Here's a trick that takes the guesswork out of determining when frying oil is hot. Simply place a kernel of popcorn in the oil as it heats up. The kernel will pop when the oil is between 350 and 365 degrees, just the right temperature for deep frying.
When frying foods, it's important to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. But if you use a splatter screen, it can get in the way of hooking a thermometer to the edge of the pot. Here's a solution: Poke a small hole at the edge of the screen and slip the thermometer through the hole. Now it's possible to prevent splatters and monitor the oil temperature at the same time.
Deep-fried foods are a real treat, but cleaning up after frying is not. Disposing of the spent oil neatly and safely is a particular challenge, which you can meet by using the following method. Make a quadruple- or quintuple-layered bag using four or five leftover plastic grocery bags. With someone holding the bag open over a sink or in an outdoor area, carefully pour the cooled frying oil from the pot into the innermost bag. Then, just tie the bag handles shut before disposing of the oil. Like these? See more quick tips at Cook's Illustrated.