Fresh watermelon is practically synonymous with summer in the South, especially when you're planning an al fresco dinner or grilling out with friends. This recipe takes things up a notch – why not treat your guests to fried watermelon bites made with a beer-infused batter? This creative take on watermelon comes from Chef Ryan Burke with Twain’s Brewpub & Billiards in Decatur, GA, who frequently incorporates the restaurant’s house-brewed beers into the spot's Southern-inspired menu. This unique appetizer recipe soaks watermelon in a zesty marinade of lime, red wine vinegar, and chili sauce before dunking into a cayenne pepper-and-IPA batter.
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons chili sauce
1 lime (zest only)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 seedless watermelon, peeled and diced into cubes
IPA Fry Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rice flour
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon dried cayenne pepper
2 cups preferred IPA beer
2 quarts vegetable oil
Fresh arugula (for garnish)
How to Make It
FOR MARINADE: Mix together all ingredients except watermelon. Combine with diced watermelon in a sealable freezer bag, and let as much air out of the bag as possible to ensure all pieces of watermelon are covered. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
FOR FRY BATTER: Mix together dry ingredients. Then, stir in the beer and let rest for one hour.
Heat 2 quarts of vegetable oil to 375˚F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven. Working in small batches, dredge the watermelon pieces in flour then cover them in the batter and gently place into the oil. Allow to fry for about three minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Remove from the fryer and place on paper towels to dry. Pairs well with a crisp salad of arugula.