I actually bought The Hooters Cookbook about a month before I ever stepped foot into a Hooters. Though the recipes in the book sounded great, it was finding out that Hooters served Deep Fried Pickles that sent me to the newly opened Hooters in my area.
When the Hooters opened this summer locally, I joked with Mr. L that we should check it out (he had never been to a Hooters either) but it wasn't on the top of my list of 'need to try' restaurants. It was when the woman I was training mentioned that she thought they served Deep Fried Pickles that I decided to make a trip there. I've only had deep fried dills once (and that was about ten years ago at a Cajun restaurant in Denver) but I've been craving them and looking for them on menus ever since. Since it turned out that my trainee and I were both dill pickle freaks we decided a trip after work to sample Hooters version would be in order. Of course when our husbands found out that we were making this foray into uncharted territory, they both volunteered to go with us to Hooters to help us try out those fried dills. Should I mention that neither husband ate more than one fried dill pickle chip? Actually, the dill pickle chips were not that good. The pickles were sliced so thin that when you ate one of the pickle chips all you tasted was batter...very little dill pickle flavor. Both my trainee and I were disappointed.
Now Hooters itself was very interesting. We went right after work which put us in Happy Hour. Where we were greeted by Hooter Girls in tight tops and short shorts, attempting to hula hoop. Where for $3 you could get ten wings in your choice of flavors. Not to mention cheap beer. With sports related events on the big screen tv's. And Hooters Girls. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that they weren't nice or pretty, it's just...they definitely were not women. Most looked to be barely over 18. The husbands commented on how each one had such nice long hair (while my trainee and I laughed because we could see most had extensions). Lets just say I was not impressed that several had, er, muffin tops. Those tight outfits show a bit of all the wrong things if you know what I mean. Yes, they all wore nice push up bras so that the melons were all perky for everyone to see. Our waitresses were quite nice and friendly and I honestly had no problem with them. There were groups there with young children, there were older couples (and I mean my Grandparents age older) and there were groups of men. Yes, the Hooter Girls did treat the tables of "just men" different (watch how they lean against the tables when it's just a table of guys). But it wasn't an x-rated type joint at all and I'd have no problem taking kids or my parents there to eat. Pubescent young hormonal boys though, might be a different matter.
Would I go back to visit? Actually yes, the not so great Deep Fried Pickles aside, the wings were really good and you couldn't beat the Happy Hour prices.
Since I liked the wings so much, I figured that would be the first thing I'd make out of the Hooters Cookbook. But after watching those girls do their hula hoop show I was concerned about cooking from the book...less Mr. L expect a show of his own (not that I couldn't put on a show, I was just concerned about doing it in the kitchen while messing with hot oil). Since I've never made wings before, I decided to start out with the simple, easy, standard wing recipe from the book.
These turned out to be incredibly simple to make, hot in flavor and very delicious. We used our little deep fryer and there was very little grease to the wings. Having never fried chicken wings before, I was a bit surprised at how much shrinkage to the wings there were. Even though our wings weren't greasy they were pretty messy to eat. Not sure how they make the sauce "stick" to the wings as the photo in the book shows a much dryer looking wing, but we didn't mind. I kept rubbing my chicken wings in any sauce that accumulated on the plate. Though I did dip a few of the wings in ranch dressing, I ate most, like Mr. L, with just the sauce. Simple, basic, easy. This goes in the "we make often" category.
18 chicken wings
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup hot red pepper sauce
Vegetable oil, for frying
Bleu cheese dressing, for dipping
Cut the chicken wings into three sections and discard the wing tips.
Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the hot sauce and remove from heat. Set aside.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a large frying pan or deep-fat fryer to 360 degrees F. Fry the wings in batches, without crowding them, for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Brush the wings with the spicy butter mixture and serve warm with the bleu cheese dressing for dipping. Makes 3 servings (served two for us).
Note: I used butter. I used Tabasco Sauce. We substituted ranch dressing for bleu cheese.
Note: We fried these in our little deep fryer. It took about ten minutes for each batch.
Note: I'm sure different hot sauces will result in different flavors. We plan on trying a few of the different hot sauces we have in the cupboard on subsequent batches. Mr. L took the wing tips and fried those up and ate them with leftover sauce for a "snack".
These really were tasty and a great recipe to start with when it comes to wings. I plan on trying Hooters Beer-Battered version, along with their Waikiki Wings next.
Note: No hula hoops were harmed in the making of this recipe.