Sometimes a good side dish is just as important as the main attraction. Shit, sometimes I will get in this unexplainable trance where I decimate all my sides before I even take a glance at the Old 96’er. I’ve even been known to make an entire plate composed solely of sides as my meal. Sure, when no one is looking I will then grab a fist full of brats and scurry off alone into a dark corner to shove them down my gullet before anyone is the wiser, but the point here is that I like sides.
This is more than my personal likes though.In case you haven’t noticed, we here at Beer & Pig love ourselves some BBQ. It’s what we think about when we pleasure ourselves in the morning and Its the last thing we think about before drifting off into a beer induced slumber at night. Yea, it’s a big deal around here! And there is no other side that goes with BBQ quite like a fluffy on the inside/crispy on the outside hush puppy!
Little known fact, hush puppies can be made by you. Yes, YOU! You can do so without getting a to-go order from Long John Silver’s, without getting a ready-made mix from Food Lion and *GASP* without a deep fryer!
Inconceivable, you say?! C’mon reader, I thought you knew me better than to question my sovereignty. I’m mildly offended. In fact, if we weren’t separated by this computer monitor, I’d spit in your mothers face. But I’m a good man; someone who can forgive and forget. I refuse to let your ignorance thwart you from receiving yet another secret recipe from me that might as well be hidden in the index of Professor Henry Jones diary. Hit the jump for your shopping list.
What you’ll need:
- 1(ish) qts. of oil for frying (vegetable or peanut oil will do)
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 cup flour (all-purpose)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup canned corn
- 1 jalapeño (chopped and deseeded)
- 1/2 cup onion (minced)
- large saucepan or pot
First things first, pour your oil in the pot/pan. I say 1(ish) quarts of oil because the diameters of each cooking receptacle varies. You are going to want enough in there so that the hush puppies won’t be resting on the bottom of the pan. Crank the heat up and if you have a frying thermometer, put that sucker in. Our heat goal is a sultry 365 degrees. While we wait for bubbles, lets move on.
Take the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, Old Bay and sugar and mix it all together in a large bowl. When mixing dry goods, a lot of culinary boobs like to use sifters. Let me tell you something about sifters. They have no place in my kitchen and no place on this site. The only person using a sifter should be Dr. Grant while he looks for velociraptor claws. That’s it. So instead of sifting these ingredients together, reach your big hand in there and move it around in the same motion you would use to loosen a jar lid. Once comfortable with this motion, you can advance to more skilled moves such as the french tickler and rapid karate chop mix. Once thoroughly blended, set it aside.
Grab another bowl and add the 1/4 cup of oil, eggs and buttermilk. Again, I use my hands but if you are worried about breaking a nail or some other BS I guess a whisk or fork is acceptable for intermingling. Just mix, mix and mix some more, until it is a nice frothy and consistently colored nectar.
Now take your “liquid” mix and gently pour it over your “dry” mix. Then, toss your onion, corn and jalapeño right on top of that amoeba and begin to “fold” this goop in and over itself until it is considered “just mixed,” in your eyes. It’s important that you don’t go overboard on this part.
By now, your oil should be up to temp and making a beautiful sound. The cooking equivalent to the saxophone portion in Careless Whisper is the best way I can describe it. This is where things get tricky. You are going to want to drop a well-rounded tablespoon of your mix into the oil, and you want to do so without burning your flesh off or making sloppy shapes. I found the easiest route is to use one of those small ice scream scoops that chicks use to make cookies, but a standard spoon can work. Just make sure your balls aren’t too large –pause for laughter– because then the outside will finish cooking before the inside gets a chance. Like I said, aim for a generous tablespoon worth of goop.
Using a slotted spoon (not your fingers this time), move the hush puppies around in the oil. Move them around a lot. Almost constantly. This will ensure that every facet of the ball gets cooked evenly. You don’t want to plop them in and then wait to see some color before you start to flip them. This would cause the puppies to become bottom heavy from being over done, thus making them harder to rotate and evenly cook. So be sure to be turn those bastards. I can’t stress this enough.
From my experience, I say that on average each puppy cooks for about 6 minutes, give or take, till they reach that wonderful golden brown hue. Once they hit their climax, remove em’ from the oil and let them sit on some paper towels to drain. Repeat all the steps above until your batter as all been fried. I don’t know why I need to tell you that last step, but I’m sure there’s some wackadoo out there that would make his first batch of puppies and then just stare at the remaining batter in the bowl, chock full of fear and confusion. We run a tight ship here and we can’t let things like that happen.
Anyways, you are done! So what the hell are you doing still sitting here looking for “whats next?” Eat! Eat now! These things are best enjoyed while piping hot, so don’t let them sit around. Try em’ with honey butter. Try em’ with a zesty ranch dressing. Whatever floats your boat, you goose! They are good with anything.
If you have a group of friends there salivating at what you just made, choose one of them to give one to and then eat the rest of your fried fortune in front of them, laughing and pointing. Maybe next time they will put in the effort, instead of waiting around while you do all the hard work. Perhaps we should concentrate on why you have horrible friends? That’s a post for another day.