Holidays and some birthdays around here usually mean grilling stuff, like fish, chicken, or other grillables. We've been playing around with battered fish for a while, though after this we've decided that grilling food with a battered coating wasn't the best method. (I still say the grills needed to be greased. *cough cough*)
Last time we used a tempura-ish batter with beer and it didn't quite stick to the shrimp. After reading around, we realized it we weren't patting the shrimp dry enough for the batter to stick. Also, some methods tossed the fish with either corn starch or flour, further ensuring the fish to be thoroughly coated with bater. We used cornstarch.
This beer batter was one of the better recipes I've tried, and coming from Alton Brown, it all makes sense. The batter includes baking powder for lightness, I'm guessing, and the carbonation from the beer would definitely aid in that aspect along with giving the batter flavor. There's also a bit of cayenne pepper that lends a noticeable spicy note, and I also added a teaspoon of fish seasoning I have. (He uses Old Bay, and this is probably the equivalent, though he only uses a "dash".) The batter then gets a brief rest of 15 minutes in the fridge before being used, though the recipe states that it can rest for up to an hour.
The shrimp skewers were then placed on the grill and left for a few minutes until the batter set.
So far, everything seemed good. My dad was concerned that the batter would rip off like a scab and stick to the grills instead of the shrimp. (He didn't use those exact words.) The first few skewers didn't stick to the grill, which wasn't oiled.
Then some of the coating just wouldn't stick to the shrimp. I think this could have been because the outside cooked quicker than the inside, so it didn't have a chance to stick to the shrimp. However, nothing went to waste as I scraped off the coating that stuck to the grills. Gotta get my daily dose of carcinogen in! The batter was incredibly tasty, and years of purposely burning marshmallows enables me to enjoy the flavor of overly charred food. It adds an interesting aspect.
So, for the most part, it wasn't a failure, though it wasn't necessarily easy. The sad part is that you don't get the flavor of charcoal when you fry food.
P.S. I left out the obvious joke of "shrimp on the barbie", which I will mention now that this post is over.
Alton Brown's Beer Batter for Fish
From Alton's Chips and Fish recipe
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Dash Old Bay Seasoning
1 bottle brown beer, cold
1 1/2 pounds firm-fleshed whitefish (tilapia, pollock, cod), cut into 1-ounce strips
Cornstarch, for dredging
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Note: The batter can be made up to 1 hour ahead of time.
- Lightly dredge fish strips in cornstarch. In small batches, dip fish in batter and cook as desired.
Full cooking methods are described if you click on the link above. Instead of deep frying, you could probably pan fry the fish in a cast iron skillet with a decent amount of oil in it.