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Deep Fried Dynasty: Fried Pancake Dreams on a Peanut-Butter Whiskey Budget

This is a ballad of a broken dream, as told through a failed attempt at a fried pancake.

Deep Fried Dynasty airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. on A&E. Come back here every week for Alice Laussade’s recaps.

Now that Deep Fried Dynasty is more than halfway through the State Fair of Texas season, the vendors are trying out some new ideas to help them meet their profit goals for the year.

Christi Erpillo at Fernie’s Funnel Cakes creates a new spiked caramel frappe. It’s a caramel latte with peanut butter whiskey. She free-pours whole bottles of that flavored whiskey into a giant tub of caramel latte and every hangover you’ve ever had after the Texas/OU game at the fair is explained. Erpillo says that the drink is inspired by her mother: “She loved peanut butter and making money.” Is it weird that I now want that to be how people describe me when I go? What could be more Texan? #obitgoals

Brent and Juan Reaves from Smokey John’s create a Crispy Crazy Veggie Bowl to boost their sales. Beer is the only other savory vegetarian dish I’ve ever seen at the fair besides Cassy’s fried greens (which she is struggling with every episode) and corn on the cob, so this seems like a good idea. As it turns out, it’s hard to sell a veggie bowl during the Texas/OU game: they sell 30 veggie bowls and more than 2,000 turkey legs.

Meanwhile, Abel Gonzales is Fried Jesus-ing. As he describes his plan for the day, you realize it’s time to amend your mental list of Jobs That Are Great:

  • Final-Round Mattress Tester – You’re the person who completes the final test of sleeping on a mattress just before it is approved. Your job is already done when you wake up. It’s like Severance, but without the terrifying storyline.
  • Level leveler – You put the bubble in the level. You’re the one we all turn to when we want to know, “That picture on the wall isn’t straight, is it?” You did that.
  • Animal group namer – You’re the one who decided that a group of ferrets should be known as a “business” and that a group of owls is called a “parliament.” So good.
  • Beyoncé – You’re Beyoncé. It’s great.
  • Lemur Bedtime Story Reader – It’s very rewarding.

And now, Vandalay Industries Fried Food Tester. Not every part of the job is glamourous, but when it comes to quality control, Abel Gonzales has a great gig.

Gonzales tastes everything on the menu to make sure that the quality of the product he’s serving meets his fried standards. He tastes fried pizza, fried lobster, fried cookie dough, fried butter, and fried peanut butter and jelly. I can’t even write those words without starting to take deep, labored breaths. This man is made exclusively of powdered sugar and steel.

And then, the music swells and his newest menu item—fried pancake—slow-motion walks into our lives. Fried pancake starts with pancake batter that has been shaped into a ball and deep-fried. Then, they drown it in syrup and you throw it right into your arteries.

He fried. A pancake??? CUSS WORD, y’all.

It’s such a simple, perfect concept: You take everything that’s great about a pancake and make it portable. This. Changes. Everything. You start planning a whole new life for yourself, living in a fried pancake world. You change the way you start writing dates on the calendar, and everything before this moment is BFP (Before Fried Pancake) and everything after is MOBC (Making Only Bad Choices). You throw every vegetable in your home into the garbage and you don’t compost it. Who even cares? Team Fried Pancake. Forget a modern farmhouse. You want a fried pancake house.

Even though you’re watching this episode on television at a time when the State Fair of Texas isn’t open, your heart begins campaigning: “I must eat this. Everything in moderation, right? We just figure out how much fried pancake is moderate fried pancake, and then we’re fine—Oh, good. He added more syrup. Obviously.”

But that’s when disaster strikes: Gonzales finds out that the fried butter has no butter inside, which means it was overcooked. As he slowly walks over to the fried pancakes, you panic. They, too, have been overcooked. The fried pancakes are ruined.

Gonzales begins to sweat. (Whether that’s related to all the fried food he just inhaled is unclear.) He lectures to his staff that the fried pancake batter is a delicate endeavor that must be carefully measured while he turns the tap water faucet on full blast and lets it run right into the batter mix to water it down. Problem solved?

Fair food is an exact science, people. Leave it to the deep-fried professionals. At the end of Texas/OU day, these vendors brought in triple what they’d bring in on a good day. Here’s to football, frappes and fried pancakes.


Alice Laussade

Alice Laussade

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