Monday, September 06, 2010

It shouldn't happen to a pretzel

The Weeble kindly sent me this link last week to what is evidently the Internet's big food story of the moment. There's a fuller account here from the Dallas News.

Apparently, over the past decade or so, the Texas State Fair (getting under way at the end of the month) has been promoting a competition to find the most innovative deep-fried food. Past artery-clogging champions include such improbable/impossible-seeming combinations as Deep Fried Coke and Deep Fried Butter.

Ah, but one of this year's front-runners is.....
Deep Fried Beer.

Not an easy thing to pull off, as you might imagine. Its creator, Mark Zable, spent three years on R & D, suffering many leakages and spillages (and ensuing fat-fryer explosions) along the way.

The secret, you see, is that you can't just put liquid beer directly into the boiling fat. Of course not, silly! No, you have to encase it in something first. Mark has developed "a salty pretzel-like dough" which is sufficiently waterproof and crisps up nicely. He crafts this stuff into ravioli-like pockets, fills them with beer, seals them, and dunks them in the fryer for about 20 seconds. Producing this.....

As Mark says, "Why would you want to drink beer, when you can eat it?" Well, that's obviously a rhetorical question. Many answers might be offered, none of which, I think, would be supportive of his proposition. I hope he'll come up with a better advertising slogan if the product takes off. (Or maybe it's just naff enough to work? Maybe irony is the new sex in advertising??)

Well, Mark's 'superfood' has been selected as one of the finalists in this year's contest - which actually runs ahead of the
State Fair, and is called The Big Tex Choice Awards: the winners (two prizes, for tastiest and most creative) are to be announced on Labor Day (that's today!). He's up against some pretty stiff competition in the form of:

Fried Chocolate

Fried Lemonade

Fried Caviar

Fried Club Salad

Fried Frozen Margarita

Fried Smores Pop-Tarts


Fried Frito Pie

I suspect the last two have the best chance in the 'taste' category. But anyway - good luck, Mark!

Footnote 1: If you're going to be in Dallas at the end of the month, you can enter an e-mail draw on Mark's Fried Beer website to win free samples of his new product at his concession stand at the State Fair.

Footnote 2: There's an interview with Mark on this blog, Smokes and Booze (which just might be my 'Blog of the Month' recommendation for September; I haven't delved into the content too much as yet, but you have to love the forthrightness of the title!!).

Footnote 3: You can watch Mark making some of his deep-fried beer pockets in this brief report on CBS online.

Footnote 4: There are some other pretenders to the title of the first 'fried beer' food product, but.... well, the recipe mentioned at the bottom of this article on Mark's fried beer pretzel-ravioli looks absolutely disgusting and features merely a beer-infused batter rather than plain beer (it's on a Korean food blog called Zen Kimchi, but it appears to be written mostly by Americans, so we shouldn't blame the Koreans for the awfulness of this one); as does this recipe - much more promising! - for what look like prawn crackers, but are in fact 'beer crackers'. Ah, the endless inventiveness of the human race!

Footnote 5: The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has ruled that Fried Beer may not be purchased or consumed by persons under the age of 21.

Footnote 6: As I suspected, the Deep-Fried Frito Pie won out (narrowly over the Smores Pop-Tart) in the 'Best Taste' category, but Mark's Fried Beer triumphed as 'Most Creative'. Way to go, Mark! You have to feel a bit sorry for the Lemonade and Margarita entries, though, which must surely have used a very similar process.

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