Frying pans may not be recognized as a weapon but after you watch this episode of Kitchen Combat you might think twice about arguing with the chef. Vollrath markets their Wear-Ever series as “extra dent resistant” so we decided to see what dent resistant meant in terms of Man vs Pan. As said in the video, most of our stress testing should not happen in the kitchen unless you make scrambled eggs with a sledge hammer. But, it is always nice to see the true quality of a product. Our verdict, you won’t be replacing a dinged pan anytime soon if your using Vollrath Wear-Ever fry pans.
Check out our selection of Wear-Ever Fry Pans or leave a comment and let us know what you think.
We shall begin by stating that you should never, ever stand on heat lamps. Unless it is in the name of science. While they probably won’t ever be stood upon, Hatco’s heat lamps will undergo a lot of abuse in your food-service operation, especially when used as shelves.
With so much stress that is put on your heat lamps, it is good to know that they could stand up to the pressure of two guys standing on the extruded casing – right in the center. For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology, “extruded” means that a single piece of steel was pushed through a die to form the material. Other manufacturing processes, such as bending or welding flat metal, can lead to weakened joints. So what is the real-world advantage of these heady metal-working terms?
Strength and durability. No one plans for abuse on restaurant equipment, but staff leaning on your shelves or an over-abundance of heavy dinnerware can lead to buckling in the real world. Bent shelves, broken internals, and shattered bulbs can make for a bad night; if the external casing is stronger, you can be sure that the internals are better protected.
In Hatco’s case, two men can stand on a 96” long casing without the sides collapsing and without it laterally warping. Talk about a testament to the overall quality of Hatco’s products. While food warmers are typically in the 24″-72″ range, like Hatco’s Glo-Ray GRAM-24, GRAM-48, and GRAM-72 models, they still have the strength and thickness of the longer piece demonstrated here. The shorter the food warmer is, the less prone it is to bending.
When considering a new heat lamp purchase, consider strength along with wattage, heat type, and length. You never know when you might need it.
Metro’s products are built to stand up to more than their fair share of punishment and to survive the rigors of the foodservice industry. In a rare, never before seen archival video, we’re allowed a brief glimpse of the testing process that Metro subjects each of its products to before certifying that they can stand up to the challenge of a busy kitchen environment.
You’ve got several gallons of hot oil and an open flame. Your kids may all have hangovers. I mean, it should be common sense that frying a turkey is something you would want to dooutside. However, the lure of warmer climes and the draw of being around family (for some people) may make one want to just get it over with and do it indoors. And people do.
This little fact probably is a factor in the jump in house fires on Thanksgiving, when a house fire is roughly twice as likely, according to www.bookofodds.com. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, $21 million dollars in fire damage occurs every Thanksgiving. So don’t think that you will be the lucky one if you fry your turkey indoors; it happens.
Newsflash: you are more likely to burn your house down due to cooking on Thanksgiving than during the average day. That’s not a huge surprise, so what is the takeaway here?
At least the guy semi-saved the broom! Look, the truth is, we all do stupid stuff sometimes, and as long as people keep burning down their houses on Thanksgiving due to a lack of information, we’ll keep spreading the message. Keep your deep-frying out of the kitchen, please.
Is there any good news? On the day after Thanksgiving, the odds of a house fire being caused by cooking equipment significantly goes down. So, if you survive, eat those leftovers with a newly found sense of security.
We continue our walk down Safely Frying a Thanksgiving Turkey Lane next week with fire extinguisher science. Stay tuned!
Last week we delved into the most basic of turkey frying rules, which is don’t put too big of a turkey into too small of a pot. This week, we explore the physics involved with mixing water and oil.
While oil and water may not mix at lower temperatures, when they get beyond water’s boiling point, it gets dangerous. Here is a video to help illustrate:
That’s horrifying. Talk about kitchen combat; it looks like a bomb went off in that pot. So what causes this? Believe it or not, it has little to do with that oil-not-mixing-with-water phenomenon at lower temperatures. Steam is the answer.
When water becomes steam, it expands rapidly to about 1700 times its original volume. Because water boils at 212 °F and you fry turkeys at around 350 °F, any water that comes in contact with properly heated oil will become steam.
So how can you safely boil water, but not put water into hot oil? As you can see from the video, the oil is already on fire. However, it is fairly contained because the surface area is minimal. Remember that fire needs three things to burn, heat, fuel, and oxygen. We have heat and oxygen in spades, but the fuel source is limited to the surface area of the oil, which is π • r² (where r is the radius of the pot.)
Because of the nature of two liquids mixing causes a large volume of the water to come in contact with the oil, a lot of steam is generated very quickly. When the water turns to steam and rapidly expands, it pushes much of the oil out of the pot. The many droplets of oil flying from the pot form a much greater surface area available to burn than before. Thus the fireball.
As a sidenote, you can safely boil water because a) it doesn’t burn and b) the nature of boiling water in a pot (liquid to solid contact rather than liquid to liquid) causes only a small amount of water is convert to steam at a time .
What have we learned? DON’T put a grease or oil fire out with water. You will make things much worse for yourself. So what can you do? Invest in a Class B fire extinguisher, which typically contains carbon dioxide to keep oxygen from reaching the flame. Barring that, you can pour baking soda on small grease fires to extinguish them. Most of all, when frying up a turkey, make sure it isn’t frozen (as frozen turkeys contain a lot of water that will evaporate and otherwise run off when thawed), get a thermometer to make sure your oil is the correct temperature, go slow, and exercise common sense.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so if you don’t have a thermometer yet, feel free to support our sponsor and get one through Restaurant Equipment World‘s site Food Safety World. If you need a good pot to fry your turkey in this year, check out Pot Pan World, too. Thanks for your time, and I hope we’ve enlightened you on how to avoid the need to combat your own kitchen.
Kitchen Combat is now “Thanksgiving Safety Central.” We’re dedicating this November to twice-weekly posts about how to avoid horrible Thanksgiving fried turkey disasters. Don’t worry, we haven’t become a namby pamby safety site, we’re also including some extreme examples of what NOT to do.
Frying turkeys is one way to get some delicious dark meat, but it comes with some dangers. Improperly done, the turkey won’t be the only thing that’s fried. To get an idea of how badly this can go wrong, I present to you a comedy morning show’s very serious demonstration:
Remember when you complained when you had to learn geometry in high school? You can finally put Archimedes’ Principle to use. You know, W=pVg. What, you don’t know what that is? Now I bet you’re wishing you weren’t daydreaming about prom.
Here’s the gist; when you put some stuff in some other stuff, you’d better make sure that there’s enough room for both stuff in your container that holds the stuff. Otherwise…grease fire.
If that wasn’t detailed enough for you, you can always make an accurate mathematical model of your turkey and the pot you are sticking it in with this handy dandy calculator. Just remember to be accurate in the measurements of your turkey, the height of the body, density of the body, density of the liquid, and measuring range. You’re hard work will be rewarded with knowing the draught, replaced volume, buoyant force, weight of body, and measured force.
In short: small turkey, little oil, big pot.
Come back this Tuesday for a little more math: Oil + Water = Disaster
We here at Kitchen Combat fully believe in the power of forklifts. Whether it is lifting a couch to your roommate’s second-story balcony or flipping a car during a riot in style, forklifts are pretty magnificent. Therefore, when we decided we needed to test the value of the Cambro polycarbonate food pans, it was only natural that we thought of our sponsor’s beloved forklift, Norman. You don’t name your forklifts?
Norman is a 6,500 lb. Caterpillar, and inside of his cold steel exterior, there indeed does harbor a beautiful butterfly of a machine. The Cambro food pan, in contrast, weighs possibly 6 oz. and it can harbor any number of things; chicken, mac n’ cheese, grilled charlies….pretty much any food product that will fit within its confines. Since they come in a variety of sizes, that could mean any variety of foods. Of course, we were a little skeptical of the durability of the Cambro food pan. It is really lightweight, first of all, and the polycarbonate is relatively thin. However, after throwing it on the ground and hitting it with a baseball bat, it was barely affected. There were a few marks on it, but no cracks, no dents, no structural effects at all.
That led me to thinking “So what the heck is polycarbonate, anyway?” Well, everyone knows its chemical makeup is 1/n [OC(OC6H4)2CMe2]n. But what are its properties? The always reliable Wikipedia notes that a basic attribute of polycarbonates is that “Unlike most thermoplastics, polycarbonate can undergo large plastic deformations without cracking or breaking.” Well, I could have told you that. It’s almost as if I could be writing these Wikipedia articles.
In any case, although the food pan was ultimately rendered unusable by Norman, it put up a good fight. I firmly believe that in any kitchen, the Cambro food pan would be strong enough to stand many years of abuse. Unless, of course, Norman finds a way into your kitchen. In which case, you have bigger issues at hand.
John Boos makes quality products that will last for years and years, if taken care of. The question is, what does one have to do to take care of a John Boos, let’s say, cutting board? Thankfully, their website has care instructions. An excerpt:
Keep your Boos cutting board clean by simply washing it with hot soapy water after each use and dry it with a clean paper towel or let it air dry. If you want to sanitize the board more thoroughly, a diluted mixture of chlorine bleach or vinegar solution consisting of one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach in one quart of water or a one to five dilution of vinegar.
Do not soak or submerge the board in water, for this will disrupt the moisture content and cause the rails to split. Wood cutting boards are NOT dishwasher safe.
Note that it doesn’t say anything about not burning them, not shooting them, nor throwing them in a wood chipper. Would we ever do these things to a John Boos cutting board to test it’s resolve? Well, it is up to you, dear reader. Let us know what you would like to see done to a John Boos cutting board, and we’ll do our best to make it happen, and film it.