ScienceSkepticism

Fried Beer, and Science of Some Sort

Last year’s FryDay Saturday was a great success, ending with zero deaths or hospitalizations. While I haven’t received verification from all subjects in last night’s follow-up study, I think it’s safe to say they all made it through the evening okay.

TastingThe largest hurdle last year was a lack of a deep fryer, which we solved by using a regular pot on the stove. This year we were able to use an actual Fry GranPappy, sent to me for my birthday last year by VPescado (thanks man!). I swear on a stack of babies I am not making up the name “GranPappy.” It’s like an older, wiser, codgier version of a FryDaddy, I guess. It includes options for turning foods into hard candy or sassparilla. It wants you to get off its lawn.

Anyway, with that hurdle cleared for this second round, we were once again ready to do science. Like last year, we wanted to test the hypothesis that everything tastes better deep fried. I’ve broken up the results into three categories: Beer, Irony, and The Rest. All the greasy details follow.

Fried Beer!

Fried Beer

I’ll begin with last year’s favorite item: fried beer. I didn’t think it was possible, but it was actually even better than I remembered. The IPA we used last year was delicious, but this year I decided to mix it up and use a pumpkin ale instead. That decision should qualify me for some kind of Nobel prize, in chemistry perhaps. Feedback this year was even more positive than last year, which is really saying something.

Basically, making fried beer is pretty simple. We first made a beer batter, using equal parts beer and flour, with dashes of baking powder, salt, and cinnamon thrown into the mix. The batter was refrigerated in a plastic zip bag, so when it came time to fry it up, we simply unzipped it a bit and squeezed it out into the oil. This made a funnel cake with a delicious beer-y tinge to it.

When the beer funnel cake was browned, we scooped it out and set it aside to cool. Over the top of it we poured a delicious beer syrup, made of equal parts sugar and the same pumpkin ale used for the batter. The beer syrup was so delicious that we continually added it to everything else. I’m considering mass producing beer syrup and making millions of dollars. Anyone who knows how I might do this should contact me immediately.

Irony is Breaded

Fried Salad

Baked Lays®
These are chips that have been specifically baked instead of fried in order to reduce the number of calories, so it was with some amount of excitement that we dumped a bag of the flavorless health snacks into a bubbling vat of oil. They browned quickly, so they were almost immediately fished out and allowed to cool. Most subjects disliked the slightly burnt taste of the now much fattier chips. I gave them the thumbs up since they now tasted like something not made of cardboard.

Refried Beans
Making Fried Refried BeansBeans are good. Fried beans are better. RE-fried beans are even better than that. So, it stood to reason that re-refried beans would be the best food ever. The beans were de-canned and sliced into beany disks, which were then floured and frozen. Finally, they were battered, breaded, and deep fried. End result: they pretty much tasted exactly like refried beans, with a crispy exterior. Still delicious with salsa and tortilla chips.

Salad
Q: What’s the healthiest food you can eat? A: A salad. Until you deep fry it. A traditional “American” salad in a bag (iceberg lettuce, carrots, radishes) was give a “Shake-and-Bake” treatment. Batter and bread crumbs were tossed in the bag and allowed to adhere to the salad bits before the contents of the bag were deposited in the steaming oil. The result was a fried masterpiece of yumminess, with all nutrients replaced by fat.

Apple
Continuing the theme of turning healthy snacks into deadly artery bombs, an apple was sliced, battered, and fried. What emerged from the oil was something so delicious it made Mother Nature weep at her own incompetence in the face of what man hath wrought.

Other Stuff Got Fried, Too

French Toast
Challah bread was dipped in a traditional French toast egg batter, then deep fried and served with maple syrup. Fried French toast was declared to be delicious, though the maple syrup was almost immediately replaced with beer syrup to create what was possibly the Best Breakfast Food Ever.

Cupcakes
The first cupcake’s frosting dissolved in seconds. The second cupcake was separated from its frosting before being dropped in the oil, then reunited with its frosting upon achieving fried-ness. The third was de-frosted, battered, then re-frosted. Pretty much every incarnation made the subjects mildly nauseated.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Smooth peanut butter and apricot jelly were spread on two slices of 7-grain bread and stabbed with toothpicks to keep the sandwich together. It was then fried until crispy. A second sandwich was prepared in the same manner, and then dipped in batter and fried. Non-battered was slightly more popular than battered, and both were approximately as popular as a raw PB&J.

Cinnamon Bread and Cinnamon Babka
Like two gorgeous women both arriving to the cocktail party wearing identical designer dresses, the abundance of cinnamon-flavored breads could have been disastrous. However, unlike designer dresses, cinnamon-flavored breads are delicious when battered, fried, and dipped in beer syrup.

Fun-size Candy Bars
The final items were mini candy bars, but the few people with the stomach left to try them were unable to screw up the energy to cast their votes in favor of or against frying them. Anecdotal evidence suggests fried Almond Joys are delish. The twisted remains of fried KitKat appeared to be untouched.

Additional Visual Aids

FryDay Chart

Preference of fried (blue) to non-fried (green). Higher areas of the chart correspond to greater preference. Items are listed in chronological order, so decrease in interest in eating anything can be observed over time.

FryDay Chart 2

As always, more pics on Flickr. Special thanks to Liz, Joshua, Wendy, Sarah, Maggie, Meredith, and Jared for taking part in this important experiment.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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20 Comments

  1. It was a delight to participate, even if I’m fairly certain that my body now sweats pure vegetable oil when raised to a sufficient temperature. Perhaps I’ve become a super hero? Just a pity the name “Fry GranPappy” has already been taken, or I’d be ALL OVER it.

  2. The only re-frying going on was the re-refried beans. (A.k.a., “three-fried beans”.)

    We could come up with fried things to re-fry, but I think it’d be so much more exciting to think of a way to deep fry yogurt.

  3. now you’re talkin’! with fruit chucks or without? we used to have fun with the frier at a restaurant i used to work at. i still have scars on my arm from a debacle when we were deep frying blueberries lol (not one of our better creations, btw)

  4. I agree with whoever suggested that we order pizza and then fry it with the delivery guy still standing at the door. ;)

    @hotphysicsboy: Given the whole burny arm story you just told, I’m gonna say yoghurt without the fruit. Or at least not blueberries.

    Actually, I nearly brought some strawberries to fry. Considering how well the apples and tomatoes went, we might be on to something with this fried fruit business.

  5. I will, on occasion, make apple fritters. This is essentially beer batter with diced apples mixed in, dropped by the spoonful into a deep fryer. The resulting blobs are liberally sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.

  6. However, unlike designer dresses, cinnamon-flavored breads are delicious when battered, fried, and dipped in beer syrup.

    Have you actually _tried_ designer dresses battered, fried, and dipped in beer syrup? They _could_ be delicious.

    Wasn’t there a designer who made a bacon dress?

    Mmmmm, bacon!

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