Everyone’s familiar with chicken nuggets, but did you know there’s a different, more unusual variant of the dish called the beer nugget? This snack is mostly popular in DeKalb, Illinois, according to PMQ. The city discovered the magic of beer nuggets in the 1970s and 1980s, as the appetizer began appearing on menus at mostly pizzerias. What are beer nuggets? Basically, the dish is deep-fried nuggets of pizza dough that come with either cheese sauce or marinara.
Interestingly, no one is quite sure who came up with the original recipe, on account of several eateries in the city claiming that they were the ones to introduce the public to beer nuggets first. Some of the names that have come up as possible birthplaces for the beer nugget include JP Hannigan’s, Pizza Villa, Sgt. Pepper’s, Molly’s Kitchen, and Lukulos Restaurant. As far as the popular story behind the invention goes, it all allegedly started with a group of frustrated workers at a pizzeria one evening. To get rid of their boredom, they started a fight with balls of pizza dough. Someone missed their target, and ended up throwing a dough ball into the deep-fryer, leading to the discovery of beer nuggets.
Per testimonials, beer nuggets live up to their name, as they are the perfect snack when you’re drinking and need some solid, carb-heavy to food keep you going. The co-owner of Pizza Villa, John Finn, told PMQ, “I know kids that come in and get them, and it’s almost like a meal. For five bucks, a couple of kids can get it and split it, and it will definitely fill them up. A lot of kids will get them when they’re done drinking, because all that dough will soak up the alcohol.”
Reddit users have been intrigued by the nuggets for years, and have even shared recipes and tips to recreate the dish at home. One Reddit poster expressed the difficulties they faced while trying to make beer nuggets at home. “You might think that it would be simple to throw some blobs of pizza dough in a mini fryer but alas none of my experiments came close to the original,” they wrote. After a few attempts, the poster finally came across a recipe that felt right, and advised others to do the same. They posted that for the best results, you should use high-quality peanut oil coupled with a deep fryer. Once you’re done making the dish, don’t forget to pair your nuggets with, you know, beer, for the most authentic DeKalb experience.