredded chicken, tomato, and soup base. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes to evaporate liquid.

      Finely chop chicken skin. Saute over medium-high heat until brown and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Discard fat and add skin to chicken mixture, blending well. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

      Steam tortillas until soft. Place approximately 1/4 cup (less if using egg roll wrappers or wonton skins) of chicken mixture at bottom edge of tortilla or crepe and roll up, tucking in ends. Secure flap with wooden toothpick.

      Fry chingalingas in batches, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side for tortillas, less for crepes. Drain on paper towels or wire rack. Discard tooth picks.

      Slice each roll into 4 or 5 pieces. Garnish and serve warm.

      Alternate method for stewing chicken: After bringing to boil and skimming, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature, about 4 to five hours. Remove chicken from pot, drain, and chill in refrigerator for several hours to set juice. Up to 2 tablespoons of salt and 3 slices of ginger root could also be added to the stewing liquid.

      Note: If a more Asian presentation is preferred, a sesame soy sauce (2 tsp. sesame oil to 4 tbsp. soy sauce) could be used to garnish or dip.

      Basic crepe ingredients (12 to 14 6-inch crepes): 1 cup AP flour, 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, pinch of salt, oil or melted butter for frying.

      Julia Child’s Master Crêpe Recipe about 20 5-inch crepes or 10 8-inch crepes

      1 cup flour
      2/3 cup cold milk
      2/3 cup cold water
      3 large eggs
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for brushing on pan

      Mix all ingredients until smooth in a blender or with a whisk. Refrigerate the batter for at least half an hour, to allow the flour particles to absorb the liquid, which will give you a tender crêpe. It also allows air bubbles to escape, making the crepes less likely to tear during cooking.

      Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush with melted butter.

      Pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into the center of the pan and then tilt the pan in all directions to cover the bottom evenly. Cook about 1 minute, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook briefly on the other side.

      Cool on a rack or plate as you finish making the rest. Serve as desired.
      Last edited by gcdmd; September 25, 2021, 10:18 AM.


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        Last edited by Attjack; September 25, 2021, 10:23 AM.


        • 58limited
          58limited commented
          Editing a comment
          I do this all the time. I basically keep a deep skillet or Dutch oven on the stove with oil in it, covered when not in use. I use it enough that the oil lasts quite awhile before I think it smells like it is going rancid. I pour between two skillets through a fine mesh strainer to keep the oil clean. Made Navajo fry bread last night, fried some chicken earlier in the week, if I'm lazy and want junk food I fry pizza rolls as well. I fry spur of the moment French fries periodically too.

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        lots of ways to go. A Dutch oven and a wok and you are all set for frying, however you want to.


          I use cast all the time to fry. Either a Dutch or a pan. I have debated and debated on getting a cajun fryer and still not out of the question. But in the meantime I fry in cast.


            Well, Amazon had same day shipping on this 5 qt beauty and the Lodge frying basket is arriving tomorrow.

            I learned something today! Apparently all of the Pit members deep fry in cast iron so happy to join the club. Thank you all for the cool new knowledge and I am very glad to avoid the electric route. SWMBO didn’t know about deep frying in cast iron either!
            Attached Files


            • TripleB
              TripleB commented
              Editing a comment
              One thing I recommend and did not see it posted, but also get a candy or deep fryer thermometer. Maybe you already have one. Keeping a constant temp is really helpful in frying food properly. I use my CI Dutch oven or skillet for frying and adjust the flame based on the thermometer reading. No guessing.

            • IFindZeroBadCooks
              IFindZeroBadCooks commented
              Editing a comment
              TripleB since I have a MB560 , I put the cast iron and oil in for maybe 20 minutes at 400 and I figure that’s probably enough.

            I use a CI DO for deep frying…I have baskets made specifically for them. I generally use my Camp Chef Somerset IV stove for the task… (Sadly it’s no longer made.)

            When at my GF’s house I use my Dyna-Glo charcoal grill, because that’s all I have there. I prefer the gas as it’s much easier to control the temps…but it still works perfectly fine over charcoal…it just requires a bit more attention/baby sitting.

            I also use a couple of CI skillets for smaller items. (Read: don’t need a lot of depth.) A good wok can be used much the same, so long as it’s stable. CI all but eliminates any stability issues.


              The only issue that I have frying in cast is if I am doing larger batches of food. So one or two batches of say fried chicken, once it gets hot the temp of the grease is a little harder to control. Then you deal with possibly burning. Still my preferred method.



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