a deep-frying thermometer; about fourteen 8-inch wooden skewers
Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with about 2 inches of oil and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 375 degrees F.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, paprika and 1 tablespoon of the hot sauce in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Whisk together the milk, cornmeal, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons hot sauce, a large pinch of salt and a generous amount of black pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Fill a 10-inch-tall cup (such as a quart container) about three-quarters of the way with the batter.
Thread an 8-inch wooden skewer lengthwise through each pickle spear so it resembles a corn dog. Working with 2 to 3 pickles at a time, hold the end of the skewers and dip the pickles into the batter to completely coat. Pull the pickles out of the batter (you may need to hold onto the end of the pickles so the skewers don't fall out), immediately transfer to the oil and fry until the batter puffs up and turns a deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pickles to a paper towel-lined plate; sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining pickles and batter, making sure to bring the oil back up to temperature between each batch. Serve with the spicy mayo dip.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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