By John Moorhead, American Homebrewers Association
As a homebrewer, you most likely have a large boiling kettle and a propane burner—or share them with a group that likes to brew. Normally these items are used for brew day, then carefully put away in a corner until needed again to collect dust. However, your kettle and propane burner have many more uses than you may realize.
Here are a few fun ways you can use your homebrewing equipment throughout the year. Remember, as with homebrewing, all of these suggestions involve an open flame. We’ve provided minimal instructions here, but solid research should be conducted before giving these activities a try!
Deep-frying a turkey has become more and more popular over the years. What could be more fun that dunking a 20-plus pound turkey into boiling oil? You end up with a succulent, irresistibly tender and delicious turkey. Add oil to your pot, preheat to 400°F (the temperature will drop when the turkey is added) and slowly lower your turkey in. Cook the turkey about three to four minutes per pound. Voila! Deep-fried turkey.
Elvis Presley, The King, once said “If you fry [Mr. Crawfish] crisp or you boil him right, he’ll be sweeter than sugar when you take a bite.” If done right, a crawfish bowl involves eating pounds of crawfish on newspaper instead of plates, elbow-to-elbow with friends and family. Find a good source for your seafood and have it delivered the morning of the boil. A good estimate is about three to five pounds of crawfish per-person.
Crawfish season peaks in March and April and lasts until June. In addition to the crawfish, corn on the cob, mushrooms, garlic, potatoes, onions and lemons are usually included depending on the recipe you choose. Boil the potatoes and corn first then the other vegetables, then the crawfish for about eight minutes. Let them sit for another 30-40 minutes so they can absorb the sauce and serve.
Just like you would on a stove top, you can use your turkey fryer to can fruits and vegetables. Place some sort of rack on the bottom to prevent your jars from breaking (any round rack, canning jar rings or a hand towel works). Then put your jars in your boil kettle, submerge in water and bring to a boil. Place your lids and jar rings in the boiling water to soften the sealing compound and remove once boiled for 10 minutes.
Carefully pull the jars out of the boil kettle and fill with your recipe. After the jars are filled, tighten the lids onto the jars just enough to seal and place back into the boiling water. Set the timer to the prescribed recipe time and remove onto a soft surface (a towel works) so the jars don’t break. Let them cool and store away for another day!
If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, you can use your turkey fryer to make maple syrup. Tap your maple trees about three feet from the ground and about two inches into the trunk. Add the collections to your pot and boil it until it tastes very sweet, but is still watery in texture.
Prime Rib Roast
Prime rib around the holiday season is king—and for a good reason. Majestically marbled with fat, prime rib roast is rich, juicy and tender, and usually holds the attention of your eyes and belly. The night before you plan to fry it, put your own rub on the meat, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, let the roast come to room temperature and heat three gallons of peanut oil to 360°F. Slowly lower the roast into the oil and maintain the temperature at 350°F. A rule of thumb is to cook it for three minutes per pound for medium-rare, and four minutes per pound for medium. Remove from the oil and let it rest for 15 minutes. A quick tip is to place slices of fresh bread underneath it to absorb the grease.
As with brewing, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your equipment when finished using it. Warm or hot Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW) and a good scrub will help clean away any left over grit and grime.