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Q & A: culinary issues

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
When using a deep fat fryer in the same place in the kitchen, after a while a layer of oil or tar builds up on the wall. Is this the result of the oil evaporating and condensing on the wall or is it the steam carrying oil droplets which then build up on the wall? Or perhaps something else. This would solve a bitter argument so please help if you can!
- Ross (age 26)
UK
A:
That's really hard to answer without knowing the details. For sure there will be oil evaporating and depositing on the wall. However, if you happen to put wet things in there can be big bursts of spattering as the steam comes out, and those might carry even more oil up.

Obviously, you could do controlled experiments to find out. You could take a smooth glass plate at a fixed distance from the fryer, and compare buildup on it with just hot oil or with hot oil plus some spattering water.

For a first guess, you might look at the pattern of how the oil coats the wall. Evaporated oil will go pretty far. Spattered oil won't go so far. You could look at the spattering, then see if the oil coating extends out much farther.

I had a roommate once who coated the kitchen with thick oily gunk. We bought a filter unit, which helped some. A real exhaust system would have been better.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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