Homemade Mexican corn chips in a small restaurant - Tips!

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Hello,

I'm the owner/cook of a small Mexican restaurant. Up until we have only used bought corn chips, but we have always wanted to make our own with a deep fryer.    I have started testing small batches at home and have figured out how to make them taste good, but I wondered what small/medium restaurants do to keep up with such a high demand.  Specific questions are:

- How often do you make the batches?

- How big are the batches and how long does each lot take?

- How long will the chips remain fresh when stored in an air tight container?

- Do you have the oil delivered and picked up, or do you buy/dispose of it yourself?

- How do you help minimise the burnt oil/deep fryer smell in your restaurant

- We don't own a deep fryer yet - any recommendations for brands and capacity?  We only have 50 seats so it's not a huge restaurant.

- Any special tips/random helpful advice?!

I am just new to this forum, and I'm sorry to start with a question. i will start perusing the forum and interact with other users and help when/if I can!

Thank you in advance!

Cheers,

Eliza.
 
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- How often do you make the batches? once a week or there abouts

- How big are the batches and how long does each lot take? 4 (3'x2'x2') bins, 2 hours, guesstimate

- How long will the chips remain fresh when stored in an air tight container? a week

- Do you have the oil delivered and picked up, or do you buy/dispose of it yourself? buy it through purveyor, dispose of through guy who picks it up for free to recycle into biofuel

- How do you help minimise the burnt oil/deep fryer smell in your restaurant frequent filtering and changing
 
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elizamaeve, Welcome to Cheftalk. I always liked using a thin corn chip when making chips in my food services. We used them mostly for nachos. In your operation you serve them to everyone with salsa and when selling a side of guac. I managed a Mexican restaurant years ago, we made the chips daily. Only you would know how much to make, with only you knowing what your volume and usage is. its also easy enough to make some when needed. We cut the stack of corn tortillas in 1/4's and separated a bit so they don't stick together in the fryer. When the corn 1/4's go in the fryer you can move them around with a long tong to help separate and make them not look so uniformed. I would caution, when you put a large portion of raw corn tortillas in a fryer the oil will raise up, bubble and create a lot of steam. It's important the person that is working the tongs to help separate the chips and not get their hands to close to them at this stage. When the chips fry for a bit they will stop steaming and start frying crisp. Make sure you have a strainer 
There are a few different sizes, shapes and some basket type strainers to fit your needs. I also remove the fryer baskets when I make the chips so they aren't confined and have more space to fry. Clean fry oil is important for all you frying. Make sure your fryer can be easily filtered so as to keep the oil in good condition. I also store my chips in a container like this 
When I used this for the chips I put paper towels on the bottom to absorb the oil.

When the chips are made fresh daily the customer gets a better fresher crisper chip. When the chips are served with your salsa to the customer it's important that everything be of a high quality and fresh as possible. It's the small things in restaurants that people judge. A good quality start to a meal is important. Think quality in every item you do, anyone can buy a pre made item. People go to restaurants for fresh made, this is the same reason they will return........Good Luck.........ChefBillyB
 
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Thank you so much for your concise and helpful replies!   i don't know yet how to comment on individual responses, but both posts have helped me already. 

To Chef Billy B, thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response. I agree with you wholeheartedly about paying attention to the smaller things, and keeping everything as high quality (within reason) as possible, and that is what people will keep coming back for. So far we make nearly everything ourselves but we just didn't have space to deep fry, and now we're starting up another restaurant and want to do it right from the beginning.

After reading your comments I do have one more question - how many batches of chips to use with one lot of oil before you replace it, or how do you know when it's no good and you need to replace it?

Thanks again and have a nice day.

Eliza.
 
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There is nothing like fresh oil in a clean fryer. Everything comes out look great and tasting great. Some of the things that break down oil are water from frying frozen food items like frozen fries and so on, batter from fish and so on. Cleaning the oil will extent the life and keep you food tasting fresh. WE always changed the oil after doing a fish and chip Friday. If its a busy restaurant and you filter the oil then a week to 9 days would be about right. I always went by the color of the food coming out of the fryer. We did a lot of fried food items and it would tell us when to change it. It all depends on how busy and how much use the fryer gets. I don't think it's something to worry about at this point. 
 
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If you're only frying chips, your oil is going to last longer than the average user. Chips will be a "clean" product, and your fryer will stay cleaner, longer.

I picture you frying chips once a day and then shutting the fryer down (if you don't figure out other things to do in it). Your oil is going to last weeks...not days.

Seems like a waste to me, but if you want a fryer...well, you want a fryer.

Are you planning on doing other things besides chips?
 
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You can also use the fryer for Tostada shells, Taco salad bowls, Taco shells, Fried ice cream, Chimichangas, Fried burritos, and fish for fish tacos...........If your only going to use the fryer for tortilla chips, I wouldn't do it. Buy the chips like your doing now. You need to have a few things on the menu to justify buying one.......
 
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i guess that I won't be making chips at home.
We make chips at home and for parties all the time.  We use a dutch oven on the stove.  Fry cut up corn tortillas we then drain them in a hotel pan with a rack or in a paper grocery bag.  We salt them and shake the bag.  They stay fresh several hours.
 
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i guess that I won't be making chips at home.
 
We make chips at home and for parties all the time.  We use a dutch oven on the stove.  Fry cut up corn tortillas we then drain them in a hotel pan with a rack or in a paper grocery bag.  We salt them and shake the bag.  They stay fresh several hours.
+++ 1 ^ ^ ^

And your frying oil of choice would be???
 
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You can also use the fryer for Tostada shells, Taco salad bowls, Taco shells, Fried ice cream, Chimichangas, Fried burritos, and fish for fish tacos...........If your only going to use the fryer for tortilla chips, I wouldn't do it. Buy the chips like your doing now. You need to have a few things on the menu to justify buying one.......
Yes you're probably right. We don't have any other fried products, we actually have quite a small menu, so it would just be for the chips. Maybe we'll have to put off the dream a little longer ;)
 
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If you're only frying chips, your oil is going to last longer than the average user. Chips will be a "clean" product, and your fryer will stay cleaner, longer.

I picture you frying chips once a day and then shutting the fryer down (if you don't figure out other things to do in it). Your oil is going to last weeks...not days.

Seems like a waste to me, but if you want a fryer...well, you want a fryer.

Are you planning on doing other things besides chips?
Hi Jay,  nope just the chips. Thanks for your advice - time to think long and hard before deciding, as it sounds like it's quite a bit of work, not to mention cost, to make the chips.
 
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Seriously, there's nothing wrong with an appropriately sized counter-top fryer (if you have space under your hood).  
 
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Seriously, there's nothing wrong with an appropriately sized counter-top fryer (if you have space under your hood).  
I don't know... Maybe if they just needed it for chips? I worked at an Italian restaurant where we had one of those. We didn't use it much... but, of course, for some reason when we got fried food orders, then we would tons more fried food orders and that thing would get really bogged down. Tried using one in my food truck too because the regular fryer was broken and needed work. I was hating it trying to use that thing. I'd get slammed and that thing got worked so hard. That motivated me to finally get my food truck's fryer tub welded up right. 
 
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I totally understand...I own, and use, four 40# fryers.  In a past experience I have had a bank of five that were backed up.  So yeah, I'm fryer friendly!  LoL

But for just chips. and no prospects of any other fried food, I figured the counter models might get him by.  Otherwise, toss some bagged chips in the microwave & send them out!  LoL
 
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Seriously, there's nothing wrong with an appropriately sized counter-top fryer (if you have space under your hood).  
Not a bad suggestion. it's so difficult as I've ever even used a deep fryer, so I'm just trying to guess at how it will work out, but all this information really helps.   To fry or not to fry ;)
 
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