There are a few methods for making onion rings: beer battered or crumbed (like Burger King) were a couple of the methods we tried. It was going to be beer battered until about five minutes before service, then I decided I didn't like them that much and just went with a dredge-style preparation that we use today.
The result is these crispy, bright, earthy, smoked onion rings that have a depth of flavour that a normal onion ring couldn't achieve.
We don't tend to put them on the menu very often anymore as it is a bit of a pain to make during service. But they occasionally rear their difficult faces on the specials. Give them a crack at home.
What you’ll need:
3 large onions, sliced into 2cm rings.
Don't use the very outer layer or two, as it is quite fibrous. There will also be a bit of waste from the centre of the onions, as they aren't large enough for rings. They can be reserved for another use or chucked into stocks (everyone should make their own stocks).
2 litres of oil (rice bran, cottonseed or peanut oil).
2 cups of plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp of fine table salt
2 cups of buttermilk
A couple dashes of Texas Pete or Crystal Hot Sauce
Whisk the dry ingredients together.
We smoke our onions, although this step can be omitted. However, if you access to a smoker, please do it, as it makes all the difference. Smoke at 100°C for five minutes.
Whisk about ¼ cup to ½ cup of the dry flour mixture into the buttermilk to make a thin batter.
Take the smoked onions (make sure they are cooled if smoked) or regular onion rings and toss them in the remaining flour mixture, working in batches. Then place into the buttermilk mixture and toss again in the flour mixture.
At this point, deep fry in 180°C oil for about 2½ to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Season with sea salt upon removal. Serve with whatever sauce you'd like. We usually serve it with a Dr Pepper BBQ sauce that we make in house. It also works really well with a buttermilk dressing-type sauce or even simple ketchup. Never tomato sauce – that stuff is watery and horrible.