What is a Commercial Pressure Fryer?

Commercial Pressure Fryer
Collectramatic Pressure Fryers

Commercial pressure fryers are very different from household fryers or commercial open fryers.

Fried food’s appeal is universal. You can easily find fried foods anywhere. Southern fried chicken,  beer-battered fish and chips, you name it – thanks to their crispy texture, delicious flavors, and tantalizing aromas. Ultimately, that’s why many restaurants are likely to have fried products on the menu.

If you want to add fried foods to your menu, or are looking to replace existing frying equipment, read on to learn why you should consider a commercial pressure fryer (and specifically, a Collectramatic® Pressure Fryer).

As the name suggests, commercial pressure fryers rely on pressure cooking techniques. Cooking oil cooks food within an enclosed cooking vessel. Once food products are loaded into the fryer, a lid is latched down, creating an air-tight seal. Consequently, as food cooks, it produces steam. Steam builds pressure within the fryer. It is this pressure that speeds the cooking process.

Naturally, the key difference between open (or deep) fryers and commercial pressure fryers is the enclosed pressurized environment. This makes a dramatic difference in the food’s cooking temperature, cooking duration, and the quality and consistency of the end product.

The Science Behind Pressure Frying

Want to know why foods cooked in a pressure fryer are so much tastier than their open-fried counterparts? Curious about why pressure frying is so much more efficient?

  1. The pressure built up in the enclosed fryer increases the boiling point of water. This means water exceeds 212°F before turning to steam. Because of that, most of the food’s liquids that would have been evaporated at a lower boiling point in an open fryer are retained as internal moisture, resulting in a much juicer end product.
  2. Pressure build-up internally also helps increase the overall temperature of the steam inside the fryer, allowing the food to cook faster. Similarly, pressure cookers also maintain the same temperatures and pressures with every batch, ensuring consistency across all batches. In contrast, open frying lacks consistency, as temperatures can be easily affected by the environment.

Check out this fun video for a basic explanation of pressure frying.

Why Should You Get a Pressure Fryer for Your Commercial Kitchen?

Still undecided on whether a pressure fryer is right for your restaurant?
Read on to learn why many operators have opted to invest in this equipment.

Faster Cook Times

During rush periods, there is no time to lose. Food has to be out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. You do not want an open fryer slowing service.

The good news is that commercial pressure fryers cook much faster, allowing you to speed up your production and serve more customers.

Better and More Consistent Flavor

Any operator will tell you that flavor and consistency are key to customer satisfaction. While that is not easily achieved,  pressure fryers can help you get it right every time. This is thanks to its heating and pressure systems, and computerized programming. Serving consistently juicy, crispy fried foods in every batch is made easy.

Healthier

Calling fried foods healthy sounds like a stretch. However, it is essential to note that pressure frying is a healthier cooking method than other high-volume fryers. Pressure frying heats food’s internal moisture and uses that moisture to cook from within. This creates vapor pressure within the food product. This pressure, pushing outward from the food’s interior, helps prevent oil from soaking into the food, ultimately lowering the amount of fat absorbed into the product, as compared to open frying.

Cost-Effective

Certainly, oil reduction is not just a health benefit. On the other hand, it is also a significant cost-benefit. Using less oil and the maintaining oil quality for longer periods helps save on oil consumption overall. Similarly, faster cooking times also help to lower energy consumption. How’s that for cost-effective?

Convinced of the benefits that a pressure fryer can bring to your operation? The next step is to find a suitable fryer. When it comes to an important investment like this, there are several key areas you need to note. We, of course, recommend our Collectramatic Pressure Fryers.

Features

Certain features enhance the effectiveness of pressure fryers. Look for features that help your team reduce their workload.

Winston’s Collectramatic LP56 High-Efficiency Pressure Fryer include the following features:

  • The patented cold zone uses gravity filtration to prevent cracklings from scorching and ruining your oil. This allows up to 360 lbs. of chicken (or other food products) to be fried between filtrations.
  • 6-head capacity (or 18 lbs. of food product)
  • 75 lbs. shortening (or oil) capacity
  • 8 preprogrammed (and programable) channels
  • Choice of clamshell or quarter-rack basket systems. Quarter-rack systems minimize tonging and handling of chicken. Shelves can be moved from basket to sheet pan without tonging each piece individually.
  • Built-in safety features, such as an automatic shutoff if the fryer gets too hot (over 410°F), and an alarm that automatically disengages the heaters if they are inadvertently allowed to be exposed to air.

Add a Winston Shortening Filter to get the most from your Winston fryer. The filter is built for mobility. Consequently, you can use a single filter unit to service multiple fryers.

foodservice products Collectramatic LP46 Pressure Fryer foodservice products

The Most Trusted Brand

Winston offers commercial fryers in both pressure and open configurations. Check out their entire fryer product line here.

For over 50 years, Collectramatic Fryers have been leaders in the foodservice industry. Originally designed for Harland Sanders (yes, Colonel Sanders), they’re a reliable workhorse. Built with only a few moving parts, they last for decades (with regular care and maintenance, of course). Simple to operate, clean, and maintain, Collectramatic fryers will keep you frying, and keep your customers happy and fed.

Five Things to Know When Purchasing a Commercial Fryer

Chicken is a customer favorite. According to the National Chicken Council, Americans now consume nearly 100 pounds per capita annually. Customers consume more chicken than beef or pork every year. This is why operators should make serving the best chicken a priority. Offering this customer favorite comes with a few “need to knows” that every foodservice professional should consider before purchasing a fryer.

1. Pressure fryers produce better chicken (and cost less to operate).
  • Collectramatic Pressure Fryers consistently produce tastier chicken. The fryer design makes a difference in food quality. Expert operators have told us how they can taste the difference between chicken cooked in a Collectramatic fryer and other pressure fryers.
  • In pressure fryers, a pressurized bubble forms around chicken, trapping in natural juices, nutrients, and flavor. There is minimal flavor transfer, and chicken cooks faster than in open fryers. The frying process decreases wait times, while producing consistently good chicken.
  • Collectramatic Pressure Fryers typically cost less to operate. The TCO on these fryers is low, offsetting up-front costs. Pressure fryers cook chicken at a lower temperature than open fryers, requiring less energy over the life of the fryer. Lower temperatures also extend shortening life.
2. Open fryers make good chicken too.
  • If a pressure fryer is not an option, commercial open fryers produce delicious chicken as well. There are many different commercial open fryers. Collectramatic Open Fryers, like the OF59C, are made for high-volume operations. Chicken isn’t the only delicious fried food. Some food products, like jalapeno poppers or butterfly shrimp, are best when open fried.
3. Programmable presets are important.
  • When purchasing a commercial fryer, operators should look for fryers with programmable presets. These presets ensure a consistently high-quality product and reduce the amount of training and labor. Look for units with enough storage channels to add future presets to accommodate menu changes.
4. Clean oil is an essential part of producing good chicken.
  • Oil (or shortening) is a factor to consider during the buying process and daily operations. Clean oil produces better chicken. Collectramatic fryers use simple gravity filtration to keep oil fresh longer, extending the length of time between mechanical filtrations.
  • Oil starts to break down when cooking temperatures exceed 360°F. For that reason, Collectramatic fryers have a maximum temperature of 360°F. Most cook cycles involve settings lower than this temperature. When oil breaks down, it should be filtered promptly to ensure a quality, consistent product. Oil life can also be extended by maintaining a consistent level and avoiding overfilling cookpots.
5. It’s important to keep chicken fresh and at a correct hot temperature before serving.
  • For some operations, serving quality chicken only concerns frying, because the product is immediately served. Other operations require a heated merchandiser or holding cabinet that keeps chicken at the correct safe temperature. One of Winston’s other product lines is CVap® holding and cooking equipment. CVap Holding Cabinets are particularly well-suited for holding fried chicken. CVap’s unique dual-heat system keeps chicken hot and just-cooked fresh for extended periods. This helps you power through rush periods with minimal delays and no sacrifice in food quality.

Why Choose Winston Collectramatic Pressure Fryers?

commercial pressure fryer

American-built Quality

Winston manufacturers all our fryers and controls in our Louisville, Kentucky headquarters/ We don’t rely on third-party vendors. Rigorous engineering and testing assure that each fryer we sell is built to the highest quality standards. Our experienced, dedicated workforce build pride into every product we ship.

repair

We Make Life Easy for Servicers

No matter what brand of commercial fryer you choose, at some point it will need to be serviced by a skilled technician. Collectramatic Pressure Fryers are well known in the industry as being easy to work on. So, when the time comes for maintenance, your technician will thank you.

collectramatic

Smaller Footprint

Bulky cooking appliances that take up too much space in your commercial kitchen cause problems – safety concerns, workflow disruptions, and frustration, to name a few.

Collectramatic Pressure Fryers have a well-engineered, compact design with a smaller overall footprint than our competitors, to help alleviate these issues. They offer more production from a smaller footprint.

collectramatic cookpot

Round Cookpot Offers Consistent Cooking

Say goodbye to cold spots or undercooked chicken. Our commercial pressure fryers feature a round cookpot. Since there are no corners, heat is evenly distributed. This produces chicken that is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, every time. Cylindrical cookpots have a big advantage over square fryers when it comes to durability. Because pressure is distributed evenly throughout the cookpot, there are no corners to stress and eventually fail.

Contact Winston Foodservice Today

For over 50 years, Winston has provided reliable equipment to help foodservice operators meet the growing demands of their customers. Our sales team and global network of sales representatives are happy to consult with you and help you figure out the best equipment to meet your goals.

Fill out a contact form, or call 800-234-5286 to speak with a member of our team.

Fried Chicken and Steamed Rice Held in CVap Stay So Nice!

Cvap Steaming rice

Uncle Jack Fried Chicken is a Malaysian restaurant chain. They use our Collectramatic pressure fryers. Ordinarily, they serve chicken from a display warmer. To maximize holding time, they limit the warmer to 35°C (95°F), putting a limit on the amount of time they could hold chicken before it was no longer fit to sell. We suggested they test our CVap holding cabinet, in the hopes of extending holding time and improving food quality. We tested fried chicken and steamed rice. The results were exciting!

Holding Cabinet Preparation

The CVap cabinet was set at food temperature 54°C (129°F) and food texture at + 28°C (82°F). We gave the cabinet 45 minutes to preheat.

Chicken
12:05pm: 

The chicken moved from the fryer to the holding cabinet (15 pieces). Chicken was crispy outside, moist inside. The meat was very hot to touch. The taste was really good.

Rice
12:10pm: 

Cooked rice (wrapped in oil paper) was put into the same holding cabinets with fried chicken. Initial rice quality was moist, sticky, and fragrant.

Fried Chicken
13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)

The chicken was still crispy outside (though slightly less crisp than when first removed from fryer). Interior was still hot, and the color was unchanged. The chicken breading remained crisp.

UJ Fried Chicken
13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)

Chicken was still crispy and moist. Color was good. Food retained flavor, with minimal freshness loss.

Fried Chicken
13:55pm (holding for 2 hours)

The skin remained crispy, though not as crisp as when initially fried. Flavor and moisture were still good. Color had not darkened.

Steamed Rice
14:00pm (rice held for 2 hours)

Rice was hot and tasted fresh. Not dried out at all.

Chicken Fried
15:35pm (3.5 hour holding time)

The chicken tasted good. Its skin remained crispy, and its meat, moist. Although it was not “just cooked” fresh after 3.5 hours, it was still at a safe temperature. It remained appetizing enough to serve.

Steamed Rice
15:40pm (after holding for 3.5 hours)

Rice was hot, and texture was good.

CVap Holding Cabinet Test Conclusions

Electricity Consumption: 800 watts

Holding Capacity per Cabinet: 13 full-size sheet pans, each rack equals one basket (4 heads) chicken or 338 pieces

Goals for Future Testing

  1. Extending the holding time for the chicken without compromising the texture, taste, and food safety.
  2. Testing other products, (wrapped rice was incorporated).
  3. Improving staff workflow.
  4. Staff can pre-prepare chicken during lean hours in preparation for peak hours, shortening the waiting time while producing the best-tasting fried chicken.
  5. During lean hours, customers can still savor the taste of freshly fried chicken.
  6. Minimize food shrinkage.
  7. Minimize food waste.
  8. Consequently, extension of holding times for other foods is possible since CVap cabinets are versatile enough to hold both crispy and moist foods. So holding fried chicken and steamed rice together was not a problem!

One Final Note – CVap Technology is Great, But It’s Not Magic.

The very nature of fried foods (crisp outside with moist interior) promotes evaporation. CVap technology is the best available to maximize holding time, but even CVap, using the necessary high differential setting (the difference of food texture setting over the food temperature setting) will eventually lose the battle to maintain food temp and freshness. It’ll hold fresh longer than the competitors, but if the food is crunchy (fried chicken, French fries, etc), it can only be held for so long.

On the other hand, moist foods, such as rice or noodles, are perfect for CVap and can be held for many hours with no loss of temperature or quality.

The consensus of the Uncle Jack test was that it was possible to lengthen the chicken’s holding time. More testing is needed to perfect the texture, taste, and crispiness.

Bringing the Heat with Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken

Winter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.

Nashville Hot Chicken’s History

Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it. Consequently the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.

The Process

We brined the chicken in the fridge overnight using a simple 6% brine. Learn everything you need to know about brining on our friends’ site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header).

We lightly dusted the chicken with seasoned flour. After that we dipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.

Dipping

Subsequently, we tossed lightly again in breading mix, giving us a light double-breaded chicken. Double-breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried.

Properly prepped, the chicken was ready for the Collectramatic® Fryer.

breaded hot chicken
nashville hot chicken fresh from the fryer

We fried the chicken for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After allowing excess oil to drip away, we painted the spicy special sauce on with a pastry brush.

The hot chicken was as good as we hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.

This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap® Holding Cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.

Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).

Nashville Hot Chicken Recipe

  • 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
  • 1 gallon of 6% brine
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
  • 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

The Process

  1. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Subsequently, whisk flour and remaining four teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
  2. If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer. After that pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F.
  3. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl.
  4. Subsequently dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes until skin is deep golden brown and crisp. Check with an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces to verify that the inner temp registers at least 185°F (165°F for white meat). This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn, for a total cook time of 25 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet.
  7. After that, remove oil from heat and let it cool slightly.
  8. Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl.
  9. Carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard.
  10. Just before serving, brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.

Enjoy!

Chicken Done Cut

Delicious South American Fried Chicken

chicken setpoints

A famous South American fried chicken chain wanted to take a closer look at our Collectramatic® Pressure Fryers. The owner had heard about Collectramatic but had never tested one. His purchasing manager pointed out our price compared to their current brand.

Our goal was to match their current process and texture and to reduce their maintenance costs. Their current fryer cost them a lot of time and money on maintenance.

Maintenance was a simple answer. However, the Collectramatic had more to offer against their current fryer:

  • Only has a few moving parts that relate to pressure.
  • Gaskets are simple to remove and clean.
  • The fryer pot is round and does not have corners that are hard to clean and prone to cracking.
  • Collectramatic fryers’ heating elements are immersed in the oil, resulting in faster recovery time.
  • Fryers can fryer up to 20 batches of 6 heads of chicken (120 heads) without filtering. On the other hand, their fryer needed filtering after only four to five batches.
settings for south american fried chicken
Chef Barry tests the settings on the Collectramatic

The South American Fried Chicken Test

We cooked a few rounds of South American fried chicken at our “normal” setting. Although the final color matched their website photo, the customer was looking for a much darker chicken.

Clearly, the big question was whether our Collectramatic fryer was capable of matching the South American fried chicken they were looking for? “I had confidence, but they have a unique process that I had not tried before,”, said Chef Barry.

First, the chicken was breaded and then refrigerated for a minimum of one hour before frying. In our test, the breaded chicken was loaded into a  quarter rack basket, then placed in the refrigerator. On the other hand, they customarily breaded the chicken, placed it directly on a sheet pan, and refrigerated it. Later, they would hand drop each piece of chicken into the pressure fryer.

Now the big test! Having never had the opportunity to try their chicken beforehand, we had never tasted their breading or their chicken (secret stuff). We were ready! So Chef Barry set the Collectramatic to their setting of 350°F for 12 minutes and 30 seconds.

Amazing Results!

The breaded chicken was pulled from the refrigerator after one hour. Needless to say, the breading was fully set, as opposed to when you bread and place it directly into the fryer. We loaded the chicken in the fryer and started cooking.

In the meantime we waited patiently as the Collectramatic fryer went to work, uncertain how this breaded, refrigerated chicken would turn out.

After the buzzer sounds we pull the chicken. The chicken appears much darker than we are used to. We look at the customer to gauge his reaction. Nothing.

We then un-racked the chicken and let the customer dive in.

He begins pulling pieces apart, looking very closely at the breading, and studying the interior like a true fried chicken professional. Taking a knife, he cuts through the bone to examine the marrow. He grabs a thigh and takes a huge bite. Wait for it… “Perfect, now that’s what I’m talking about!”

We were still a bit skeptical about the dark color until we grabbed our first piece and took a bite. The exterior was dark, firm, crunchy with that old-school black iron skillet fried chicken look. It did not have a burned or overcooked taste. The interior was very juicy and very tender. It was absolutely amazing!

It is clear why this South American fried chicken chain has such a huge following.

So, the next time you are making fried chicken in our Collectramatic fryer, give this breading option a try. You will not be disappointed!

south american fried chicken
Single Chicken

Winston Collectramatic Pressure Fryer: Benefits for Fried Chicken

Fried chicken

Poultry Trivia:

  • More than half of all chicken entrees ordered in restaurants are for fried chicken.
  • In 2020, 95% of commercial restaurants had fried chicken on their menu.
  • The average American eats over 80 pounds of chicken each year.
  • According to the National Chicken Council, more than 1.4 billion wing portions were consumed on Super Bowl Weekend in 2020 (more than 100 million pounds).

What menu item is going to keep customers coming back for more? To-go orders? Catering offerings? What is going to set your operation apart from your competition? Fried chicken! It’s the ultimate comfort food; perfect for challenging times.

Let’s look at the features and benefits of our Collectramatic® Pressure Fryers. Available in 4-head (32 pieces per drop) and 6-head (48 pieces per drop) configurations.

Fried chicken

Benefits of Pressure Frying:

  • Quicker cook times
  • Juicier product
  • Tenderization
  • Texture control
  • Healthier product

Benefits of a Winston Collectramatic Pressure Fryer:

  • Microprocessor controller
  • Reliability – Very few moving mechanical parts to wear out or break.
  • Round pot – For strength with a single weld, sediment cannot build up in the corners and continue to cook/burn the oil.
  • Footprint – It’s all in the numbers. With a LP56 fryer 6-head, you can fry approximately 192 pieces per hour and 1,200 pieces before you need to filter the shortening. Our collector, the largest in the industry, catches all the sediment from the cooking vat, so it does not continue to cook.

At a recent training, with an install of three LP56 Collectramatic fryers, the customer was able to pressure fry 576 pieces per hour and 3,600 pieces before they needed to filter the shortening.

To really boost your program, partner your fryer with a Winston Shortening Filter and a CVap® Holding Cabinet or two, and now you have a fried chicken program sure to bring the hungry crowds through the door!

who doesn't love drumstics?
quarter rack basket to maximize production
wing it!

The Best Fried Chicken

chicken setpoints

the best fried chicken

The testimonials speak for themselves. See what KFC franchisees say about the Collectramatic® fryer. Clearly, it really does make the best fried chicken.

Since joining the Winston Foodservice team, I have always heard “Collectramatic fries the best fried chicken.

When I started in 2002, I just thought this was a biased opinion. “Of course, you say we make the best fried chicken because we build the best fryers!” It tasted great, but was it the best fried chicken?

A few years later, I had the chance to attend the KFC National Show in Orlando, Florida. At the show, I heard it again from numerous franchisees: “Collectramatic makes the best Original Recipe Chicken!” Clearly that phrase wasn’t something we made up. It’s something our customers say, and share with others!

In 2013, I started calling on KFC franchisees to test the saying. Consequently, to this day, I still hear franchisees agree that Collectramatic is the best at frying delicious chicken. The Colonel said it many years ago and the statement still stands true today.

Please don’t take my word for it. Click the links below to see some KFC franchisee testimonials and learn why Collectramatic is truly the best!

Ohio KFC

Illinois KFC 

New York KFC