The Minnesota State Fair opened its gates yesterday. And you know what that means…
Our family is completely smitten with the Minnesota State Fair. Blake and I made our first visit together when we were dating, and we haven’t missed a year since. Although the food is a major draw for us, there’s really so much more that keeps us coming back. Enough, in fact, that sometimes attending just one day each year doesn’t cut it. We’ve been known to spend a full day with our girls, and then head back for an evening with friends to snag some additional grown-up browsing, entertainment, and eats and drinks.
(Check out this recent article from Country Living, which highlights Minnesota’s educational exhibits…and Iowa’s standout food. I think we need to check out our neighbor’s state fair, because we think alot of Minnesota’s food offerings!)
In order to taste all the different foods we want to, sharing is a necessity. We usually grab a single item, split it, and move on, fitting in a food booth every now and then throughout the day. Only if the food is exceptional will we take out our wallet to buy another round. This has been known to happen with the cheese curds (the ones from the Food Building), the Australian batter dipped potatoes, my favorite sweet and salty homemade salted nut rolls dipped in chocolate, and…
the way awesome fried pickles!
Although The Perfect Pickle has been serving up fried pickles at the fair since 1997, it was only 2 years ago that I gave this Southern snack a go myself. I think it has something to do with their new dill pickle green trailer parked at their new location near the entrance to the Midway. I know I’m a very visual kind of person, but how can that giant green trailer not grab your attention? It just begs you to check it out.
The pickles that come out of that catchy place are perfectly dilly, salty, and crunchy…and then battered and fried to perfection. Dipped in some ranch dressing…ohhhhhhh my! Last year we left the fair with 3 out of 4 family members (still working on our oldest daughter) on board my fried pickle bandwagon. Yeehaw!
Ever since my first fried pickle eating experience, I’ve been wanting to try my own hand at frying dills at home. So last week I dug out the never-been-used deep fryer from its hiding place in the basement. My apologies to whoever gave that to us for our wedding. Not that I won’t devour whatever comes out of a deep fryer…I am just not a big deep fryer kind of person. Obviously. (We were married in ’99!)
But this occasion warranted the deep fryer’s reveal. And it was tasty and FUN!!!
If the thought of fried pickles makes you drool, and a trip to the Minnesota State Fair is not on your end-of-summer agenda, I highly recommend frying up some pickles of your own. They’re really a treat. Especially with a dip into some ranch dressing and a few healthy dashes of Frank’s Red Hot sauce, which isn’t served with the pickles at the fair. Grab a chair and a cold beer and enjoy some fried puckery amazingness!
- oil for frying (I used canola)
- thick cut dill pickle chips
- 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 T. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 c. beer
- 1/2 c. fine bread crumbs
- your favorite ranch dressing
- Frank's Red Hot Sauce
Heat oil to 350°. If using a deep fryer, use the amount of oil specified by the manufacturer. If using a pan on the stovetop, fill oil to about 2'' deep.
Line a baking sheet with a layer of paper towel. Set desired number of pickle chips on paper towel to absorb the pickle juice. Pat the tops of the pickles with another paper towel.
For Bowl #1: In a small bowl, place 1/2 cup of the flour.
For Bowl #2: In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add the beer and stir until all lumps are gone.
For Bowl #3: In a small bowl, place the bread crumbs.
Add just a few pickles at a time to Bowl #1, tossing to completely coat each pickle with flour.
Place floured pickles in Bowl #2 and turn to completely coat with batter. Lightly shake off excess batter.
Place battered pickles in Bowl #3, lightly coating each pickle with bread crumbs.
Place breaded pickles in the oil and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 30 to 45 seconds per side.
Serve with your favorite ranch dressing and Frank's Red Hot sauce.