Get more covers in less time with CVap® Staging – Sous Vide Re-Engineered.
What goes better with warm weather gatherings than chicken wings? There are so many ways to flavor and cook this delicious treat, but when frying them, it feels like it takes forever.
We know that our our CVap Cook & Hold Oven is the workhorse in the kitchen, so we decided to put it to use so we could reduce fry time.
We took raw, fresh, jumbo bone-in chicken wings and advance staged them in the CVap Cook & Hold at 165 + 0 (or 165°F vapor/166°F air in New CVap) until they reached an internal temperature of 160°F. When we dropped them in the Collectramatic® fryer (open fry at 350°F), they were ready to serve in four minutes flat. The chicken was crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside, and it exceeded a finishing temp of 165°F.
The CVap® Staging really came through on these chicken wings! These are easy to prepare for catering, appetizer specials, or any time you just want a batch. You’ll be able to serve them up in minutes, with each batch hot, fresh, and delicious.
Don’t be chicken about using your Collectramatic® fryer to cook fish!
During the Lenten season, Fish Fry Fridays are a welcome and delicious reason to indulge in some fried fish! You already know Collectramatic fryers are unparalleled at frying chicken. But did you know they’re also great for cooking up perfect fried fish? Give this recipe a try, and you’ll see – the proof is in the pudding, or in this case – the beer batter.
Fish Fry Beer Batter
- 1 Cup Enriched Flour
- 12oz beer
- ¼ Cup Corn Starch
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tbs Salt
- 1 Tbs Pepper
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 oz water
Whisk together until well-blended and lump-free.
This batter is delicious with cod, or just about any white fish fillet that tickles your personal taste buds. Whiting, haddock, pollock…you name it, it all fries up great!
- Lightly coat fish fillet with flour.
- Dip fillet into beer batter and cover completely.
- Open fry at 350°F for 6 minutes, or until golden brown. If cooking in an open basket, fillets will usually float to top of basket when done.
- Let fish rest for 2 minutes before serving.
How you serve is up to you. Go Brit and serve with chips, or as I prefer, and serve it on some lovely bread. While many folks are content to slap their fish between a couple of slices of plain old white bread, I prefer to frame it on a nice ciabatta or focaccia, along with fresh lettuce, tomato, and a little homemade tarter sauce. It nourishes the body and is good for the soul!
Uncle Jack Fried Chicken is a Malaysian restaurant chain that uses our Collectramatic pressure fryers to cook fried chicken. Ordinarily they placed the finished chicken in a display warmer for serving. To maximize holding time, they limited the warmer to 35°C (95°F), putting a limit on the amount of time they could hold cooked chicken before it was no longer fit to sell. We suggested they test our CVap holding cabinet, in the hopes of extending their holding time and improving food quality. The test results were exciting!
Holding Cabinet Preparation: The CVap Holding Cabinet was set at food temperature 54°C (129°F) and food texture at + 28°C (82°F). The evaporator was filled with hot water, and the cabinet was allowed to preheat for 45 minutes, to reach full temperature.
12:05pm: Chicken was cooked and removed from the fryer, and put into holding cabinet (15 pieces). Initial taste of chicken: crispy outside, moist inside and meat is very hot to touch and taste.
12:10pm: Cooked rice (wrapped in oil paper) is put into the same holding cabinets with fried chicken. Initial taste of rice: moist, sticky, and fragrant.
13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)
Chicken was still crispy outside (though very slightly less crisp than when first removed from fryer), moist inside, still hot, and color had not changed. The chicken breading remained crisp.
13:35pm (holding for 90 minutes）
Chicken was still crispy and moist. Color was good. Food retained flavor, with minimal loss of freshness.
13:55pm (holding for 2 hours)
The skin remained crispy, though not as crisp as when it was initially fried. Flavor and moisture were still good. Color had not darkened.
14:00pm (rice held for 2 hours)
Rice was hot and tasted fresh; not dried out at all.
15:35pm (3.5 hour holding time)
Chicken tasted good, skin remained crispy, meat was moist. Although the chicken was not “just cooked” fresh after 3.5 hours, it was still at safe temperature, and appetizing enough to serve.
15:40pm (after holding for 3.5 hours)
Rice was hot, and texture was good.
These photos, taken at different times over the course of testing, give you an idea of the appearance of the food.
Electricity Consumption: 800 watts
Holding Capacity per Cabinet: 13 full size sheet pans, each rack equals one basket (4 heads) chicken, or 338 pieces
CVap Holding Cabinet Test Conclusions
Goals for Future Testing
- Extending the holding time for the chicken without compromising the texture, taste, and food safety.
- Testing other products, (wrapped rice was incorporated).
- Improving staff work flow.
- Staff can pre-prepare chicken during lean hours in preparation for peak hours, thus shortening the waiting time while producing the best tasting fried chicken.
- During lean hours, customers can still savor the taste of freshly fried chicken from the holding cabinet.
- Minimize food shrinkage.
- Minimlize food waste.
- Extension of holding times for other foods is possible, since CVap cabinets are versatile enough to hold both crispy and moist foods.
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 holding time for chicken. More testing would be needed to perfect the texture, taste and crispiness, to come up with the Uncle Jack Standard Operating Procedure.
During the AKFCF Annual Convention (USA) show in Austin, Texas, Winston Foodservice received two amazing awards. The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association and the Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association both awarded Vendor of the Year to Winston. Wow, what a treat! Two Vendor of the Year awards in a single year. I’m tooting our own company’s horn, that is pretty AWESOME! Thank you Great Lakes and Upper Midwest KFC for the partnership! The Winston team is thankful for the partnership and commitment to your business.
The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association consists of KFC franchise owners in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, portions of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association was formed in 1974 and is comprised of owners in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and portions of Illinois.
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 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, and 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.
We brined in the fridge overnight using a simple 6% brine. If you want to learn everything you need to know about brining go to our friend’s site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header). We lightly dusted the chicken with our seasoned flour, and then dipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.
Then we tossed lightly again in our breading mix, giving us a light double breaded chicken. Double breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried.
Properly prepped, it was ready for the Collectramatic fryer.
The chicken was open-fried for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After draining excess oil, we painted with the spicy special sauce using a pastry brush. It was as good as we had 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
- 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
- Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
- If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer; pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F. 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. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
- 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 and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces registers 185°F and 165F white meat. This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn for a total cook time of 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
- Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.
We had a visit from a famous South American fried chicken chain that wanted to take a closer look at our Collectramatic® Pressure Fryers. He had heard about Collectramatic, but had never tested one until his purchasing manager pointed out our price point compared to their current brand.
The goal was to match their current process, texture, and to save on maintenance costs. Their current fryer is costing them a lot of time and money on maintenance.
Maintenance was a simple answer but we had even more to offer against their current brand:
- Collectramatic only has a few moving parts that relate to pressure.
- Collectramatic gaskets are simple to remove and clean.
- Collectramatic fryer pot is round and does not have corners that are hard to clean and crack.
- Collectramatic fryers have the heating elements in the oil resulting in faster recovery time.
- Collectramatic fryers can fryer up to 20 batches of 6 heads of chicken (120 heads) without filtering compared to needing to filter after only 4 to 5 batches with their current fryer brand.
We cooked a few rounds at our “normal” setting. And although the final color matched their website photo, the customer wanted it darker, much darker.
Now the big question. Was our Collectramatic pressure fryer ready to match the chicken they were looking for? I had confidence, but they have a unique process that I had not tried before.
After breading the chicken they place the breaded chicken in a refrigerator for a minimum of one hour prior to frying. In our test, we breaded the chicken and placed them in our quarter rack basket assembly before placing in the refrigerator. Currently, they bread the chicken, place it directly on a sheet pan, refrigerate and 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 our Chef Barry Yates set the Collectramatic to their current setting of 350F for 12 minutes and 30 seconds.
We pulled a full rack of breaded chicken 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. In went the chicken, the lid was closed & locked and we pressed the start button.
As the time ticked away we waited patiently waited as the Collectramatic pressure fryer went to work, not knowing how this breaded/refrigerated chicken would turn out.
The buzzer sounds. We pull the chicken. I look at Barry and he looks at me. The chicken appears much darker than we are used to, and we look at the customer to gauge his reaction. Nothing.
We then un-racked the chicken from our quarter rack basket assembly, keeping the chicken on the quarter rack trays, placed the trays easily on a sheet pan (4 per sheet pan) and let the customer dive in.
He begins pulling pieces apart, looks very closely at the breading and studies the interior like a true fried chicken professional. He then takes a knife and 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!”
Barry and I 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 pressure fryer, give this breading option a try. You will not be disappointed!
- More than half of all chicken entrees ordered in restaurants are for fried chicken.
- In 2007, 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 1.25 billion chicken wing portions were consumed on Super Bowl Weekend in 2012 (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 product apart from your competition? Fried chicken!
Let’s look at the features and benefits of our Collectramatic® Pressure Fryer. Available in 4-head (32 pieces per drop) and 6-head (48 pieces per drop) versions – now that’s a lot of fried chicken!
Benefits of pressure frying:
- Quicker cook times
- Juicier product
- Texture control
- Healthier product
Benefits of a Winston Collectramatic Pressure Fryer:
- Microprocessor controller
- Reliability – Very few moving mechanical parts
- Round pot – For strength with a single weld, sediment cannot build up in the corners and continue to cook/burn the oil.
- Footprint – Let’s look at the numbers. With a LP56 fryer 6-head, you can fry approximately 192 pieces of chicken 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.
Partner this with a Winston Shortening Filter and a CVap® Holding Cabinet or two, and now you have a fried chicken program sure to bring success!
Since day one of being on the Winston Foodservice & Collectramatic® team, I have always heard “Collectramatic fries the best tasting chicken.”
When I started in 2002, I just thought that was what everyone at Winston said. I thought, “Of course you say we make the best chicken, because we build the best fryers!”
A few years later, I had the chance to go to the KFC USA National Show in Orlando, FL. At the show, I heard it again from numerous franchisees: “Collectramatic makes the best Original Recipe Chicken!” I realized then that the 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 all over the USA to really test the saying. To this day, almost 15 years later, 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 today.
Don’t take my word for it, though; take a look at these testimonials and see why Collectramatic is truly the best!