Boy Howdy! You Can Deep Fry Beer

Amateur chef Mark Zable from Texas has a new culinary invention: fried beer. Zable tells Steve Inskeep this is the first time anyone has successfully deep fried a liquid. He'll debut his fried beer at the Texas State Fair later this month.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

After more than two years of researching and perfecting his recipe, amateur chef Mark Zable will unveil his latest concoction later this month at the Texas State Fair. You have to be at least 21 years old to eat it because it is fried beer. And he contends that this is the first time anyone has been able to successfully fry a liquid.�So of course we called him.

Mark Zable, welcome to the program.

Mr. MARK ZABLE: Hi, how are you?

INSKEEP: OK. What's fried beer?

Mr. ZABLE: Fried beer's exactly like it sounds. I've taken dough, put beer in it and deep fried it.

INSKEEP: So what do you end up with then? You've got like kind of a pastry, a jelly doughnut sort of thing?

Mr. ZABLE: You know, I actually right now am using it in the form of a ravioli. So it looks just like a ravioli. You bite into it and it's full of beer.

INSKEEP: Meaning that there's a liquid center to it?

Mr. ZABLE: It is a liquid center.

INSKEEP: And so if you don't bite it carefully, you end up with beer on your shirt.

Mr. ZABLE: You will.

INSKEEP: And the alcohol content of this is - well, it's beer.

Mr. ZABLE: It is the exact same as if you took it out of a can.

INSKEEP: Now, what got you thinking about this?

Mr. ZABLE: My wife and I were sitting at a bar and looking at the, you know, appetizer menu, and I saw, you know, nachos and wings and calamari. And I said to her, you know, that's a bunch of boring stuff. And I said, they should have fried beer. And she and I kind of looked at each other and said, that's what we need to come up with for the fair.

INSKEEP: Now, what was it about this experiment that took two years to get it right?

Mr. ZABLE: Putting a liquid into a fryer is a really bad idea. As soon as liquid hits the fryer, it causes it to, you know, spit and boil hot oil everywhere.

INSKEEP: Did you suffer any permanent injury?

Mr. ZABLE: Nope, no permanent injury. Just a few burns here and there.

INSKEEP: So how did you successfully fry this liquid?

Mr. ZABLE: You know, it was trial and error, and finally - I'd even consulted with a food scientist. She couldn't help me figure out a way to do it. It was ultimately something my four-and-a-half-year-old son was doing that made me think, you know, I can try that. And it worked.

INSKEEP: And what was it?

Mr. ZABLE: I'm not going to disclose that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: There's a secret recipe, is what you're telling me.

Mr. ZABLE: Yeah. Until my patent is, you know, executed, I'm not divulging any information.

INSKEEP: So how does it taste?

Mr. ZABLE: It tastes great. Tastes just like eating a pretzel with a beer. Currently I'm using Guinness in my fried beer, so I would say a Guinness goes real well with it.

INSKEEP: I mean, is this a snack or would you see this as more of an entr�e?

Mr. ZABLE: Right now I see it as like an appetizer or snack.

INSKEEP: You're in this competition at the Texas State Fair. You've entered your fried beer in this competition. It's a cooking competition. Is there some kind of category that you're in?

Mr. ZABLE: No. The Big Texas Cook-Off is actually for the concessionaires that have stands at the fair. They started it five years ago. This is the third year that I've entered, and I've been in the finals. You know, it's broad things -deep fried latte, deep fried Coke, deep fried butter from last year. Being a fried food is not a requirement, but nobody's made it into the finals without a fried food.

INSKEEP: Now, you said this is just for concessionaires, meaning you were a concessionaire at the Texas State Fair, correct?

Mr. ZABLE: I am a carny three weeks a year.

INSKEEP: A carny. So what were selling before you had fried beer?

Mr. ZABLE: My father started the Belgian waffle concession 47 years ago. I took it over around 15 years ago. And we've been doing it ever since. Last year's entry into the finals was sweet jalapeno corndog shrimp. And two years ago my finalist product was chocolate covered strawberry waffle balls. And, you know, it was funny because I would yell from my stand: I've got your chocolate balls here.

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: What do you do when you're not being a carny, as you put it?

Mr. ZABLE: I'm a corporate recruiter.

INSKEEP: Those two things go together surprisingly well, I would think.

Mr. ZABLE: Yeah, kind of like oil and beer.

(Soundbite of laughter)

INSKEEP: Mark Zable, thanks very much.

Mr. ZABLE: You're very welcome.

INSKEEP: He is entering his fried beer in the Texas State Fair.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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