I won’t say that deep frying at home isn’t “worth it,” but I will say that it’s downright unpleasant. It stinks. It’s messy. Sticky vaporised cooking oil gets all over everything — including myself — and it takes forever to air out the kitchen and return it to its pre-frying state. Dedicated deep fryers solve this by moving the cooking out of the house and into the yard, but you actually don’t need one of those — you just need a grill.
According to Meathead Goldwyn at AmazingRibs.com, an “average backyard gasser” is perfect for deep (or shallow) frying:
Here’s a breakthrough that doesn’t require buying a bulky standalone deep fryer, a monotasker that wastes a lot of oil and counterspace: Your gas grill is perfect for frying. Feel free to slap your forehead. That’s right: your average backyard gasser does the job admirably. You don’t need a side burner because you can right on the grill grates. It solves all the problems of frying. Who cares if it spatters or smells? You’re outside. And if you use a 2-zone setup, you can fry on the hot side of the grill then drain and drip-dry the cooked foods on the indirect side plus keep them warm over there! And, if the breading is perfectly browned and crisp but the chicken is still a bit undercooked inside, keeping it on the indirect side will finish the cooking without burning the breading. This method is even better than frying inside.
This is both brilliant and elegant, which is the kind of I’ve come to expect from Meathead. (I just got my first charcoal grill and have been reading reading his site with great enthusiasm; it’s packed with hacks.) A grill set up for two zones of heating functions as a hot burner and an oven, letting you finish your food on the indirect heat side for hot, crisp fried delights, all without heating up (or greasing up) your lovely home.
Can you use a charcoal grill? Yes, but you lose a bit of the temperature control you get with a gas grill, so there’s a slight learning curve there. No matter what kind of grill (or campfire) you use, make sure you use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the oil, and also make sure you read Meathead’s guide to outdoor frying. Like I said, it is full of hacks.
How to Fry | AmazingRibs.com