Frustrating Challenges and Rewards of Using Commercial Deep Fryers in Your Food Truck: Expert Commercial Fryer Buying Guide

Buck Sewell here from Food Truck HQ USA, your go-to guy for all things food truck related! Running a successful food truck is an exhilarating adventure, but choosing the right equipment can be a game changer. One essential, yet challenging, piece of gear is the Fryer. From deep frying crispy chicken wings to golden french fries, the right fryer can elevate your menu and keep customers coming back for more. However, managing a fryer typically on a truck isn’t without its headaches. In this expert buying guide, we’ll dive into the ups and downs of using fryers while helping you discover the best options for your mobile kitchen. Where the fryer may be the king of the commercial kitchen. It may be the demise of your mobile business.

Why You Need a Commercial Fryer for Your Food Truck

Having a fryer on your truck or trailer is a total money maker! No Doubt! Everything good abut fryers make money! Everything about fryers is not all good, but we will start there.

  • Efficiency: Commercial fryers are built for speed, letting you serve up high volumes of food fast. You can order most foods preped and ready to drop. This saves tons of time on prep.
  • Consistency: Perfectly fried, golden goodies every single time. Consistency is key, and a commercial fryer delivers. Time management, all the key factors you need from a piece of equipment.
  • Versatility: From appetizers to desserts, a fryer can help you create a diverse and exciting menu, or you can just sling one item all day long.
  • Durability: These machines are built to last, handling the daily grind of truck life and they are simple. 

The Drawbacks of Using Commercial Fryers in a Food Truck

Alright, let’s get real about the challenges:

  • Space Constraints: Food trucks are small, and fryers are need space. Finding room for one can be like playing a game of Tetris! The person running it needs their own space. Remember this in your design.
  • Maintenance Hassles: Cleaning and maintaining a fryer is time-consuming and requires diligence. It’s an added chore in an already busy day. Plus its has a danger element that you don’t have to deal with out of other equipment.
  • Safety Concerns: Hot oil in a small space? Yikes! Ensuring your truck fryer is secured is crucial for safety. Safety protocols are a must to avoid spills and burns. Make sure to get that cover for sure.
  • Power and Fuel Needs: Deep fryers need a lot of power or propane, make sure the power source or propane required will be able to sustain long days.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Food Truck Fryer Model

1. Capacity- Consider the Volume of food you’ll need

  • Basket Size: Larger baskets mean more food per batch. Consider your menu and choose a basket size that matches the amount of food you will need. Also, means more tuck space is consumed.
  • Oil Capacity: Bigger oil capacity equals more food at once, and you may not need all that volume unless you’re operating in a truck business where volume is key. It’s better to get a process that can keep up an even pace, be able to shut down, and recover promptly. Bigger is not always better.

2. Fuel Type- Electric or Propane 

  • Electric Fryers: Great if you’ve got reliable electricity. Easy to clean and maintain, they suck a lot of juice. better be ready to grab that big generator.
  • Gas Fryers: Heat up fast and can handle heavy volumes. They recover quick and the dollar to fuel consumption is better. Overall a better choice as far as I am concerned. 

3. Temperature Control

  • Remember what food you’ll be frying. The higher the BTU the faster the recovery. Also means more fuel consumption. We will get into the logistics of that at the end.

4. Ease of Cleaning

  • Removable parts and built-in oil filtration systems make cleaning better, saving you precious time and maintaining the best commercial fryer performance. Remember it is the draining and cooling that take the most time.

5. Safety Features

  • Automatic shut-off, overheat protection, and cool-to-touch handles are a good touch for safety, buts lets be honest. Oil is dangerous and should be taken very seriously. 

Different Types of Commercial Deep Fryer Options

1. Countertop Fryer

Countertop deep fryers are compact and portable, making them ideal for trucks with limited space. They are perfect for small to medium batches of fried foods. These fryers are usually electric, making them easy to plug in and use without worrying about propane. Electric Countertop Fryers are a good way to add and remove equipment when food changes might be needed. 

2. Floor Fryer

Floor fryers are larger and offer higher capacity, suitable for trucks with more space and a high volume of fried goodies sold. They come in both electric and gas models, with natural gas being a popular choice for heavy-duty fryers. Floor fryers, often fueled by natural gas, are built for heavy-duty use and can handle continuous frying throughout the day.

3. Tube-Type Fryer

Tube-style fryers have tubes running through the oil to heat it. They are great for frying battered or heavily breaded items because the tubes can handle the sediment that falls off. These fryers are typically gas-powered and offer high efficiency and large capacities.

4. Open Pot Fryer

Open pot fryers are designed with an open tank of oil, making them easy to clean and maintain. They are best for foods that don’t produce a lot of sediment, such as fries and chicken wings. Open pot fryers come in both gas and electric versions.

5. Flat Bottom Fryer

Flat-bottom fryers are ideal for delicate items like doughnuts, funnel cakes, and tempura. They have a flat, wide cooking surface that allows for even frying without disturbing delicate foods. These fryers are usually electric and are best for lower-volume frying.

Top Commercial Deep Fryers for You business

1. Small Capacity Fryers (Up to 20 lbs)

Perfect for trucks with limited space or a small menu. These compact fryers are efficient and ideal for frying smaller batches. Dual baskets can boost your frying capacity without hogging extra space.

2. Medium Capacity Fryers (20-40 lbs)

A great balance between size and capacity. These fryers can handle moderate volumes and are perfect for busy operations, as detailed in a fryer buying guide. They’re versatile and reliable for a range of menu items.

3. Large Capacity Fryers (40+ lbs)

If you’re all about fried food or serve in high-traffic areas, a large capacity fryer is essential. These beasts can handle high volumes and keep up with demand, ensuring quick service and happy customers. 

Maintenance Time and Logistics

Daily Maintenance Tasks

  • Cleaning the Fryer: Set aside 30-45 minutes daily to clean the fryer. This is awful for logistics. This includes removing and washing baskets, wiping down surfaces, and cleaning out any food particles. You better hope you move some volume, if not it’s not worth the aggravation.
  • Oil Filtration: Filtering the oil daily takes about 15-20 minutes. It’s essential for maintaining food quality and extending oil life. Many food trucks are gross and don’t do this. you can defiantly taste the difference.

Weekly Maintenance Tasks

  • Deep Cleaning: Allocate 1-2 hours weekly for a thorough cleaning. Drain the oil, boil out the tank, and check for any wear and tear.
  • Checking Components: Inspect and clean burners, heating elements, and other parts to ensure optimal performance, particularly in natural gas models. Clean it when it needs it. Can you say fire hazard?

Monthly Maintenance Tasks

  • Inspect and Replace Parts: Spend 1-2 hours monthly inspecting and replacing worn-out parts. Check seals, gaskets, and thermocouples to keep your fryer in top shape. All part of regular maintenance. 

Logistics Considerations

Fryers on your truck adds levels of logistical maintenance that require planning and diligence. Here’s what to consider:

  • Space Management: Ensure you have enough space for the fryer and safe operation and maintenance. Plan your layout to optimize workflow.
  • Safety Protocols: Implement strict safety protocols for handling hot oil and cleaning the fryer. Train your staff thoroughly.
  • Oil Disposal: Plan for safe oil disposal in compliance with local regulations. This may involve contracting a service for oil pickup and recycling.
  • Power Supply for electric types of fryers.: Ensure your truck’s power supply can handle electric fryers or plan for secure propane storage and refills for gas fryers.

Best Practices for Transporting Your Deep Fryer After an Event

Transporting your fryer safely after an event is crucial for the continuity of your food truck business. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Cool Down: Let the fryer cool completely before moving it. This prevents burns and equipment damage. Too easy.
  • Drain Oil: Drain the oil into a suitable container to lighten the load and avoid spills. Some oil will cool faster, a lot of oil, takes a long time to get travel ready.
  • Use a Dolly or Cart, especially when handling heavy fryer units.: Move the fryer with a dolly or cart designed for heavy equipment. Balance and secure it to prevent tipping, especially important for different types of fryers. Carrying around a bucked of hot oil with no lid is a definite NO GO!
  • Strap Down: Use straps to secure the fryer in your vehicle. This keeps it from shifting during transit, ensuring the fryer oil remains intact. Keep that oil secure and lock it in a cabinet. Safety Matters.
  • Cover the Fryer to protect the type of food oil from contaminants.: Protect the fryer from dust and debris with a cover while transporting or it is not in use. These are hard to find and each fryer is a little different, I know a lot of food truckers that get these fabricated.

Now Let’s Wind Things Down. As Promised, Here is the Science Behind The Propane

Propane is a powerhouse when it comes to fuel, burning hotter than many other fuels. Imagine a cubic foot of propane as 2,516 matches igniting simultaneously. Energy measurements are typically tiny, so the terms we use to describe propane consumption represent vast amounts. Here’s a handy chart to make sense of propane’s numbers and language:

PER HOUR

  • 100,000 BTU = 1.1 gallons of propane
  • 1 therm = 100,000 BTU (gallons per therm: 1.1)
  • 1 million BTU = 11 gallons of propane
  • 1 MCF = 1 million BTU (MCF stands for thousand cubic feet, with “M” representing 1,000 in Roman numerals)

Why This Matters

Understanding these measurements isn’t just for showing off at your next BBQ. Knowing the BTU and therms per gallon helps you estimate propane usage, make informed decisions when purchasing appliances, upgrade your propane tank, and understand your energy bills more clearly.

Practical Tips for Propane Usage

Exchanging your grill tanks is a breeze, almost as simple as grabbing bottled water! Consider this: one gallon of liquid propane weighs 4.24 pounds, whereas a gallon of water weighs almost double that at 8.33 pounds. This information is useful depending on what kind of take you have. Installing an auxiliary to hook up 20 pounders is always a good idea, especially of your tanks aren’t removable.

Time to Wrap It Up!

Choosing the best commercial deep fryer for your truck is crucial for serving up delicious, high-quality fried foods. Despite the challenges, the rewards are worth it. Consider size, fuel type, temperature control, ease of cleaning, and safety features to find the perfect fryer. Investing in a reliable, durable fryer will enhance your menu and contribute to your truck’s success. Remember to factor in maintenance time and logistics to keep your fryer in top condition. Keep on Truckin! I appreciate you.

Catch more from me and my team at Food Truck HQ USA and don’t forget to check out our latest creations at Buckndinks!

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