Product Name & Award
Top Pick: BAYOU CLASSIC 700-701 DEEP FRYER
Everybody loves the taste of deep-fried food. We know we shouldn’t, but it just tastes so good. Those golden pieces of southern fried chicken, the crispy french fries or battered strips of catfish.
And in the summer months, why not enjoy that food outside? Some are even portable enough to take on your next road trip.
This latest model of Weber’s iconic grill features a 22-inch diameter porcelain-enameled bowl with a cooking area of 363 square inches.
All Weber kettles include a one-touch cleaning system which removes the charcoal and debris out of the bottom of the grill.
This model adds a high-capacity ash catcher that can be removed for easy cleaning, rather than the usual steel plate.
Featuring an all stainless steel construction, the Bayou Classic 700-701 stands 38.5 inches tall with a large 4-gallon capacity.
A v-shaped bottom to the tank ensures the base oil temperature is kept lower than the top frying temperature. This results in oil that stays cleaner for longer and batters that don’t burn to the bottom.
Also included in the package are two stainless steel fry baskets, a front integrated temperature control and 10-PSI regulator kit. A stainless steel braided hose attaches to a 20-pound propane tank, which then flows through the rear tube of the fryer.
Being powered by propane, the Bayou Classic falls into the outdoors-only category of fryers. The propane allows for a better control of the oil temperature and maintaining the high temperature required for perfectly fried foods.
There’s no thermostat control and you must constantly monitor the temperature of the oil while it is heating or being used to fry foods.
The internal thermometer included needs to be properly installed but works reasonably well. A 400-degree Fahrenheit cutoff point is clearly indicated, as this temperature would be too hot for frying and could easily combust.
What most users like about this fryer is the quick heat up time of the oil, considering its capacity and how well it maintains temperature.
When the oil hits the required 375 degrees Fahrenheit needed for frying, the detailed manual recommends turning down the gas. When adding food to the fryer, the oil temperature tends to drop by about 15 degrees but quickly regains heat in just under four minutes.
The ability to hold a frying temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit means fries and chicken wings cook to perfection–crunchy, golden in color and not too oily.
The manual explicitly states this fryer is not meant for whole turkeys. If you are looking for something to deep fry that Thanksgiving turkey, it’s better to consider a turkey fryer. Otherwise, the 4-gallon capacity can cope with most foods you throw at it.
Although the height-extending legs can be detached, at nearly 50 pounds, this fryer is not that portable. If you do want to take it out on a trip, the bed of a pickup truck would be the recommended mode of transport.
If you are somebody who likes to fry larger amounts of food on a regular basis, the Bayou Classic 700-701 is an ideal choice. This fryer holds and maintains high temperatures better than most, thanks to its thick stainless steel construction.
A detailed manual includes easy-to-follow assembly plans and a safety guide for use of the fryer. With a little practice and by following all the guidelines, you will soon be frying fish or wings like a pro in your own backyard.
Standing over 18 inches tall, this portable propane cooker is large enough to fit a whole turkey.
A 29-quart turkey pot with cover is included, along with an 11-quart fry pan, also made from aluminum.
A pressure cast burner provides 33,000 BTUs of power.
To prevent the food from burning, a thermometer is included, and a regulator with a cut-off timer.
What makes the King Kooker 1265BF3 stand out, especially at its sub $100 price, is the versatility it offers.
Not only can you fry a whole turkey with this kit, but you could also use the punched hole basket for boiling up those potatoes too. I even have friends who use this fryer/boiler to boil up the mash for their craft beers.
A separate fry basket with heat-resistant handles makes it just as suitable for frying smaller batches of food, like fish or wings. Weighing under 20 pounds, it’s ideal for taking along on picnics or camping trips.
Where this fryer really comes into its own is with frying a whole turkey. For added convenience, a turkey rack and lifting hook are included with this kit.
Although it is designed as a safety feature, the timer on this fryer can’t be bypassed. About every 10 minutes or so you will have to press the button to ensure the gas is flowing. To get a whole pan of water to boil you are probably going to have to start it at least three times.
Cleaning the pot can be a pain too, with no drain spout attached. Lifting the larger pot when full of oil can be quite heavy and also dangerous if spilt—definitely a two-man operation.
Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without a deep fried turkey. Rather than sitting in the garage to be used once a year, this kit from King Kooker is lightweight enough to take on camping trips.
In addition to cooking whole turkeys, the smaller 11-quart fry basket makes it a versatile outdoor fryer. Whatever you decide to cook, the 33,000 BTU burner will ensured it’s thoroughly cooked—just remember to keep pressing that safety cut-out timer.
This three-piece cooking set is the ideal way to cook those freshly caught catfish in next to no time on your next camping trip.
A round frame stands 19.5 inches tall, with a single gas burner stove that attaches to a 10 PSI regulator and valve.
A cooking pot of 12.5 inches by 5 inches deep is included, although the legs are strong enough to support a 34-quart pot.
A steel basket fits inside the pot, which has a long steel handle to safely lower or lift foods from the oil in the pan.
A thermometer clips on the edge of the pot, allowing you to keep a check of the temperature. It has a clearly marked danger zone of 450 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
Weighing only 11.6 pounds and easy to assemble or take apart, this is the perfect fish fryer for outdoor cooking that will fit in the trunk.
For newbies to outdoor frying this is one of the simplest stoves to learn on. The Bayou Classic 2212 is easy to assemble, with just the legs needing screwing on the solid round frame. Once the gas bottle is attached, you could be frying fish in minutes.
The aluminum pan, which holds 10 quarts of oils, sits comfortably on top of a frame with a single burner underneath.
The adjustable valve makes it easy to control the fry with an accurate temperature control. A thermometer clips into the pot when heating up the oil and can be attached to the fryer basket when frying your foods.
The sturdy frame features tripod legs with wide feet to make it more stable and less likely to be blown over by an unexpected wind change.
The long handle that attaches to the frying basket makes for less chance of any splashback when lowering or lifting your fish from the oil.
The major drawback with this outdoor fish fryer is the lack of a provided lid. The last thing you want when cooking outdoors is insects deciding to go for a swim in the oil. Deep fried mosquito anybody?
This can be easily remedied by using the lid from a similar sized pot, but then the temperature gauge isn’t visible. Make sure the temperature isn’t too high before covering the pot.
For a simple outdoor fish fryer the Bayou Classic 2212 Outdoor Fish Cooker Set is hard to beat. The included 10-quart aluminum deep-fry pot will easily accommodate about 10 half catfish fillets.
The unique tripod leg design with wider feet will easily support a pot up to 34-quart capacity, for that larger fry or even a boil up. At just under 12 pounds, this Bayou Classic Outdoor Fish Fryer is lightweight enough to throw in the car for that next fishing trip.
This Chard Fish and Wing Fryer is advertised as containing everything you will need for your outdoor frying experience.
Made with aluminum, steel and cast iron, the fryer features a steel three-legged base and stands 15.5 inches tall.
The tripod stand also features adjustable cooking pot holders at the sides.
A cast iron liquid propane burner offers 50,000 BTUs with an adjustable regulator and hose included.
On top of the burner sits the 10.5 quart aluminum frying pot with a perforated aluminum strainer basket. The basket features an insulated handle and a drain hook for easy cleaning.
Very similar to the Bayou Classic Fish Fryer, this model features the same tripod style stand and burner combo. The 10.5 quart pot features a cover and side handles for easy transporting from the burner to a heat proof counter at the end of frying.
You could be packing away all the other components while you wait for the oil to cool down. The 10.5-quart aluminum pot is ideal for cooking many of your favorite foods on the go including chicken wings, fish or french fries.
Rather than just a tripod stand with wide base feet, the Chard Fish and Wing Fryer has an extra circle of steel around the base. It may be sturdier and offer more support for the thinner legs, but on uneven surfaces can be unstable.
Other customer complaints have ranged from missing parts and difficult assembly, to a poor quality pot that often turns black after just a few uses. Both can be put right simply with a trip to your local hardware store, just don’t leave it until your next fry session.
Very similar in design to the Bayou Classic Fish Fryer model 2212, the Chard looks to offer the same features for a similar price. Many people will appreciate the cooking pot which has a cover and side handles that were missing on the Bayou Classic.
However, the quality of construction does not seem quite as good as the Bayou. For the occasional outdoor fish fry-up or weekend camping trip this is an ideal tool, just don’t expect it to last too many years.
This smaller Bayou Classic fryer features the same v-shaped bottom design as the larger 4 and 9-gallon models of the Bayou range.
However, only having a smaller 2.5 gallon capacity, it requires much less oil and is more suited to smaller gatherings or a single family use.
Standing 33 inches tall with the full length legs attached, it also features shorter legs which allow it to be used a tabletop fryer.
A basket size of 7.5 inches by 11 inches by 3.5 inches deep offers a comparable cooking capacity to the dedicated fish fryers.
It features the same heavy-duty aluminum construction of the larger Bayou Classic fryers, which retains the heat longer at an optimum frying temperature.
This is pretty much the same fryer as the first Bayou Classic fryer we looked at, the 700-701, just with a smaller capacity. It offers all the same quality features of a quick heat up and better temperature recovery. Food will be cooked to the same degree of perfection, just less of it.
Back-mounted burner jets on the Bayou models blast hot air through a tube in the oil rather than from the bottom with other burner models. This ensures heat transfers into the center of the oil and prevents the batter from scorching when the fryer is in use.
Another bonus is the oil stays cleaner and can be reused many times, cutting down the running costs.
That thicker aluminum housing means the oil takes much longer to cool down. You will often have to leave it to cool overnight before you can empty it. Not ideal for those picnics or tailgating parties.
Again, at nearly 35 pounds it’s not really a portable unit unless you put it in the back of your truck. These free-standing fryer units are more suited to use in your backyard or patio.
If you want something more portable, consider a burner-style stand with separate frying pot, which are usually more lightweight.
If you only need a smaller outdoor fryer for family use on your patio, this compact Bayou Classic 700-725 is a perfect fit. It offers all the quality features of its larger sibling models but with a reduced cooking capacity.
It should easily cope with a family of four or five. For anything larger, consider the earlier mentioned Bayou Classic 700-701 model.
One of the biggest advantages of an outdoor fryer is the smell, or rather lack of it. When you deep fry in your kitchen indoors, there’s always that lingering aroma of hot fat.
Just ask anybody who has ever worked in a fast-food restaurant about the smell. It’s not just your home, but when you deep fry in restricted spaces, your clothes can take home that smell too.
The other main problem with frying indoors is the heat. To deep fry, you are going to have to heat oil up to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results—that’s a lot of heat and more ambient heat. Deep frying outdoors can help you keep your cool and keep your kitchen cooler too.
There’s only so many times you can offer up baked potatoes or wedges. Sometimes people just want a good old fashioned portion of french fries to go with their steak. For your English cousins or any expats, what could be better than deep-fried fish and chips on a summer day.
Fish is obviously a good food to fry outdoors. Fresh caught catfish fillets coated in spicy southern breadcrumbs or a batter is a favorite at many parties. Deep fried shrimp with a Chili dip, a fried fish steak or even some calmari can go down well.
If you get a burner style of fryer, you could replace the oil with water and have a lobster or crayfish boil pot for those special occasions.
And of course there’s Thanksgiving. Deep fried turkey is one of the things that makes a thanksgiving feast so special. Just be careful as you lower it into the pot—in 2015, US fire services received over 1700 callouts to turkey fires.
Chicken wings or southern fried chicken can be enjoyed all year around, and with less chance of a house fire.
Finally, there’s those amazing sides you can only achieve with a deep fryer. Crispy fries, sweet potato chips, deep fried okra or cajun spiced onion rings. Many people argue that sides are what make a meal, and with an outdoor fryer the options are endless.
Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing your outdoor fryer is the size. If you want something which is more portable, you are going to have to compromise on cooking capacity.
Free-standing all-in-one units, like the Bayou Classics, will normally hold much more but be less portable. A burner style unit with separate frying pot can be easily taken apart and transported but will normally have a smaller pot.
Larger pots can be bought if you want to fry whole turkeys, but they will also need a larger stand and more powerful burner.
To achieve that soaring hot temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit needed for the perfect fry, you are going to need at least 30,000 BTU.
Most of the fryers we have looked at feature 50,000 BTU or more. Less BTU will mean longer heat up times of the oil and it will take longer to recover when you add food.
Finally, consider the overall design. Hot oil can be dangerous—does it feature a sturdy stand and quality materials that won’t leak? How easy is it to clean, and does it feature a drain to get rid of that used oil?
I hope I have given you some food for thought, preferably deep fried. Purchasing an outdoor fryer will elevate your outdoor cooking parties to another level. Steaks, burgers and hot dogs on the grill—do you want fries with that?
This post was last updated on April 15th, 2019 at 07:56 pm