I have expressed my concerns here about the infiltration of restaurant brands into the grocery aisles on many occasions. While I realize these companies (or their licensees) are trying to extend their brand names and develop new sources of revenues, very rarely is the product anywhere near the taste / texture of what you will find at the restaurant. Usually a disappointment with very few exceptions.
Unless you live in a cave, you know about Nathan’s Hot Dog stand at Coney Island in New York City. If for no other reason than they are the sponsor of the annual 4th of July hot dog eating contest – the one hour of the year I can bear to watch ESPN.
They are the fifth largest seller of packaged weenies in US grocery stores, and over the past couple of years, they have extended their brand by manufacturing and distributing snack foods to grocery stores. The line includes pickles, condiments, salty snacks, and a couple of frozen items, fries and rings. I’ve tried a few of these types of products from other brands, including the Steak N Shake and Fatburger frozen burgers, and Red Robin’s fries.
So tonight it’s Nathan’s frozen rings, there are about 30 in a bag (six servings, it says), and the ingredients are: Onions, Wheat Flour, Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil, Beer (Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast, Salt), Corn Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Dextrose, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Whey (Milk), Guar Gum, Spice and Coloring, Natural Flavors, Spices, Sorbitol. Contains: Wheat, Milk.
The directions call for placing them on a cookie sheet, sprayed with pam, baking the frozen rings at 400 for 14-16 minutes, turning once.
I don’t know how these compare to the rings at the restaurants, I’ve never had them. How’s this product? It had the potential to be great. The breading crisped up nicely, which surprised me, and the slices of onions were generous. However, over all, I thought they were awful. They had a distinctively odd taste, which for me, went back and forth between being reminiscent of freezer burn or being fried in old oil.
Just not appealing.
(Update, 3 weeks later). I had a half bag left and tried again. Ignoring the baking instructions, I had them in the oven with something else at 450 for 22 minutes. The results were much more satisfactory this way.
Fast food generally does a miserable job with onion rings, and Burger King leads the pack of bad rings. Are there any good ones? I think so. I think the Arby’s steakhouse rings are pretty good, if they are made when you order them.
Find a store near you that carries Nathan’s products, or buy them online here.
Nathans Frozen Onion Rings