Heat 1-inch vegetable oil of moderate to medium high heat. If you wish to test the oil, add a 1-inch cube of bread to hot oil. If it turns deep golden brown in color in a count of 40, the oil is ready.
Trim ends of onion and peel. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and separate rings.
Mix together pancake mix and beer, season with paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper or hot sauce. Batter should be thick. If it gets too thick, add a splash more beer. Working in small batches of 5 to 6 slices, coat rings of onion in batter and fry 4 to 5 minutes, until evenly golden brown. Turn onions over so that both sides get puffed and cooked. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season o-nuts with salt while hot. Repeat with remaining ingredients. When all the onions are dipped and fried, turn off oil to cool before discarding.