Sunday, November 23, 2014

El Diablo Onion Rings

We wanted some pub style food for the weekend games so I decided to make some ribs and onion rings this weekend.  Is there anything more "pubby" than beer battered onion rings?

El Diablo Onion Ring Recipe, BBQ side dish, deep fryer recipe

I made the ribs using the Apple Cider Ribs recipe from Chris Lilly's 2014 book, Fire & Smoke.  It's a great book and it would be a good present for the griller on your shopping list.

As much as I tout the advantages of the kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Grill Dome, Primo, Vision, Etc), there is one thing that bugs me when cooking ribs on them.  With the indirect set up using a plate setter/heat diffuser, the end of the ribs stick out over the gaps which are hot spots noted by the red arrow in the picture below.  This means those parts of the rib will cook faster and unevenly.

Plate setter gap
Sorry about the mobile phone picture.  Red arrow points out the gaps where you have hot spots while grilling indirect using a plate setter.

I thought I would try to do something about that this time.  I used a 16" pizza pan ($5.49 at Gordon Food Services) and drilled holes in it.  I placed this 1" above the plate setter.  The pan edges help deflect the heat from those hot spots so the heat can't just come straight up and hit the food.  The holes give the hot air somewhere to go besides just around the edges of the pan, otherwise I'm just pushing the hotspots out a little further.  

Big Green Egg tuning plate, kamado indirect

This worked pretty well at tuning down the hot spots just like using tuning plates on a stick burning, offset smoker. This isn't something that you have to have, I just think it makes a great grill work just a little bit better.

kamado ribs, big green egg ribs, grill dome ribs
These loin back ribs were HUGE, weren't they?  I prefer true baby backs (2 1/4 lbs and down) but these were all that we could find at the time.

It worked well enough that I'm going to play around with that design some and make a better version with legs built in and the holes drilled symmetrically once I find the best pattern.

bbq ribs
More mobile phone pictures - sorry 'bout that.

The onion rings were an idea I had back when we did the tailgate party but I nixed them from the list because our deep fryer had kicked the bucket.  I thought that adding one of the El Diablo Mustard varieties to my onion ring batter would spice things up a bit.  This recipe is mild as written, to increase the heat to medium just increase the mustard to 1/2 cup.  For hot, add in some of your favorite hot sauce.

El Diablo Onion Ring Recipe, BBQ side dish, deep fryer recipe

El Diablo Onion Rings

  • 4 large Vidalia onions, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rings
  • oil for deep frying
 For the batter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white corn meal
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 3/4 cup light beer (American style lager)
  • 1/4 cup El Diablo Chipotle Mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons oil

  1. Mix together the dry batter ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk the wet batter ingredients and then whisk that into the dry ingredients until combined in a smooth batter. 
  2. Heat your deep fryer or oil in a Dutch oven to 375°F.  When deep frying, always follow manufacturer's instructions, use personal protective equipment, and ideally have a Class K fire extinguisher available.
  3. Dip 5-6 onion slices into the batter, shake off the excess batter and lower into the hot oil.  Cook until golden brown on the first side, about 1 minute, and then use a long utensil to flip them.  Cook the second side until golden brown, about half the time that the first side took.
  4. Remove to a resting rack over paper towels.  Lightly season with fine salt.  Keep warm in a 200°F oven*.
  5. Repeat with remaining onion slices until all are cooked.
*The ignition point of paper is about 451°F so the paper towels should not ignite in a 200°F oven but I would only do this since I am near the oven the whole time and it will only be in the oven for about 10-15 minutes total. 

You can use types of onion other than Vidalia, I just like their sweet taste and meaty rings.

This is just the wet ingredients - look at all of that seasoning from the El Diablo mustard.  If substituting a different type, look for one loaded with visible seasonings, not plain yellow or dijon.

I stumbled on to this but a straight carving fork is perfect for handling the onion rings in and out of the batter as well as in the hot oil.

El Diablo Onion Ring Recipe, BBQ side dish, deep fryer recipe
Notice the texture of the batter - that's where you want it.  If it is too thick, just add a beer 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you get the consistency like this.
Excuse the blurry picture but I was holding this as I took the shot and was paying more attention to keeping my hand out of the 375°F oil.   To keep the onion ring from sticking to the basket, hold each ring like this for about 3 seconds to let it start cooking before letting go all of the way.  

El Diablo Onion Ring Recipe, BBQ side dish, deep fryer recipe
The color is your guide of when to flip and remove the onion rings more than time.  Also, give your oil a chance to recover its cooking temperature between batches.  You definitely don't want the oil dropping below 350°F. 

El Diablo Onion Ring Recipe, BBQ side dish, deep fryer recipe
It is best to season fried foods as soon as they come out of the oil so keep doing it in small batches.  Don't wait until the end to season them all at once.
El Diablo Onion Ring Recipe, BBQ side dish, deep fryer recipe

Honestly, I ate more onion rings than I did ribs.


  1. they both look good, but I would devour those onion rings!

  2. While I'd omit the sugar those are some fine looking onion rings

  3. I would eat more onion rings than ribs too. Holy cow those look Yummy!

  4. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed good homemade onion rings-oh wow. I am suddenly having a craving.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.


  5. I tend to eat a lot of onion rings too, but we don't have them often so it's fun to splurge. Yours look perfect with not too much batter and nice and crispy. Clever idea with the pizza pan Chris.I think you're on to something.

  6. I've never made onion rings but will give them a try for game night - they have to be better than any served in a restaurant! You know, you really should work for seems YOU are always improving their designs, like with your pizza pan fix...some nerdlick at BGE will see your post and design something similar and will get all the praise, glory and cash and you get nothing! not even a stinkin' badge! It just ain't right!

  7. I don't think my comment let me say it again, because I'm always worth quoting...You are always making improvements to the should work for them! Some nerdlick at the Egg company will see you post about the pizza pan and he'll create something, get all the glory, praise and cash and you'll get nothing - not even a badge! It just ain't right!

  8. Man oh man do those ribs & rings have me drooling. YUM!

  9. These look delish! Thanks for posting - and the carving fork idea - brilliant. I use a chop stick and it works well but I think having two prongs might be a better route.

  10. Perfect for game day, Chris! We haven't had home-made onion rings in what seems like forever, so thanks for the recipe.

  11. I love onion rings. I hope I have your problems with hot spots. It is that time of year that I buy an extra large Christmas tree in hopes there will be a BGE underneath. This may be the year.

  12. Brilliant! Agree with Potsandpins. You need to patient this stuff before putting it out. Turkey from the BGE with your sister tomorrow. Mom is spending the day cooking the sides. Hope the Knoxville family has a special day also.

  13. Wow! What a delicious meal, Chris! Those ribs look fantastic and the onion rings look very crispy and perfect ! Happy Thanksgiving!