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This Man Revolutionized Fried Food With An OREO

It’s opening day of the OC Fair, and Charlie Boghosian is being pulled into so many different directions, it’s a surprise his limbs haven’t fallen off. His phone is ringing off the hook, as every local morning news program covering the fair wants a piece of his new deep-fried goodies. As he walks toward his newest “Pineapple Express” stand to see what’s going on in the kitchen, his family arrives at the fair. His oldest daughter Abby, 6, passes by, realizes it’s him and yells, “Daddy!”

It’s total chaos as summer fair season kicks off in Southern California, and as is the case every year for the last 20+ years, “Chicken Charlie” is the man of the hour, every hour.

“Let’s take this into my office,” Boghosian tells me, as the attention storm seemingly passes and he finally gets a chance to breathe and give his wife and four children proper hugs.

His office is a trailer behind one of his four food stands within the Orange County Fairgrounds. Before we go inside, we walk by a graveyard of pineapple boxes, easily in the hundreds, as he debuts a deep-fried pineapple on a stick, to accompany his classic hollowed out pineapple bowls.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Boghosian

With beads of sweat dripping from his brow, the 95-degree Southern California heat was in full effect, but still not stopping the hottest summertime commodity.

Boghosian is living the classic American dream: At the tender age of 11, his family immigrated to the U.S. from Syria, with dreams of working toward a better life. Boghosian took those dreams into a new dimension, however, creating a name for himself as the “Fry King,” and bringing off-kilter concepts into the mainstream, paving the way for the mind-blowing fried fair foods that have now become commonplace.

Charlie and his father atop the World Trade Center on their first day in the U.S./Photo courtesy of Charlie Boghosian

Make no mistake, that very American Dream that Charlie is living, has been molded by the fair.

Before foods such as fried Kool-Aid or bacon-wrapped pickles launched him into stardom, Boghosian was a kid who just wanted to get out of the routine of working at his dad’s San Diego grocery store.

“I saw an ad for the [San Diego County] fair, Del Mar Fair at the time,” Boghosian recalls. “I said, ‘Hey, Dad, can I go get a job at the fair? We can call it my vacation.'”

His dad gave him permission, and Boghosian worked the 1984 summer with a fair vendor by the name of Robert Jackson, who sold charbroiled corn at the Del Mar Fair and showed him the ropes.

What was supposed to be a break from monotony for Boghosian, turned into 12 straight summers of working the fair with Jackson.

With two criminal justice degrees in hand from San Diego State University, Boghosian was done with school. But instead of joining the force like he originally planned, he knew his true passion was making people smile with the power of food.

Deep-Fried Filet Mignon/Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

The inspiration for his fried foods can come from anywhere, whether it’s strolling through the supermarket or sitting at a drive-thru. However, there are times that Boghoshian’s innovation comes, literally, from home.

Charlie and his wife Dawn Boghosian will take a couple of days out of the year to gather friends and family for what they call “Fry Fests.” The Fry Fests are a free-for-all at their San Diego home, and some items even make it onto the fair menu, like the iconic deep-fried Kool-Aid.

“They’re fun, crazy and a whole lot of mess, but all worth it,” Dawn Boghosian said of the backyard Fry Fests. “We invite whoever wants to be part of our shenanigans—family, friends…anyone who’s a little creative and likes to eat.”

Charlie with Guy Fieri/Photo courtesy of Charlie Boghosian

Boghosian recalls 1996 being special, as it was the year he took the fair into his own hands. After purchasing a vendor’s old broasted chicken trailer, and re-branding it as “Chicken Charlie’s,” Boghosian finally decided to take what he learned the last 12 years, and start his own fair food legacy.

After a couple of years selling broasted chicken, Charlie felt he needed to mix things up from just chicken and fries — that’s when the deep-fried Oreo was born.

“I went to the Hostess rack at 7-Eleven and started frying everything under the sun,” Boghosian said. “The Oreo cookie ended up being the best tasting one.”

Being a huge fan of McDonald’s growing up, Boghosian was inspired by the McDonald’s apple pie, which was previously fried before the 1992 baked version debuted. He knew his chicken needed a sweet pairing, and the Oreo experiment ended up being a hit.

Content with the deep-fried Oreo’s success, Charlie didn’t even anticipate going any further with fried items, but when pressed for more by a reporter at the Fresno County Fair, Boghosian felt he had to think of a way to top himself the next year.

“I was like, ‘Well, I fried an Oreo and it was delicious. Everyone loved it. What do you guys want?” Boghosian remembered.

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An expectation of new fried foods was set, and Charlie wanted to deliver.

The following years, Boghosian started deep frying strawberries, bananas, pretzels, and even avocados — and the reputation of Chicken Charlie catapulted into stuff of legend.

“I’ll deep fry just about anything I can get my hands on. I’m looking at your glasses right now, and I want to fry them,” teased Charlie.

For the summer of 2018, Chicken Charlie’s hot new item is deep-fried filet mignon, where he fried 7,000 pounds of the premium cut for the San Diego County Fair alone. You’d never expect that a steak that’s considered a top cut, would work as a deep-fried food, but Charlie made it work, deliciously.

To produce such a massive frying operation for the fair, Chicken Charlie requires five truckloads, carrying around 22 pallets full of frying oil. Not to mention another two truckloads for the flour that coats all these delicious fried concoctions.

And the fairs love it all.

“Charlie is a great ambassador for the OC Fair and his innovative creations keep fairgoers coming back year after year to see what’s new, and what’s crazy,” Terry Moore OC Fair spokesperson said. “He has a knack for combining things that shouldn’t work together, but do. He really is an institution at the OC Fair.”

Being in fairs across California, Texas, and Arizona, Boghosian has launched an unexpected food career that has transitioned into the brick-and mortar Chicken Charlie’s FRYBQ in San Diego, California. At the FRYBQ, Boghosian offers an array of fried foods that he has built his name with, along with some less intense salads and wraps, for those who need a breather from all the fried food madness.

Grilled teriyaki chicken and rice inside a pineapple bowl/Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

Now, Charlie is opening a second San Diego location, as he envisions his restaurant becoming a nationwide chain, and eventually even finding a spot on The Las Vegas Strip.

“I want to be a legit restaurateur and have restaurants across America,” a determined Boghosian expressed. “My dream is to have a restaurant in Las Vegas, on the strip. Las Vegas, here I come.”

Chicken Charlie sure has come a long way from the young boy who just wanted a new summer job.

“Coming to America as a young kid, I wanted to work. I wanted to do great things. Who knew a little Oreo cookie would change my life the way it did?”

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Cravings Hit-Or-Miss Sweets

The Food At This Year’s OC Fair Will NOT Disappoint

The much anticipated OC Fair menu has arrived and it does not disappoint. The beloved fair will run from July 15 to August 14. We were only able to get our hands on a few photos since most of these are going to be run for the VERY FIRST TIME this year, so hashtag #FOODBEAST when you get your hands on them! Some of the new additions to the famous fried food scene include:

Chicken and Waffles ON A STICK – This delicious waffle is fried with CHICKEN IN IT. Chicken Charlie’s remarkable creation will be available throughout the entirety of the fair.

Dole Whip – This alone is worth the trip to the fair. The pineapple soft serve used to be exclusive to the 808 state, then made its way to Disneyland and is now popping up all over the US at places like Menchies, Orange Leaf, and Peachwave FroYo shops to name a few.

French Toast Bacon Bombs – This glorious combo is comprised of a deep fried, bacon wrapped, cream cheese stuffed ball of french toast finished with a delightful dusting of cinnamon sugar. I’m totally drooling.

French-Toast-Bacon-Bomb

Bacon Nutella PICKLE – So, a funnel cake and a pickle had a threesome with Nutella and this happened. This Nutella stuffed pickle is doused in funnel cake batter then tossed into the fryer for a healthy coating of fluffiness.

S’moreo Texas Donut – Texas has a reputation for making very, very large donuts, and the OC Fair is taking the extra large treat to a whole new level by adding marshmallow cream, Oreo, and graham cracker crumble.

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Diabilito Sundae – This sweet and spicy combo is a “Tamarindo” flavored ice cream with a hot chili chamoy sauce, which is typically made from pickled fruit and added chillies for a salty, sweet AND sour flavor profile.

Kool Aid Hot Wings – Chicken Charlie’s puts another W in the win column with this Orange Kool Aid-Spiced wings.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 3.08.40 PM

Other menu options include Pork Belly Bacon Dogs, Deep Fried Pizza Logs, Bacon Wrapped Baked Potatoes, Shrimp Fried Rice on a Stick, and Lasagna Sandwiches.

They’ll also be serving up Bison Burgers, Organic Meat options, and Nitrate Free Hot Dogs so you can feel a little better about your carnivorous indulgences. A full list of foods that will be available can be found on the OC Fair Website.

 

 

Photo Credit: OC Fair

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#foodbeast

Spicy Tuna Corn Dog

spicy-tuna-corn-dog

Recipe: Culinary Bro-Down

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#foodbeast

Bratwurst Lollipop

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Available in Madison, WI, this Bratwurst Lollipop is a bratwurst patty that’s been dipped in funnel cake batter, fried to golden perfection, and comes served with maple syrup.

PicThx: That’s Nerdalicious 

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#foodbeast

Grilled Cheese Sticks Lovingly Wrapped with Bacon

bacon-wrapped-cheese-sticks

Recipe: Dude Foods

Categories
Recipes

How to Make Ramen-Crusted Chicken Wings

ramen-chicken-wings

This video comes from our friends and partner site POPSUGAR FOOD. Originally written by Brandi Milloy.

Long gone are the days of instant ramen merely serving as fodder for broke college kids. Chefs around the world are experimenting with the boldly flavored noodles, creating dishes like Keizo Shimamoto’s Ramen Burger. Inspired, we created a ramen-enhanced take on another fast-food favorite: wings. These crisply crusted bites, as seen on the Today show, will make you rethink ramen.

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Ramen-Crusted Chicken Wings

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

Ingredients

1 pound chicken wings

For the dry batter:
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the wet batter:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 packet ramen seasoning
  • 2 packages Top Ramen, crumbled
  • 1 quart vegetable, peanut, or canola oil

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon scallions, finely chopped

Directions

  1. Rinse chicken wings in cold water, and pat dry.
  2. Mix together dry batter ingredients in a bowl, and set aside. Mix together wet batter ingredients in a separate bowl. Break apart the dry ramen into a third bowl. You want the pieces to be small enough that they will stick to the chicken but large enough that they still have their shape.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or electric deep fryer to 350°F. Line a half-sheet pan with paper towels.
  4. Working in small batches, dredge the chicken wings in the dry batter. Shake off any excess, and dip the wings in the wet batter. Brush off any excess batter with a food-safe brush.
  5. Fry the wings for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally for even browning. Let the wings drain on the paper-towel-lined half-sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining wings.
  6. Dip the par-cooked wings back in the wet batter, and brush off any excess batter. Coat the wings in the crumbled ramen.
  7. Fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until the outside has browned and is crisp.
  8. Meanwhile, mix together the sriracha, rice wine vinegar, and scallions. Serve the wings hot with the dipping sauce.

Note: Before you start, check out these tips and tricks for safely deep-frying.

More Popsugar eats to check out:

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Cravings

Deep-Fried Meatballs Stuffed with Cheese and Spaghetti Noodles, Because Arteries Are Overrated

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Raise your hand if you love spaghetti and meatballs! If you didn’t raise your paw, we’re not friends. What makes this dish timeless is its simplicity and ability to be made in a variety of innovative ways (see: Pizzaghetti). Of course, leave it to  Nick at Dude Foods to bring this classic eat to a new level of delicious with his Deep-Fried Spaghetti and Meatballs.

It all starts with a cube of mozzaralla wrapped with spaghetti noodles, which is then packed inside a meat orb and baked to perfection. But it doesn’t stop there — Nick deep fried these bad boys and topped ’em with marinara sauce and Parmesan. OH, baby.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

It doesn’t get much better than niblet-sized, deep fried and cheese-stuffed, now does it?

PicThx Dude Foods

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Cravings

It’s a Deep-Fried Bacon Cheeseburger, because ‘MURRICA

deep-fried-cheeseburger

Since we’re ringing in our country’s birthday this week, there’s really no better way to celebrate than by feasting on some delicious eats. And since deep frying makes everything better (See: mac and cheese burger bun and cookie dough balls), it’s about time someone took the liberty to create the most patriotic dish we’ve ever come across — a deep fried bacon cheeseburger with a side of clogged arteries.

First off, Nick over at Dude Foods rules. Remember those bacon nachos of insanity? That ain’t got nothin’ on this greasy mound of deliciousness. It’s a bacon cheeseburger + all the fixings in a beautiful orb of fried dough. Yez plz.

deep-fried-cheeseburger-deux

So be the brave soul this 4th, and impress the hell out of your friends with this nugget of perfection. And make some for us.

H/T + PicThx Dude Foods