The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Best Onion Rings Ever

September 19th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Posted in Recipes


Daughter requested a fry night for dinner. By that she means fry everything: potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion rings, broccoli, chicken, pickles. She even lobbied for frying Oreo cookies and peanut butter, then had a sudden urge for Twinkies when she spotted them at the checkout counter at the grocery store. But you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. This isn’t the county fair. We would be frying real food only.

The last time we fried fish we were disappointed in the batter. It was too thick and tasted too much like dark beer. So we made some adjustments and came up with what just might be the best batter ever. In any case, the fried onion rings were absolutely sublime–the best we have ever experienced. But you could say that about the battered chicken tenders as well.

This batter is extremely simple: the only wet ingredient is the beer and you probably have the dry ingredients already in your pantry. Because of the baking powder in the mix the batter does puff up in the hot oil and that is key. We’re lucky to own a small, portable deep fat fryer for occasions like this. But you can also fry in a heavy iron pot. Just make sure you don’t fill the pot more than halfway with oil. Otherwise it can boil over.

You can mix the dry batter ingredients ahead. But make sure you have all of the meats and vegetables you want to fry completely ready before you add the beer. Also, you should have your oil hot–around 360 degrees–before you add the beer so that the batter doesn’t go flat waiting for the oil to heat up.

For the dry part, mix together in a large bowl 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teapsoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder. You can kick it up a bit by adding a tablespoon or more of your favorite spice mix, such as Old Bay, Lawry’s, Mrs. Dash’s or the like. Add 12 ounces beer, preferably a lager or something not too heavy. Stir until all of the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated but no more. You needn’t try to beat out any lumps–overmixing will kill the batter.

Some fry items–meat and fish, for instance–like to be dredged in flour before they get dipped in the batter. You can treat anything that’s a bit moist this way. It helps the batter adhere. So have a bowl of flour on hand for dredging. Otherwise, simply dip the items one batch at a time in the batter, make sure they’re completely coated, then lower them carefully into the fry oil so as not to splatter. Give them a poke with a wooden spatula so  they don’t stick together or stick to the bottom of the fryer. I like to use spring-loaded tongs to turn them once or twice as they fry.

Continue frying until lightly golden, then remove the fried items to a platter or baking sheet lined with plenty of paper towels. Serve warm–they’re no good cold. Daughter likes to eat hers with her own special dip of mayo and hot sauce.

Cleanup is a bitch. But I think you’ll agree–it’s worth it.

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