Ten Facts about Commercial Pressure Fryers

Winston and the Colonel, about 1969

Commercial pressure fryers have been around for decades. Colonel Harland Sanders was the catalyst behind the development of commercial pressure fryers. Among his favorite cookers was the Collectramatic®, designed by Winston’s founder, Winston Shelton. Shelton perfected the early fryer designs of the 60s, creating the fryer that the Colonel preferred. Over 50 years later, the Collectramatic brand is still going strong. 

Here are some interesting facts about pressure fryers.


Tough Old Birds

When fried chicken first became popular as a fast food, the poultry industry wasn’t what it is today. Back then, chickens took nearly twice as long to grow to maturity. That extra time meant they built up a lot of collagen and connective tissue, making the meat tougher. Because pressure frying raises the boiling temperature of the water, it helps the chicken’s internal moisture to break down that tissue, tenderizing the meat.

Fast forward to today. Poultry matures in about half the time as in the 50s and 60s. The high pressure and temperatures needed to cook the old birds are no longer needed. Since the birds are not as tough, cookers can use a lower pressure to get the same tender results. Being able to cook at lower pressures and temperatures reduces energy consumption and makes for a safer kitchen. Lowering the cooking temperature also extends the cooking oil’s life, helping operations be more profitable. 


Put a Lid on It!

The lid on a pressure fryer seals the cooking vessel, allowing pressure to build. This is critical because once pressure builds, it raises the boiling point of water. Raw chicken, by its nature, is a pretty moist product. The chicken itself provides the steam generated during cooking. As pressure rises, less of the chicken’s moisture is lost, and it cooks faster. The end product is more tender and juicier than open-fried chicken.

There’s also a balance of pressure going on inside the pressure fryer. The pressurized cook pot forces hot oil at the surface of the food. But moisture within the food is also trying to expand as it cooks, creating an opposing pressure. The effect is two-fold. The food’s internal pressure balances the external pressure. This speeds up cooking and prevents the food from soaking up much excess oil.


It's Not Just for Bone-in Chicken

While it is true that the vast majority of product cooked in pressure fryers is bone-in chicken, that’s not the only food that can be cooked in them. Boneless items like chicken filets, tenders, and nuggets are also excellent when cooked in a pressure fryer. And pressure fryers aren’t limited to chicken. Proteins with natural juices like steaks, ribs, and pig’s wings can be pressure fried. Potato wedges are also the bomb when pressure fried.


Pressure Fryers Can Do Double-duty

Many pressure fryers are only capable of pressure frying. However, Collectramatic pressure fryers can both pressure fry and open fry. Open frying is as easy as leaving the lid up. Certain foods produce better results when open-fried. These tend to be foods with heavier breading or more delicate foods like fish, shrimp, or french fries.

Being able to both pressure fry and open fry in the same unit is beneficial for operations with tight space constraints. It offers the best of both worlds.  


Pressure Frying Extends Oil Life

You might think that pressure and open fryers consume equitable amounts of oil. But pressure fryers are more frugal with their oil. It’s because of oil’s chemistry.

There are three culprits when oil breaks down – heat, air, and moisture. Pressure frying helps with all three. Pressure fryers cook at a lower temperature, which helps prevent scorching. Having the lid down and the fryer under pressure minimizes the contact between the air and the oil, reducing the oil’s oxidation. And because pressure frying seals most of the food’s moisture inside the food, it cuts down on the degradation of oil by water contamination.

easy holding chicken


Pressure Frying Makes Food Less Greasy

Any time you use oil as a cooking medium, there is a potential for greasiness. But if cooked properly, pressure-fried food isn’t greasy. This can be minimized by managing the temperature of your cooking oil.

Most operators use a stair-step approach to oil temperatures. Food starts in the fryer at a higher temperature, which generates steam (and pressure), and helps the breading set on the food. Next, the oil temperature is dropped so that the food can cook thoroughly without burning the breading. This temperature management will minimize the amount of oil that is allowed to soak into the food. Because moisture is sealed within the food, it emerges juicy, not greasy.

While food that has been open-fried can be crispy, the higher amount of oil that can soak into the food while it’s cooking means that this food will lose its crispiness after a short time, making it unsaleable.


Round Fry Pots are Naturally Better

Fry pots come in two basic shapes: round and rectangular. For a variety of reasons, round pots are the better option. Round pots allow the entire cooking vessel to be encircled with heating elements. This facilitates even heat distribution and better oil circulation. 

Round pots are inherently more durable. A round vessel only requires one weld seam. Seams are naturally the weakest point in the pot wall. While actual seam failures are rare, they can happen. It’s the reason most manufacturers place a limit on a pressure fryer’s helpful lifetime. Collectramatic round pots have operated in restaurants for up to 25 years. Rectangular pots require multiple seams, increasing the odds of future problems. Round pots just last longer.


Mo' Pressure, Mo' Flavor

Pressure frying naturally imparts better flavor to food. As mentioned previously, open frying can transfer the oil’s flavor to the food, overpowering the food’s natural flavors. In contrast, pressure frying seals in the food’s natural flavors and prevents excess oil intake. This results in better flavor and allows the food to lock in moisture.


Consistently Good

Consistency is critical in commercial kitchens. Your customer expects the same high quality every time they visit your operation. Pressure fryers make that possible. The sealed environment of a pressurized fryer allows you to cook at the exact pressure and temperature you want. Computerized controls remove all the guesswork. 

In contrast, open fryers are subject to variations in their environment (ambient temperature, barometric pressure, etc.) that can have a negative effect on the fryer. Consistency is much easier to achieve under pressure.

FACT #10

Keeping Costs in Check

Pressure fryers are simply more efficient than open fryers. They use less oil and make that oil last longer. They have shorter cooking cycles, which saves electricity. And chicken cooked in a pressure fryer stays fresh longer, which reduces waste. Pressure fryers are an all-around win-win.  

Want to know more about pressure fryers? Fill out our contact form, and we’ll be glad to talk to you about your needs and how Collectramatic fryers can be the answer to the challenges you’re facing. 

The Best Practices for Oil Filtration

Best Practices for Oil Filtration

Americans love our fried foods. According to some estimates, as much as a third of the U.S. population eats fried food every day. Fried foods are fast, convenient, and dang tasty. What do all fried foods have in common? Oil. And the #1 way to keep that oil working for you is to adopt the best practices for oil filtration.

Oil (or shortening) is the muscle behind frying. A highly effective cooking medium, it quickly transfers thermal energy into food. Frying under pressure boosts that speed even further. The core truth of frying is that your food will only be as good as your oil. You could be frying the most amazing products, but if your oil is crappy, your food will be crappy. You’ve got to show your oil some love.

Best Practices for Oil Filtration

Oil isn’t cheap. It’s one of the most significant operating expenses for some operations. Adopting best practices extends oil life, allowing you to get maximum use out of every drop. Critically, the most effective way to maintain oil is by filtering. Every fryer manufacturer has its own recommended filter procedure. We’re discussing the best practices for Collectramatic® fryers.

Passive and Active Oil Filtration

Filtering takes two forms: passive and active. Both are important.

Passive filtering involves passing the oil through a filter medium to remove particulate matter. Winston’s Shortening Filter is designed specifically for use with Collectramatic Fryers. However, you may use our filter with virtually any commercial fryer. It uses paper filter material to passively filter oil. The filtering process is simple. You can view it here.

Active filtering involves using a chemical powder to polish the oil. It acts like a magnet that attracts and removes food debris and extracts soluble liquid impurities, dissolved flavorants, and odors that spoil fried food. Examples of filter powers are Fryclone and Magnesol. Although active filtering isn’t needed as frequently as passive filtering, it is equally important. Winston recommends polishing the oil at least once each day

fryer accessories
fryer accessories

How Often Should you Filter?

Collectramatic fryers have a unique design that reduces the frequency of filtering. Nonetheless, our fryers need periodic filtering to maintain high quality. How often depends on the fryer size. The six-head fryer needs filtering approximately every 20 rounds (or 360 pounds of chicken). The smaller four-head fryer needs it every 30 rounds. Or put another way, oil should be filtered after 120 heads of chicken have been cooked. And as mentioned before, we recommend polishing the oil at least once daily.

Why Bother Filtering?

It’s all a matter of taste or flavor. Anything that negatively affects the flavor of your oil will have a similar effect on the food in the fryer. Filtering removes cracklings, debris, impurities, and other materials that can spoil oil flavor. Without the best practices for oil filtration, this will happen sooner rather than later.

Oil degradation isn’t limited to cracklings and contaminants. It’s also subject to oxidation and breakdown from excessive heat. The hotter the cooking temperature, the faster oil will break down. You will replace all oil eventually, but regular filtering and polishing will enable you to maximize its lifecycle.

Of course, you always have the option of just dumping your oil and refilling with fresh oil. But then again, you can pile cash behind your building and light it on fire too. The results are the same.

Essential Fryer Accessories Your Commercial Kitchen Needs

commercial fryer accessories

America loves fried food. It’s a love affair that’s persisted for decades. If your operation serves fried foods, you need a great fryer. And to make the most of that fryer, there are essential commercial fryer accessories that will make your job easier (and your fried food better).

There are many commercial fryer brands. Honestly, we’re not here to discuss the competition. The best commercial fryer is our Collectramatic®. Hands down. 

commercial fryer accessories

What kind of equipment is used for commercial frying?

Like most fryer brands, Collectramatic fryers are available in two configurations: pressure and open. Likewise, the fryers offer 4-head and 6-head capacities. Deciding which configuration and size are right for you depends on your menu and volume.

foodservice products Collectramatic LP46 Pressure Fryer foodservice products
Collectramatic OF59C Open Fryer

Pressure Fryers

Pressure fryers serve a dual purpose. They speed the cooking process, and help tenderize the meat. Pressure fryers were developed and improved by such industry pioneers as Harland Sanders and Winston Shelton. During the post-war boom, fast food operations exploded in popularity. Fried chicken took the country by storm. The poultry of that era was quite different from modern breeds. Mid-century poultry was tougher, with lots of connective tissue. Cooking food under pressure helped to break down that connective tissue, while simultaneously speeding the cooking process. 

Poultry has changed quite a bit. Today’s chicken bears little resemblance to its 1960s cousins. But the advantages of pressure frying remain the same. Of course, if you’re serving fried chicken, it’s a no-brainer to pressure fry. But the same advantages that make Collectramatic pressure fryers perfect for chicken also make them ideal for other proteins that have lots of connective tissue. Think ribs or pig wings. One advantage of Collectramatic pressure fryers is that they can be used to both pressure fry and open fry.

Open Fryers

As the name implies, open fryers are just that – fryers that don’t have a lid. They are ideal for foods that don’t require tenderization, such as tenders, poppers, fish, or shrimp. Open fryers offer a gentler cooking process and are perfect for cooking battered foods to crispy perfection.

What kind of commercial fryer accessories do I need for my kitchen?

Regardless of which Collectramatic configuration you choose, the essential frying accessories are the same.

Included Accessories

Every Collectramatic fryers ships from the factory with these accessories:

  • A clamshell basket (or quarter rack basket)
  • A drain hook
  • A pair of heavy-duty gloves
  • Two collector gaskets
  • A spatula

  • A Teflon brush
  • A long collector
  • A heat plate
  • Pressure fryers also include two lid gaskets
PS1163 Clamshell Basket

Clamshell Baskets (or Quarter Rack Baskets)

These are designed to be loaded with chicken (or other foods) and lowered into the fryer for cooking. Once cooking is complete, the baskets are pulled from the fryer, drained of excess oil, and unloaded. Additional baskets can be ordered through our partners at PartsTown.

ps1154 basket drain hook

Drain Hook

This commercial fryer accessory allows operators to safely lower baskets into cooking oil. Likewise, facilitates the removal of the basket from the fryer. Additionally, it enables the basket to hang for a moment above the cookpot, allowing excess oil to drain back into the fryer.

ps1001 safety gloves

Safety Gloves

Naturally, worker safety is paramount when working with hot oil. The heavy-duty safety gloves help protect hands and forearms from accidental burns. They’re a must whenever working around hot oil.

fryer accessories


This long metal spatula is utilized to scrape deposits of the cookpot sides during cleaning and filtering.

fryer accessories

Collector Gaskets

These gaskets form a seal between the fryer’s cookpot and its long collector. These must be inspected and cleaned frequently and replaced whenever showing wear.

ps1120 teflon brush

Teflon Brush

This brush is used to scrub the fryer’s heating coils during cleaning.


Long Collector

The long collector forms the Collectramatic fryer’s patented cold zone. It’s designed to collect cracklings and breading that fall from chicken during the cooking cycle. The cooler oil in the collector’s bottom prevents breading from burning and consequently degrading your cooking oil. The collector is easy to remove for cleaning.


Heat Plate

The heat plate is positioned inside the collector. It helps overcome thermal stratification and aids in oil circulation. The plate is easily removed for cleaning.

fryer accessories

Lid Gaskets

These gaskets form the seal on Collectramatic pressure fryer lids. Like other fryer gaskets, they must be cleaned and maintained. Likewise, they should be replaced when necessary. Additional quantities of all included accessories can be ordered through PartsTown.com.

fryer accessories

Although it’s listed here as optional, Collectramatic owners really need to invest in a Winston Shortening Filter. These powerful filters are designed to quickly filter impurities from the cooking oil and pump the cleaned oil back into the fryer. Winston’s filters are designed to move easily, so you can service multiple fryers with a single filter.

fryer accessories

Of course, each time the cooking oil is filtered, the paper filter will need to be replaced. Filter paper can be ordered in a range of quantities.


As mentioned before, Collectramatic fryers include a basket. But Winston also offers several specialty baskets, including open, chicken liver, shoestring, and fillet baskets.

Quarter rack baskets are designed for loading and unloading with minimal tonging or handling. Acquiring additional shelves and frame sets can boost your commercial kitchen’s efficiency.

The tray cart provides a space to easily hang open baskets and remove the cooked chicken.

Displacer Tool

The displacer tool is a simple but effective tool used to force oil out of the fryer’s collector. It displaces oil from the collector and into the drain, making the collector easier and safer to remove.

collector removal

As anyone who had removed a collector for a Winston fryer can tell you, the seal between the collector and the cookpot can be a challenge to break. This simple tool slides beneath the collector. Consequently, it allows you to leverage foot power, making the collector much easier to remove.

Although it’s possible for Collectramatic fryer operators to get by without some of these commercial fryer accessories, including them in your kitchen can help make boost your kitchen’s safety and efficiency. You’ve already got the world’s best fryer. Make the most of it with genuine Winston fryer accessories.

Pressure Frying 101

Pressure Frying

Pressure Frying 101 from Winston Foodservice

How do fast food restaurants fry chicken so quickly? They do it under pressure! And no pressure fryer is better than Collectramatic® – a workhorse designed for a fried chicken legend. Watch this pressure frying 101 video!

No matter what language you speak, fried chicken is delicious. Here’s the video with translated subtitles.

Arabic (عربى)
Canadian French (français canadien)
Chinese (中文)
French (français)
Portuguese (português)
Spanish (español)

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