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Deep frying in a pressure cooker


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#1 Keith_W

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:47 AM

For quite a while I have been trying to perfect my fried chicken recipe. Every recipe I have tried results in the same texture of crust - shattering crispiness. I have tried deep frying at different temperatures, varied the amount of resting between dredging and frying (frying immediately after dredging causes crust to fall off, a 1 hour rest seems to be the best), and even tried spraying water on the batter, and the opposite - dehydrating the crust in a low temperature oven. I am after a KFC-like crust. Don't ask me why - I was brought up eating it and that's what I want!

I was chatting to someone about my fried chicken when he revealed he was a former KFC employee. This is what he said:

KFC was cooked in a pressure cooker (1bar afaik) of Vegetable Oil. 180C (I believe) for 15 minutes - the last minute is when you release pressure from the vessel. Draining for 30 seconds, transferring to a tray, then kept in a moist/humidified warmer at 80C for a further 5 minutes. It is important that the Oil is clean, and upto temperature.

When cooked without Pressure, KFC is crispy (like zingers, crispy strips) - the pressure provides the loose - but sealed skin texture/surface. Note that the cooking time and temp are based on 6 head of chicken (i.e 54 pieces) at once.


Aha! So that's the secret!

Well, I have a valve regulated pressure cooker, but I am VERY wary of deep frying anything in it under pressure. Water will boil at 121C at 2 bar of pressure, and the water temp will not rise any more because of the pressure regulation - it will vent steam. Oil will not behave in the same way - I suspect that the oil temperature will keep rising. The steam from the chicken will build up 1 bar of pressure and then vent, but I know that 1 bar of pressure will not correspond to the oil temperature, which I have no way of measuring.

I suspect that the temperature will run away and some kind of disaster will await me when I release the pressure and open the lid. Perhaps water condensate will drip back into the oil and make it splatter everywhere. Or worse, the damn thing might catch fire in a spectacular way.

Is there a SAFE way to deep fry in a pressure cooker? Or is it truly the bomb?
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#2 LindaK

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:04 AM

Everything I've read says don't even try it. A pressure cooker and a pressure fryer are not the same thing. See this post in the pressure cooker topic.


 


#3 nickrey

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:22 AM

If you want to look at the original concept, the pressure frying patent (USA patent 3245800 dated 04/12/1966) can be found here.

It is not a pressure cooker with oil in it so, as LindaK said, don't even think about trying it.

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#4 Keith_W

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:31 AM

Thank you both. That scotches that idea, then.
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#5 budrichard

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:58 AM

It's called Broasting and the process and equipment has been around for decades.
http://www.broaster.com/fdsvceqp.htm
I first encountered Broasted Chicken in Wisconsin which makes sense since the company is in Beloit Wisconsin.
The process makes GREAT fried chicken as you theorized but the equipment is too pricey and industrial for the home environment.
As you also theorized, attempting to do such a process in equipment not designed for the process would be unsafe at the least.-Dick

#6 ChrisZ

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:06 AM

If you're really interested, there's a detailed history of the KFC machine in 'Modernist Cuisine', along with photos (maybe even a cutaway, I can't quite remember). What I found interesting is the footnote that chickens have been selectively bred for tenderness so effectively since they invented their technique that we don't appreciate how comparatively tender KFC would have been back then.

But the idea of attempting something at home with a deep fryer and oil made me think of the film 'The English Patient', and not in a good way...

#7 Kerry Beal

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:13 AM

Fagor makes a pressure fryer - not cheap, but presumably safe.

#8 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:39 AM

It's called Broasting and the process and equipment has been around for decades.
http://www.broaster.com/fdsvceqp.htm
I first encountered Broasted Chicken in Wisconsin which makes sense since the company is in Beloit Wisconsin.
The process makes GREAT fried chicken as you theorized but the equipment is too pricey and industrial for the home environment.
As you also theorized, attempting to do such a process in equipment not designed for the process would be unsafe at the least.-Dick


Are you serious? "Broasting" was a big deal in the 60s -- my husband and I remember seeing signs advertising broasted chicken at restaurants when we were kids. We always thought it was just a fancy way of saying broiled. Had no idea there was an actual "broaster" and that it was a pressure fryer. The things you learn...

#9 dcarch

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:00 AM

Oil atomized and mixed with air is EXPLOSIVE; that's how an internal combustion engine works.

You may be able to blow your house apart if your pressure cooker fryer valve errupts.

dcarch

Edited by dcarch, 01 August 2011 - 06:01 AM.


#10 lemniscate

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:46 PM

I have the Fagor Marine pressure cooker that is also a pressure fryer. I have fried chicken in it. If I recall correctly, the chicken is fried in the oil initially to achieve the desired brownness, and then the lid is latched on and the chicken is finished under high pressure (I seem to remember 7 minutes under pressure). The quick pressure release method is used and the chicken removed. I recall under 15 minutes per batch actual cooking time. The Fagor Marine is expensive, but it's a cool tool. It's a very heavy duty pressure cooker. They used to hawk it at State Fairs and Home Shows. I think I have a video of how to cook with it somewhere, probably on vhs.

#11 Holly Moore

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:04 PM

This is the fryer - Henny Penny - that I used back when running prepared foods for a WI supermarket chain. The link further links to a few fact sheets about pressure frying.

As I recall back then KFC was frying in individual pots that sure looked like pressure cookers.

Edited to add: Official KFC History

Edited by Holly Moore, 01 August 2011 - 03:11 PM.

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#12 heidih

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:19 PM

Starting with this post in her eGullet Food Blog, Shelby details her method of fowl fried in the pressure cooker.

#13 mgaretz

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:56 PM

Starting with this post in her eGullet Food Blog, Shelby details her method of fowl fried in the pressure cooker.


Shelby's actually frying the chicken conventionally in Crisco and then finishing the chicken with a small amount of water in the pressure cooker.

I got one of the Pressure Magic cookers (evidently made by Fagor) at a county fair. It works well, but I admit I haven't used it much - the TFal self-draining and filtering fryer is more convenient and I don't know that there's a huge difference in the final chicken when made with the same batter - leading me to believe the batter is the most important part, not the temperature of the oil beyond 375F.

#14 Twyst

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 12:24 AM

Oil atomized and mixed with air is EXPLOSIVE; that's how an internal combustion engine works.

You may be able to blow your house apart if your pressure cooker fryer valve errupts.

dcarch

Hence the thread title

"Deep frying in a pressure cooker I hear it is the bomb!"


:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

#15 Keith_W

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 03:14 AM

^^^ I'm glad that someone appreciates my sense of humour ... :)

Seriously, great thread. Learning so much about pressure cooking. Shelby's blog was especially interesting - next time I make fried chicken, I will try to pressure steam a piece to see what happens. Quite eye opening to see how much fat dripped out with that method!
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

#16 threestars

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 06:10 AM

Thanks for the links guys! Those are all helpful links. I didn't know most of these methods until I read it here.

#17 budrichard

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 03:46 AM

So, has anyone ACTUALLY used the 'Pressure Magic' to fry chicken?
What were the results?
Is it worth the money to purchase a 'Pressure Magic'?-Dick

#18 Shelby

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 06:56 AM

Starting with this post in her eGullet Food Blog, Shelby details her method of fowl fried in the pressure cooker.



This really is a great way of doing it (thanks for finding my post, Heidi :wub: )

#19 slkinsey

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:20 AM

Interesting. I wonder if the chicken stays crisp?
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#20 lemniscate

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:29 AM

Looks like the Fagor Pressure Magic and the Fagor Marine are the same item with different names. I have used my Marine to pressure fry chicken. It was the best I ever cooked at home. I soaked the chicken in buttermilk and double floured it, let it dry a bit and then fried it up per instructions for the pressure fryer. Crisp outside, juicy inside. Haven't done a batch for quite some time though.

#21 Shelby

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:31 AM

Interesting. I wonder if the chicken stays crisp?



No, it's not crisp. But, oh so good.