Archive for September, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 @ 03:09 PM

Now that we’ve talked about indoor fryer safety, it’s time to move outdoors.

Having a turkey fryer or any outdoor propane deep fryer is fun. It adds flavor to your holidays. It’s an extra versatile cooking appliance for backyard barbecues, and a great added piece of cooking equipment for tailgaters. You can deep fry, steam, boil, simmer, and stew with a traditional turkey fryer. When it comes to hot oil and flames, always remember…safety first. This goes for any outdoor cooking equipment, but especially when frying oil, flames, and propane tanks are involved.

Now as I said having an outdoor fryer is fun, but it is also a serious business. Caution and common sense play a big role here.

Wearing appropriate clothes, like having shoes and sleeves are a great idea. Having all of the proper tools from your fryer kit right on hand is a necessity. You don’t need to search for the grab hook or basket lifter when the time comes to use it. Other important equipment to use and have on hand when using any outdoor propane deep fryer, are heavy duty long gloves,  safety goggles, a bucket of sand and an all purpose fire extinguisher. Remember…water and hot oil don’t mix. A hose used on any grease or oil fire can just make matters worse.

Always use your propane fryer outdoors. An open area is best, away from houses, garages, wooden decks, trees, and shrubs. Find a nice, flat, level piece of ground. Make certain that children and pets have another area to play in. You also want to be certain that your deep fryer will not be in a walk through area. Always make sure that there is at least 2 feet of space between your propane tank and the fryer burner. Make sure that no one is going to try to walk between the tank and the burner. Place your tank and fryer so that any wind will blow the heat of the burner and fryer away from your LP gas tank. Keep in mind that there are some  outdoor electric fryer units on the market. The same goes for these units. They are intended for outdoor use, not in your kitchen or on your wooden porch or deck. You also want to make sure that your cord will not get walked into, yanking the cord out of the wall or flipping your fryer over.

Never leave the fryer unattended. This goes for any type of deep fryer, indoors or outdoors. You always need to keep a careful watch during the deep frying process. If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas immediately and cover the stock pot with a lid. Sand and again an all purpose fire extinguisher are great to have on hand. Also if your oil begins to smoke badly, immediately turn off the gas.

Being sober while deep frying is pretty important. You will have time afterward when the cooking is done and the oil has cooled or been stored away. Keeping your friends that are partying, safe and away from the hot oil is important too. Just like the kids and the dogs, make sure that any rowdiness, rough play or an over zealous drinkers have there own place far from gas tank lines, burners, and hot oil.

Make sure that your stock pot or Dutch oven is properly centered over your burner. You don’t want food or hot oil upending because the pan just wasn’t centered.

Remember to use the tea bag dunking method. Any time you add something in to hot oil, it is going to bubble and spit. Just dropping a turkey or whatever you are frying, right in to the stock pot is just asking for trouble. This will result in a major boil over and a possible fire hazard. If you are really worried, when the time comes to put the turkey in the pot, shut the burner off for a couple of minutes until your bird or other food, is safely nestled in the pot. Then turn the burner back on.

Always give your fryer proper time to cool down before straining or disposing of the oil. Even though the unit is turned off, the oil will remain hot for quite a while. You still need to keep the kids, big and small, and dogs away from it while it cools. With a traditional turkey fryer, get a battery operated pump or enlist a friend or two to help strain and funnel the oil. The oil can be used again if stored properly. Once the oil is cooled, you can strain and funnel the oil into storage containers with ease. If tailgating, funnel empty warm oil into clean, metal Gerry Cans. The cans will still be hot but they may be stored out of high traffic areas. The fryer will cool down quicker allowing you to put it away sooner. That way you may enter the stadium and enjoy the game, without the danger of someone stumbling into your hot fryer while you are away from it.

Don’t be scared of your deep fryer. Have fun with it! Just use caution, think safely and use sober, common sense.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011 @ 09:09 AM

Using caution while deep frying, whether indoor with a Presto counter top deep fryer or an outdoor propane deep fryer, is just common sense. And using your own common sense will often help with being cautious and staying safe.

Always use your indoor deep fryer indoors. When using a counter top deep fryer you should always position your fryer well back from the edge on an even, level, cooking surface, table or counter top. Do not let the cord drape over the edge of the counter or table. Keep the cord out of reach of children and out of walk through areas.

Always make sure that foods are properly thawed before deep frying. Ice crystals on frozen chicken wings can cause a boil over of hot oil that you will be cleaning up for days!

Try to dry any wet or watery foods as water and oil don’t mix. When wetness hits the hot frying oil, splattering will occur. Remove excess moisture by blotting wet foods with paper towels.

Use good oil or all purpose shortening for deep frying. Deep frying foods in butter, margarine, or animal fat is not a good idea due to the low smoking point. (A smoking point is the temperature at which the fat or oil begins to break down and produce bluish smoke. After smoke point you near the flash point. Flash point is where the the oil ignites. Since deep frying foods is a very high temperature process, it requires a fat or oil with a high smoke point, like refined soybean or peanut oil.)

Always preheat your frying oil. Your oil should be at a proper temperature before lowering foods into the cooker. If the oil is not at a proper temperature to deep fry, your food will absorb oil instead of creating a protective barrier that cooks food, seals moisture in and crisps the outside. Also do not overload your fryer basket, as too many items at one time can also significantly lower the temperature of the cooking oil and allow for oil absorption. Frying pieces that are similar in size will also help in getting everything fried around the same time, rather than having to leave smaller pieces in the basket until the larger pieces finish cooking. Remember that smaller amounts of food will cook faster, so placing uniform pieces in a single layer in the bottom of the basket will result in quicker and more even browning and doneness.

Always work slowly when lowering a fryer basket into hot oil. NEVER drop the basket in. You should dip the basket like steeping a tea bag, until the oil settles down. This also helps keep some of the food from getting totally fried together. Dunk the basket raise it and shake a little to separate any pieces that have a potential to be deep fried together. Then continue this process until you can safely submerge the basket completely without an oil boil over.

Always use the equipment that comes with your fryer, like the basket and the lift/drain hook. Always wear protective gloves and having protective eye gear is a great safety measure as well.

NEVER leave your deep fryer unattended. This goes for turkey fryers, safer fryers, counter top fryers, and stove top deep fryers. You always need to keep a careful watch during the deep frying process. Should a grease fire occur, turn off gas immediately and cover the pot with a lid. Most counter top units have an emergency release cord, so unplug and cover. Baking soda and an all purpose fire extinguisher are great to have with electric fryers.

Deep frying food is tasty and fun. Using caution and common sense while deep frying can make for a very pleasant culinary experience.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011 @ 08:09 AM

This is a perfect time of year for a turkey fryer. Well, any time of year is a great time for a turkey fryer as you can use them for almost anything.

Fall, besides the obvious Turkey Day, is full of tailgating, canning, festivals, fairs, and football. Having a turkey fryer, a stock pot and outdoor propane cooker, can be handy for all sorts of fall festivities!

A traditional turkey fryer not only deep fries food, it can also steam, simmer, boil, & stew. A tailgate crew with a turkey fryer kit has it going on. You can steam corn, boil potatoes, deep fry turkey or Buffalo wings, make chili or have a Low Country Boil. Menu options are endless!

If you are an avid gardener, being able to cook down tomatoes or berries, without having to heat up the kitchen in those warm early fall days is great. Set up your stock pot and cooker outside and start the canning process on the patio. This goes the same for apple sauce, beets, blanching a ton of green beans, whatever. You can also cook down your maple sap in the spring to make syrup.

Fall festivals are great places for turkey fryers. Most Autumn fairs are held outdoors. Sometimes electric is not an option.  Having an outdoor propane deep fryer can come in quite handy. Having mulled wine or hot cider for fair goers on a cold Autumn afternoon is a great way to make some cash. Cooking up corned beef and cabbage for your local fire department’s Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day fund raiser, having a turkey fryer or 5 is a must! Tie Dying with scouts at a fall Halloween function, you need a turkey fryer stock pot. And don’t forget the football. A huge stock pot full of HOT chocolate or hot cider at an away night game. What could be better? Besides having a turkey fryer around for Thanksgiving is a must. Even if you are not deep frying a turkey, having a stock pot to make turkey stock with after the big day is great. A big old turkey carcass does not fit in most pans that you keep under the counter.

If you have a turkey fryer, but don’t use it that often, then it is time to get it out of the garage and dust it off. If you don’t have one, it’s time to get one. These multi-purpose cookers are a must have for any cook, be they amateur or pro.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011 @ 09:09 AM

Smoked food without a smoker you say? How do you smoke food without a traditional outdoor BBQ smoker? Why with smoker bags, smoker cans, or one of three different stainless steel “smoker” units by Camerons Cookware.

Do you live in an apartment that has rules regarding grills and smokers, but love the taste of smoked foods?

Do you tailgate often but hate having to load up a big bulky grill every time you go to the game?

Do you live alone or have all the kids finally left home?

Are you an amateur gourmet that likes to add smokey flavor to garlic, cheeses, or salts to add to your latest recipe?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then one of the Camerons products may be right for you.

With a smoker bag you can smoke a whole meal with the subtle smoke flavor of mesquite, hickory, or alder. The bags can be placed in an oven, on a grill, or even right in a camp fire. And clean up is as quick and easy as removing the food and throwing away the bag.

Feel like something different in your smokey flavor? Tired of the usual hickory and mesquite? Flavorwood cans come in the traditional flavors but you can also get, apple, peach, cherry or pecan. Good for one to three rounds of food smoking right on your grill, charcoal or propane.

Now we come to the smokers. These can be used on a stove top, in the oven, on your camp stove or even on a picnic table with a sterno can. In fact you can use them on any heat source – gas, electric, flat top or induction, sterno, grill or campfire. They are stainless steel, durable and easy to clean. Great for camping and tailgating. Components stack together for easy storage. Light enough and compact enough for back pack cooking equipment.

The Camerons Stovetop Smoker, Mini Gourmet and Li’l Smokey all come with a sample pack of special made, kiln dried, all natural wood chips. The flavor assortment of wood chips available contains the traditional smoke flavors as well as other hardwood and fruit woods and even a bourbon infused wood chip.

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Monday, September 12, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

Fall is in the air. It’s time for tailgating again. Time to pump up that tailgate menu of yours.Why not add a deep fryer to your tailgate gear?

Scared of taking a deep fryer to your next tailgate party? There are plenty of safer fryers out there that are worthy of the stadium parking lot.

A perfect example is The Cajun Fryer by R & V works. These fryers are portable outdoor propane deep fryers. They are made safer by their design & construction. Metal tubes inside these fryers contain the flames, but still get the oil perfectly hot enough to fry whatever you like. Any spillage that may occur would happen in the front of the fryer, well away from any exposed flame. Therefore, no oil should ever touch the flames. And, as I said, they are portable. Wheels with a rolling caddy. The Cajun Fryers can actually be removed from the caddy for easier transport, storage, and for table tailgating. They can also be made with special trailer mounts should you decide that you want to permanently attach your fryer to a tailgating trailer.

Cajun fryers come in many different sizes too. From a 2 1\2 gallon for smaller tailgates, perfect for wings for your group, all the way up to a 17 gallon size. The 17 gallon size, or FF6, is technically 2- 8 1\2 gallon fryers put together. 6 baskets, 3 for each side. If you have a larger tailgate going on you are able to use the whole unit. If you have a smaller crowd or away game that not everyone could make, just fire up one side. There are plenty of other sizes in between.

If you are worried about hot oil being left in your fryer while you are in the stadium, no worries. After the oil cools a little, you just need a radiator hose and an appropriate hose end. Attach it to the drain valve & store the oil in  cleaned, metal Gerry Cans. The metal will still be hot, but you will be able to store it out of harms way while you and your friends enjoy the game.

Traditional turkey fryers are great too.  Turkey fryers are very versatile. The big stock pot allows you not only to deep fry in them, you can also steam, boil, stew, etc. Steam up a bunch of corn on the cob while you are cooking steaks on the grill. Make chili or sausage and peppers for the big game. Steam up some lobster before the Race to The Chase. The options are endless. Deep fry a turkey for the pre-game party. Great for those Thanksgiving Day games!

This holds true for All-In-One cookers too. Not only can you deep fryer, steam, boil, and stew, these units are also a bbq smoker & grill. Everything you need to change up your tailgating menu throughout the season!

So, why not take a Cajun deep fryer tailgating? Your team playing against Buffalo? Make Buffalo wings. Eat the competition before the game even starts!! Deep fry some mozzarella sticks for that Cheese Head game. Fry up some catfish for A Ragin’ Cajun game. Eagles fans…make up a mess of Philly Cheese steaks. Your menu can be as imaginative as you are. Get out there and start cooking!

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Saturday, September 10, 2011 @ 03:09 PM

This past week, there was an article in the Washington Post Express called “Campfire, Rewired: Gadgets to Make Cooking While Camping A Breeze” written by Nevin Martell. He discusses some products to make camp cooking easier.  Trailer camping and tailgating with grills and smokers are always an option. Tenting and hiking are a completely different entity. I mean it’s not like you can pack up a BBQ smoker in your back pack and hike into the woods with it.

One of the products featured by Nevin in his article was The Li’l Smokey by Camerons. The manufacturers at Camerons have a few products that make tenting and cooking a breeze. The Li’l Smokey, The Mini Gourmet Smoker and The Stovetop Smoker. These are stainless steel cookers that can be used outdoors using sterno, your campfire or a gas burner. Great for camping or backpacking as they are much lighter than your cast iron skillet. The lighter the better. These “smokers” can also functions as a steamer, a poacher, a roasting pan or a stovetop oven. All the components nest together inside the base for convenient storage and clean up is quick and easy.

And they aren’t just for outdoor cooking. You can use them at home as well. Apartment rules against barbecue grills got you down? With these smokers you can smoke food anytime you want.

Are you an amateur gourmet cook? Want to add some smoked garlic or smoked salts to zest up a recipe? These indoor smokers are perfect for this application.

The uses here are endless. With the specially ground, kiln dried, all natural smoking chips you can add many different flavors to whatever you’re cooking. The traditional hardwoods are available as well as some fruit woods and specialties like bourbon soaked. You can even mix and match some of the flavors to make unique flavorful blends.

Smoking foods made easy. Cooking in the great outdoors or just like the great outdoors right on your stovetop!

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Friday, September 9, 2011 @ 09:09 AM

Well the football tailgating season has finally arrived. Be it NCAA, Pro ball, or even the local high school football team, the tailgaters are flying their team colors high. It has been a rocky start so far with Mother Nature unleashing some of her worst in many areas. Soggy games, hotter-n-heck games. We need a nice crisp, fall, sunny weekend all over America for every game. Just one weekend Mom Nature…that’s all we ask. Well…maybe more than one weekend.

For those of us hard core tailgaters, we don’t care if it’s raining or not, heck, there could even be snow! We’ll be out there. The BBQ smoker is lit, the charcoal is starting to glow in the grill, the deep fryer is bubbling and spitting, the beer is cold and our flags are blowing in the wind. We are praising our team, reliving high lights of our favorite games, eating, partying and making new memories with our bestest of friends.We prefer good weather to tailgate in, but we will still be there!!

Everyone has their own place in a tailgate. I prefer to be chief cook, but NOT bottle washer. It isn’t always about being the cook either. I like to make sure the tailgate bin is stocked with the appropriate gear and I like to plan tailgate menus. You can’t eat the same stuff week in week out. And the bin doesn’t always have everything that you need with every menu change.

I’ve been to NASCAR races where the tailgaters are all eating hot dogs and burgers. BLAH! That’s ok once in a while but you went all out and traveled far to get to this race. Why not bring out a steak or some pork chops. You brought all of your tailgate gear…make something better to eat. A football game is one day. A race is all weekend!! Take some pride in your tailgate!

I’ve been to NHRA races and other drag racing competitions. Now, these are hardcore tailgaters. They bring BBQ smokers and have rib competitions while the drag racing is going on. I’ve even seen the Philly Cheese Steak Queen bring a 60 qt. stock pot and a outdoor propane cooker and make cheese steaks for like 50 people. I’ve seen one group that brought every piece of cooking equipment that their tailgate group had. Grills, smokers, deep fryers, table top skillets. They were there for the whole weekend and had at least 25 people with them. They ate good. Ribs, wings, steaks, sausages. Why not right? (I think these people were football tailgaters too. HEY, you can do both!!!! No judging!)

I know of many football tailgaters that take pride in their party and their menu. Never just burgers and dogs and canned beer! I know of one group in Philly (big Pro Ball fans) that actually cook a meal that somehow represents the opposing team at every game. That way they eat the competition before the game even starts. Hahahha!!

Well let’s get into the full swing of the season. Bring on the football, rain or shine. Put on your teams colors and let,s get out there and tailgate!!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 @ 10:09 AM

I am reflecting today. It is coming up on the 10th year since that dreadful day that all Americans will never forget.

I refuse to call it an anniversary. An anniversary is a happy and blessed occasion.This day was far from that!

I was living about 60 miles outside of Manhattan at the time on the south shore of Long Island. I’m still not sure if it hit home harder for all of us in the tri-state area than the rest of the country. Many of us were directly involved or knew someone personally that was.

Ten years later and we still are experiencing aftermath. Many of the men and women that were there that day or that worked the many weeks afterward, searching and clearing are now sick. They have developed incurable and fatal diseases.

Life certainly changed for many people that day.

This is just a remembrance in honor of those that were lost that day and in honor of the many heroes that stepped up, putting the lives of others ahead of their own. We will never forget!

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Friday, September 2, 2011 @ 11:09 AM

Craig’s Way Tailgate is a group of a dozen young professionals who have grown up in and around Austin, TX. They enjoy spending  Saturdays during the Fall  watching college football and rooting on the Horns together.

How It All Began:

October 14, 2006 – The Horns were hosting the Baylor Bears. The leaves were changing, not a cloud in the sky, slight nip in the air- perfect football weather. The usual pre-game routine was to grab a beer at Scholtz or call around and see whose tailgate party they could crash. That’s all fine and good but sometimes you just want something a little more.

The  group of friends decided to start their own tailgate.

How hard could having your own tailgate really be?

Come to find out—a lot more difficult than the guys originally anticipated. They borrowed some tents, packed a cooler of beer, and stumbled upon the field at 15th and Trinity.

They now have a beautiful BBQ smoker and all sorts of grills that they take to every function. They have inflatable tents, games, and a few more people involved. They have partnered up with many companies, started a web page, and got a whole network in the social media world going, just to make their tailgate party all that it can be.

Over the years their tailgate has evolved, but the goal from the beginning has stayed the same. They still enjoy a handful of Saturdays tailgating with some great friends and and watching some great football. They hope you’ll come out and join them this year.

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