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Killer Onion Ring, Belgian Frites & Deep Fry Tips


DutchMuse
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I moved from NYC to Chicago and now have a large terrace with a 3 burner TEC grill. I bought the deep fryer attachment and am now honing my deep frying skills. Tried it out today and made onion rings but they weren't quite as good as I would like. I first soaked them in buttermilk, then dusted in flour. They were fine but not quite enough batter---more like fried onions and not onion rings. Not that I want a ton of batter, just more than I used. Any tips for great onion rings?

Second, I hope to make Belgian frites soon. I will either use beef suet from a butcher or try to find duck fat. But man---how much duck fat would I need for the deep fryer? A ton I think; where to find that?

Last, suggestions for oils to use for the onion rings? I used grapeseed oil today at 365F. Maybe peanut oil next time??

Give me some suggestions for my deep fryer.

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Down in the meatpacking district you can find duck fat by the gallon. There's also Jetro although you may have to be a restaurant owner to shop there. European Imports is located in Chicago, they sell duck fat by the gallon, and I think anybody can buy from them. Look 'em up.

As far as onion rings go - wet batter, not a dredge.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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I can offer some suggestions about onion rings. I prefer very lightly coated rings, so I tend to do the milk (or buttermilk) soak and the flour dusting. But I agree that sometimes they can just seem like fried onions. And they also get soggy pretty fast.

My solution is to put an egg in with the buttermilk -- it seems to make the coating more like a batter. For the crispness issue, I've found that a combination of regular all purpose flour and rice flour makes for great crispy rings with longer longevity. I add some spices to the flour -- chili powder, onion powder and salt -- but that's optional.

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A&W does the breaded onion rings, and I find that they're really heavy. A light and crisp beer batter is a good way to go. And canola is good for frying -- soybean oil also good.

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I'm a fan of peanut oil for frying. For onion rings, I use thinly sliced onions, soaked for a while in soured milk (I never have buttermilk on hand, so I just stir cider vinegar into whole milk) in the fridge. If the rings are very cold, more flour will stick to the outside without the use of egg (egg can lead to a tough coating sometimes). Don't forget to season the flour, too.

Can't help you on the duck fat for deep-frying; I've never used duck fat for more than a pan-fry. You might want to try the old southern trick of flavoring "new" oil with a slice or two of bacon: drop the slice of bacon into the oil as it heats, and fish it out once it is cooked to a crisp (but not burned).....it really adds a nice smoky, porky flavor to the oil, esp. complementary to fried chicken.

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There used to be a place near a gym I used to frequent (I know..go figure) called Miami Subs. They made these big, fat, battered, somewhat greasy, onion rings, but they were OH, so good. They cut the onions pretty thick, so you weren't getting mostly batter with a thin slice of onion.

My question is, if anyone has/had ever tried them, or just know what I'm talking about, do you have any kind batter recipe that would/could come close? It was definitely a heavy batter, and very delicious (even without the onion). I still have such a weak spot for fast food sides..lol

Edited by Lisa2k (log)

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I first soaked them in buttermilk, then dusted in flour.  They were fine but not quite enough batter---more like fried onions and not onion rings. Not that I want a ton of batter, just more than I used. Any tips for great onion rings?

There wasn't quite enough batter because you didn't use any. Batter is liquid.

Edited by WiscoNole (log)
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I think you do have to decide whether you like breaded rings or battered. I'm a fan of battered. I also like peanut oil for frying.

For battered rings, tempura batter can be very good. Here's a recipe:

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/tempura/r/tempurabatter.htm

I like to add a little salt to the batter. Dredge your soaked rings lightly in flour and then dip in the tempura batter. Salt the finished rings as they come out. After you've used tempura batter you'll come to recognize when the thickness is right. As you use it, it will thicken and it needs to be thinned back down with water to the correct thickness. Correct to me is medium thick, too thick is really bad and too thin doesn't hold together in the fryer.

Many forums on frites to find. people do obsess over their fried potatoes. The duck fat sounds delicious and decadent, but peanut oil works well also. The twice cooked method is tried and true. Blanch the frites in hot oil until they're almost done (this can be done in fairly large batches). Then fry a second time in individual serving batches until browned and crispy being sure to salt them when they come out.

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