Monday, October 31, 2016

Texas State Fair Corny Dogs

So I don't get out to the Texas State Fair much these days.  It's just too crowded and there's a few too many carnies for my liking, but one thing I always loved about this annual fest were the corn dogs, or 'corny dogs' as we grew up calling them here in Texas.  If you've never had a corny dog fresh from the fryer at the State Fair of Texas, well, my friend, you've missed out.  They are so flavorful, the batter so crispy on the outside, so flakey and buttery on the inside...such a treat.  Even though I don't do the fair anymore, I still get a hankering for these babies.  What do to?  Well, make my own, of course.

The folks that fry these fancy little feasts on a stick, Fletchers, purports to have invented the corny dog, and who am I to argue with them.  They won't budge on their secret recipe, though, so I experimented around with some various corny dog recipes I found until I got one that tasted pretty close to what I had at the fair.  Give 'em a shot.  They're surprisingly simple to make, particularly if you do them 'mini style' as I've done here.


1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 Tablespoon corn oil
2 Tablespoons honey
10 hot dogs
10 wooden skewers 
1 Quart Peanut Oil

Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix

Add egg, buttermilk, corn oil and honey to this, stir until a thick batter forms

Heat peanut oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  I use a small saucepan and fill it up to about an inch and a half below the top.  This should be about a quart or so of oil.

Next.  Prep the hot dogs.  First off, get good quality all-beef hot dogs.  I find the Hebrew National brand to be quite good.  They make a jumbo size frank that is close to twice as thick as a regular run o the mill hot dog.

I find these work better for corny dogs, as they are easier to skewer, give you more meat, and a larger surface area for that delicious batter to coat.  Now, one of the difficulties with making your own corny dogs at home is getting them to fry up perfect.  Problem is, most people don't have a deep enough fryer to fully immerse the corny dog so that it cooks evenly.   And you don't want to lay the corny dog down in a wide shallow fryer, as they float and thus all sides won't cook evenly.  So, the solution, making half length mini-corn dogs.

This way, a simple sauce pan can hold enough oil to fully immerse the corny dog.  It works great, and if you tell me you are sad because you are getting a smaller dog, I will simply point out, as our friend mathematics will tell you--just eat twice as many, and you'll get the same amount.   See, no problem at all.

So, take the franks out of their packaging and cut them in half.

Try to make them all even lengths so they'll take about the same amount of time to fry.  Next, skewer them with a wooden skewer.  You can probably find the flat Popsicle-like sticks that they use at the fair if you look hard enough, but I just use the cheap skewers I keep on hand in a kitchen drawer from when I make Satay or Shish-Kababs.  These work fine.  Make sure you skewer them almost all the way though so the frank won't come off when you're frying.

Next, pour some of the batter into a tall glass

Dip hot dog in the glass of batter

until well coated

Note, let some of the batter drip off of the dog before you move it over your hot oil, otherwise you'll have some drip off in the oil and make little batter pearls that you'll have to fish out before they burn. Anyhoo, plunge the battered dog down into the oil

and fry for two minutes or until golden brown on outside.  Something like this:

Repeat with the rest of the hot dogs.  Note, if you're brave, you can probably fry two at once, but really they cook so fast you probably should just do one at a time.  Hot oil is not something to trifle with, and I treat it with respect.  The bamboo skewers I use are nice because they are long and allow me to keep my hands far from the hot oil.

As each corny dog is done, place them on paper towels to drain.

Then serve them with some good old cheap yeller mustard or the condiment of your choice.

All, note that crispy, golden batter on the outside, bready and sweet on the inside--heaven on a stick, my friends.

Y'all be sure to try these soon, ya hear!