Back to the food... I like my batter really seasoned, and I find a lot of places don't season their batter much. So you could definitely cut back on the seasoning if you're more of a plain-batter kind of person (but what fun would that be?)
- 1 cup flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you'd like it)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 6-12oz ale
- vegetable or peanut oil for frying
- dill pickle slices (Vlasic makes "Ovals" which are huge slices, great for this!)
On a plate, lay out two layers of paper towels. Place pickles in single layer on towels and cover with another double-layer of paper towels, pressing down on the pickles so that the towels absorb the juice.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Begin whisking in the beer, a little at a time. I like my batter to be a little on the thick side, so I'll use about 1/2 a bottle of the beer. Some people like a thinner batter, which would require 3/4 to 1 whole 12oz bottle. Start conservatively and remember you can always add more beer!
Dip the pickles in batter and gently place into oil, frying until golden brown (2-3 minutes). I use plain, wooden, disposable chopsticks to flip the pickles half way through the cooking time. Don't over-crowd the pan, fry in batches. Let drain in a paper towel-lined dish. You can preheat your oven to 250 F and keep your early batches warm. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping sauce.
Tip: You can re-warm leftovers in the oven or toaster oven. Set to broil, lay leftovers in single layer. Broil until crispy on top side, then flip. In the toaster oven, it's 4-5 minutes on each side.
The pickles are the front-left, next to the ranch (see, big Ovals). The batter really works for anything. I got a little crazy tonight and ended up making enough deep fried food for about thirteen people (instead of the two of us). I did zucchini, crimini mushrooms, onion rings, cheese curds, and then I even tried stuffing pickled cherry peppers with the cheese curds. They were a little sour and not as good as I thought they'd be. I'll have to try my hand at some jalapeno poppers next time - those'll be great!