Monday, August 16, 2010

Fried Dill Pickles in Beer Batter in Celebration of Elvis!

"It was 33 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play"... No wait, that's the Beatles, the wrong 60's icon.

Starting over, today marks the sad anniversary, 33 years ago today, truly "The Day the Music Died". Oops, sorry, that's the Big 
Bopper, and Buddy Holly, the wrong 50's icon.

But, this is the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Long before the kids of today made him into a punch line, he was the reigning undisputed King of Rock and Roll. Mourned in assisted living homes across the country, poodle skirt wearing grandmothers are a little sad this morning. 
Elvis Pictures, Images and Photos

A few of you may remember that introduction from last years' anniversary of Elvis's Death post.  It's been another year, and as far as most people believe, Elvis is still dead.

Dead, but not forgotten.

Last year, I posted a story of my very first clear memory.  It involved Elvis, my hot mother, my greaser father, King Kong and sibling rivalry.  All in one night... A very good night.  If I do say so myself, it was pretty well written as well.  Click HERE to hear the story of ELVIS Asparagus (and why King Kong is being floated by balloons).
In that post, I promised to return this year, on the anniversary of that sad day and share a second memory of Elvis.  But today, in addition to a story, I will share a recipe for a dish that was not just inspired by The King (vegetables, wrapped in fat and covered with sugar sounds like something Elvis the Pelvis would enjoy), but Fried Dill Pickles were in fact one of Elvis's favorite snacks.

But first, the story of my second Elvis memory (again, Click HERE to hear the story of my very first memory of Elvis (and a giant floating gorilla))...

With every story, you need to hear the back story to really appreciate what's going on...

Where were you in the summer of 1977?  Me, I was a permanent staff member of Camp Shaw-waw-nas-see (pronounced like it's spelled).  Really, Camp Shaw is a 4-H camp located just south of Chicago near Kankakee (Illinois loves Native American Names).

Flag Raising

I was a lifeguard at the pool, singer of songs at meals and a member of the program staff (we kept the little honeys entertained).  Camp Shaw had everything.  A pool, a river for boating, a huge national park for hiking and overnight camping, and so much more.  But they didn't have a TV set, and radios were not allowed.  We were isolated from all the news of the day.

I spent the entire summer (BTW, greatest summer college job ever, but I digress) cut off from the news of the day.  I missed Star Wars (the original and best) being shown at first run movie houses.  Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 25th Jubilee (and great speculation about the world's most eligible bachelor, young Prince Charles, and his eventual assent to the thrown).  Led Zeppelin and the Supremes announced they were disbanding.  Oil first flowed from the Alaskan pipeline, solving all of our energy needs, reaching port at Valdez, Alaska where the oil could be safely transported in tankers.  And General Fransisco Franco of Spain was still dead (you would have had to have been there, but that was one of the funny jokes of the year).  All this and more was going on during the summer, but I was working on my tan and didn't hear any of it.


On August 16, 1977, all the little darlings and staff came into the dining hall for lunch.  The lunch ladies were all crying, there were a few parent/chaperones huddled in a corner, whispering.  I am not sure how, but news of the outside world had reached our little cloister.  For the first time in my life, I would have to live in a world without Elvis.  

I look back fondly about nearly everything from that summer of Head, Heart, Hands and Health.  Elvis's death seemed surreal at the time, but still remains one of the strongest memories for me of that summer.

Rest in Peace Elvis, and may you be remembered fondly.



And really, they are much better than they sound.  

here's what I did...

1 jar of Koher Dill Pickle spears, drained and dried with a paper towel
3 cups 
flour (separated into two batches)
2 TBS 
Sesame Seed Herb Mix (a mix of white and black seeds, Kosher Salt and dried garlic)
1 bottle of 
Killians Irish Red beer (well, not the whole bottle, and feel free to use your own personal beer of choice)
Canola oil to fill 3/4 inch of your heavy frying pan

Mix 2 cups of the flour and the Sesame seeds herb mix together in a bowl. Add enough beer to make a pancake like batter.  Then add a little more.  you want a thin batter.

Heat your oil up. Do the water drop test to see if it is hot enough. Sprinkle a couple drops of water into the oil. If it pops and splatters, it is ready (JUST A COUPLE DROPS).

Set up a little assembly line, or your kitchen will be a mess, and your wife will be pissed (or worse than that, you will have to clean up yourself).

  • Cut the spears in half
  • Coat a pickle spear in the set aside 1 cup of flour.
  • Coat in the batter (it's easiest to do this with a toothpick
  • Fry em up. Like Julia says about mushrooms, "Don't crowd the battered pickle spears".
  • They cook fast, flip them after 2 minutes, and finish with a second 2 minute cook
  • Remove from the oil and let them drain on a couple paper towels
  • Try to eat just one
  • They do not keep well, nor re-heat well, so eat 'em all!
Here are some photos to give you an idea...

Me and BIG EL...

We love 'em!


  1. I love pickles, love beer, love the taste of batter...and love Elvis. So what could be better!? Thanks for sharing this recipe. :)

  2. These look....interesting... My daughter just came home from camp yet again. She's 16. Next year she will shadow counselors and after that during college she will be a counselor during her summer breaks. She still has the "camp glow." I love her plan!

  3. Elvis the pelvis...I don't know what to do with you!

    I suppose I will look back similarly on the day Michael Jackson died...even though I'm not such a fan.

    Fried pickles...awesome. I'll remember the day I read this post...that's for sure.

  4. I don't even know what to think about fried dill pickles. However, if they are associated with Elvis, they can't be all bad. I spent my childhood watching Elvis movies every Saturday afternoon. My parents had his albums and sang all of his songs. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  5. Oh my goodness...all I can think of is the trailers of Jersey Shore with Snooki being so excited about fried pickles...

    But I trust you, so I may give this a try...

  6. Are really sure he's still dead? My husband would love the pickles. they look great Dave.

    I read your post about leaving the islands. I am so proud of Jackie and I don't even know her. Tell her thank you!

  7. Great recipe, but I can't even imagine how many calories are in these! lol And I was a lifeguard at 4-H camp, too!

  8. great way to remember the King! i've been wanting to try these for some time now!

  9. wow, deep fried pickles, never had that before! I just posted Elvis Presley's fav pound cake recipe!

  10. Trevor loves fried pickles and since we recently bought a deep fryer, these need to be on our short list. Thanks for posting. must be thrilled to have Killians again:)