Have Your Beer ... and Eat It, Too

Learn how to make beer battered onion rings and The Drunken Sandwich to commemorate the first Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week.


Photos by Leah Lizarondo

I don’t know about you, but ogling economic indicators isn’t as fun as it used to be. Like since the 1950s maybe. For someone who gets off on graphs, it’s been slim pickins lately. But there’s one graph that caught my eye and redeems them all. Consumer Confidence Index be damned, we have — after almost a century — finally recovered from the effects of one of the most ill-judged public policy initiatives of all time. Prohibition.



We hit rock bottom in 1930, then experienced a few years of resurgence before the craft beer version of the double-dip recession happened. The period from 1936 to 1979 can be considered the “dark ages” of beer, when the choices our parents had were limited to carbonated spittoon water. Of course, it would take a Democrat (the party party) to say “enough” of this, and Jimmy Carter ran for president on a Deregulation platform that — naturally — won him the presidency. As we know, Jimmy Carter would later win the Nobel Peace Prize, and rumor has it that it is because of his liberation of hops, malt and yeast.

Fast forward to 2012. I now have over 1700 craft breweries to choose from. Take that Moody’s. True, hipsters will still rebelliously tote their PBRs as an “in your face” to what some perceive as craft beer elitism, but only to the point where they can then whip out their rare Leavenworth Boulder Bend Dunkelweizen that they had to travel to Olympia, WA to buy. Of course.

This year, Pittsburgh celebrates its First Craft Beer Week with almost a dozen local breweries (I didn’t even know we had that many!) and over 50 craft brewers participating. Perhaps the best part of the festival is the Collaboration Beers — local breweries partnering up to produce limited edition brews.

But, this being The Brazen Kitchen, I urge you to broaden your grain spectrum and try the new grain brews out there. Used to be, if you were gluten sensitive, you had to stick to cider (or wine, which is cruel for fried food!)

Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. There are some great breweries out there who are now producing varieties made from grains such as sorghum, millet and rice. My absolute favorite is New Grist Beer, an award winner at the singular Great American Beer Festival. It is absolutely delicious. No compromises there. Downside is, it’s hard to find around these parts.

But fear not — there are a few gluten-free varieties at local distributors and The Sharp Edge. That’s good news for gluten-free enthusiasts or the grain-curious. Red Bridge (which is actually an Anheuser Busch brand, not quite “craft”), Bard’s and New Planet are all available here.

What else does this mean? Now you can make those Beer Battered Onion Rings with a twist. With a great sorghum beer, some protein-packed chickpea flour and hefty hotness, you can now make the Best. Onion. Rings. Ever.  And if you pair it with this Drunken Sandwich, you’re all set to have your beer and eat it, too. Sure, you might feel a little guilt, but only for how much you don’t want to share any of it.

Beer Battered Onion Rings

Makes about 4 servings (or serves one, four times)

1 cup chickpea flour
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika (I prefer Half Sharp Hungarian Paprika)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Cayenne to taste
1 T hot sauce (optional)
1 cup beer (I used New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale)
1 very large white or yellow onion
Oil for frying*

Preheat oven to 250 degrees — to keep your onion rings warm as you fry the batches. Line a baking tray with paper towels.

In a deep frying pan or dutch oven, heat the oil to 365F (you will know it is ready if you put a drop of batter or piece of bread and it immediately sizzles and browns). Make sure you have enough oil so that it is about 4 inches deep in your pan.

Peel onions and cut into thick rings. Separate the rings.

In a large bowl, mix first 7 ingredients and whisk until smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter. Add a bit more beer if needed (a tablespoon at a time).
Let sit for about 15 minutes.

Dip the onion rings and shake off excess batter. Work in batches and do not crowd the onion rings. I find that using tongs makes it easier. Each batch will take about 2 minutes, try to turn the rings once or twice during the process.

Monitor the temperature of your oil -- it will cool off with each batch, test it before you put the next batch in.  The temperature of the oil spells the difference between a crispy, “healthy/er” deep fry and a soggy, oily mess.**

Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy.

The Drunken Sandwich recipe can be found here.



*I don’t fry very much -- much less deep fry -- and on the rare occasion that I do, I do not discard the oil. Whole Foods Market provides receptacles for you to dispose of your oil so that they can recycle it as fuel.

**Those bits of dripped batter that fry along with the rings? SAVE THEM. WE WILL USE THEM IN AN UPCOMING RECIPE. Trust me. It will be good. Drain the oil in paper towels (along with your rings). Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. It will store indefinitely. And we will use them soon.

Edit Module

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Brazen Kitchen:

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend the Farm to Table Pittsburgh Conference

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend the Farm to Table Pittsburgh Conference

Get the lowdown on one of the best food events of the season.
The Last-Minute Healthy Dad Gift Guide

The Last-Minute Healthy Dad Gift Guide

Why healthy? Because he’s worth it.
Five-Minute Fudge Brownies

Five-Minute Fudge Brownies

Brazen Kitchen: These brownies are so healthy you can eat them for breakfast, or a guilt-free late night snack.
5 Ingredients You Need to Be Cooking with Now

5 Ingredients You Need to Be Cooking with Now

Cooking enthusiasts: Read on for details on how, why and where to get such hot commodities as black garlic.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

19 Pittsburgh-Area Burgers That We Love

19 Pittsburgh-Area Burgers That We Love

PM dining critic Hal B. Klein spent months eating scores of hamburgers in and around Pittsburgh. Find out how he narrowed his list down to 19 — and see which ones made the cut.
Meet 3 Butchers of the 'Burgh and Pittsburgh's ‘Brisket Boss’

Meet 3 Butchers of the 'Burgh and Pittsburgh's ‘Brisket Boss’

We visit Salem's halal butcher shop, the butchery program at Whitfield restaurant and the Butcher on Butler. Plus, smoking tips from the Brisket Boss.
The Region's Top Dentists 2017

The Region's Top Dentists 2017

Our annual list, which contains 369 dentists in the region, as determined by topDENTISTS.
Showtime Brothers: A Tale of Two Hollanders

Showtime Brothers: A Tale of Two Hollanders

In the 13 years since CBS’ ‘The Guardian’ went off the air, the Mt. Lebanon-raised siblings who inspired and wrote the series, Scott and David Hollander, have continued to export Pittsburgh nationally.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


New Pennzoil Ad Shows the Dodge Demon Demolishing the Streets of Pittsburgh

New Pennzoil Ad Shows the Dodge Demon Demolishing the Streets of Pittsburgh

Watch champion drifter Rhys Millen turn Pittsburgh's streets into his own private raceway.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
First Look: Ki Ramen

First Look: Ki Ramen

After a series of successful pop-ups, chefs Domenic Branduzzi and Roger Li open their Lawrenceville ramen shop.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

Tres Rios Has Potential, But Hasn't Distinguished Itself Just Yet

The tacos-and-tequila bar and restaurant on the South Side doesn't do anything wrong, exactly, but has room to grow.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

Who Belongs on a Pittsburgh Steelers Mount Rushmore?

As the team prepares the inaugural class of its Hall of Honor, Mike Prisuta selects the four members of the Steelers family most deserving of inclusion.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

Make a Trendy Transition into Fall Style

No. 14 Boutique in Lawrenceville put together this chic outfit for the tricky period when summer cools into autumn.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Glass Castle Isn't Perfect, But It's Better Than a Creepy Doll

The Glass Castle Isn't Perfect, But It's Better Than a Creepy Doll

Reviews of "The Glass Castle" and "Annabelle: Creation," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

Delicious Design: Our Cookie Table Contest Winner & Runners-Up

These Pittsburgh couples certainly know how to bring the cookie table tradition to life.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Produced in Pittsburgh: MONMade Takes Local Crafters National

Close to a half dozen local businesses, among them Savannah Hayes and Stak Ceramics, will make their debut next week at the mega interior design and home goods-focused show in New York City.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module