The word “y’all”, Sweet Tea, a Southern drawl, biscuits with gravy, Southern hospitality and fried pickles with ranch sauce. I love all these things. I mean, what’s not to love?
I find the word “y’all” to be inviting, welcoming and gives you that instant feeling of comfort. Sweet tea is just that, it’s sweet, refreshing and perfect for an afternoon of sitting and contemplating life. I find a Southern drawl quite charming, especially if it belongs to a lovely Belle of the South. Fluffy biscuits with white sausage gravy, it clogs my heart thinking about it, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying it. Southern hospitality is unlike anything you’ve felt before, the drawl, the warmth and smiles along with that comfort food makes you feel a part of the family. And fried pickles with ranch sauce…let’s run with that one for a bit.
When I was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama recently, I was at a restaurant with about ten other people at the table. I was brimming with excitement when I heard deep-fried pickles had been ordered as an appetizer. They were passed around the table and in an attempt to be polite, I took one (1) off the platter and figured they’d come back around to me at some point. Sadly, they never did and I was left with the memory of one absolutely incredible bite, but as I said, it was only one. I left the restaurant that day with a vow to myself that I would once again eat fried pickles!
Imagine everything good about a pickle. For some, it’s that initial crunch and pickle juice squirting halfway across the table and for others it’s that cold, refreshing taste of dill as you crunch down on it. Now, let’s take everything good about deep-frying and combine the two! When the pickle gets deep-fried in a beer batter, you give it a second texture which consists of a hot crispy crunch that precedes the pickle crunch and it’s honestly like nothing you’ve tasted before. Think onion ring (which I also love), but better because who wouldn’t want to bite into a pickle rather than an onion! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it gets dipped into a Spicy Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce.
Now, just a quick note on the types of pickles used. In the Southern Living cooking, they state that they’ve used a Wickles pickle which is produced in Alabama. It’s a sweet-hot pickle sliced lengthwise which they found was best for frying. So to stay true to the recipe, I also bought sweet-hot pickles sliced lengthwise AND some traditional bread and butter sweet pickles sliced into “circles” (for the proper term escapes me right now).
My preference was the sweet-hot lengthwise pickle. I definitely preferred the taste of it compared to the bread and butter pickle. It was considerably thinner having been cut lengthwise than the bread and butter pickle which I think allowed for the batter to get more crispy. I’m thinking it may have had less water content than the thicker, more round pickle and so the batter could be more effective. The beer batter made for a very light and crispy coating and I’ll definitely use the batter again to make onion rings or deep fry a burger or grilled cheese!
Beer-Batter Fried Pickles (Recipe from Southern Living – 1,001 Ways to Cook Southern)
- 2 (16-oz.) jars dill pickle sandwich slices, drained
- 1 large egg
- 1 (12-oz.) can beer
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. seasoned salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- Pat pickles dry with paper towels
- Whisk together egg and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; add 1 1/2 cups flour, and whisk until smooth.
- Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches into a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat to 375 F. (I used a small portable deep-fryer with a lid which prevented oil from splattering everywhere. My suggestion for the skillet or Dutch oven route would be to invest in a splatter screen.)
- Dip pickle slices into batter, allowing excess batter to drip off. Fry pickles, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Drain and pat dry on paper towels; serve immediately with Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce.
Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. minced green onions
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp. hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
- Garnish: seasoned salt (optional)
- Whisk together all ingredients. Garnish, if desired. Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.