I was watching Paula Deen a few weeks ago (I adore her to pieces, btw. When, o when is she going to invite me over for coffee?) when she announced that she was going to show us how to make “Co-wern Dahgs.” I almost didn’t have time to ponder her impressive and delightful ability to pull a second syllable out of a one-syllable word, because my thoughts instantly went to the Fair. Am I the only person who attends the Fair primarily to eat corn dogs? When I was younger, I ate a minimum of two every time we went. Over the years, I’ve had to cut that down to one. Which is why it was probably a very not-smart idea for me to learn how to make these, because how am I going to stop at one when I’m staring at a big ol’ plate of them, and there’s no co-wern dahg hawker in my kitchen, holding them ransom for $4 a piece?
Here’s Paula’s recipe, with a little tweaking from me. I added Tony Chechere’s seasoning salt, cut the sugar down, and bumped up the buttermilk. Any way you do it, it’s pretty hard to mess these up. And why the 3 packages of hot dogs? Because a) you might as well do a little batch cooking as long as you’re at it. You can always freeze whatever doesn’t get eaten and just reheat later. And b) Well, people are going to sense that you’ve made these. You’re probably going to have a lot of unexpected company lining up in your kitchen. You might consider erecting a rollercoaster in your back yard right quick and making a batch of scones, because they’ll be looking for those next.
Fair-Worthy Corn Dogs
- 3 pkgs all-beef hot dogs
- about 1 cup cornstarch
- 3 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- 5 TBSP sugar
- 2 tsp Tony Chechere’s Creole Seasoning Salt
- 2 1/2-3 cups buttermilk
- oil for frying
- wooden skewers (optional)
First, decide if you want to leave each hot dog whole, cut in half, or cut in three pieces. Paula cut hers in three, but I opted for some whole and some in half. If you decide to use skewers, soak those in water for an hour before frying so they don’t burn when you fry them.
Get out two big-enough containers and put the cornstarch in one, and the cornmeal, buttermilk, flour, sugar and seasoning salt (well-mixed) in the other. I found that if this mixture was too thick, it didn’t stick as well to the hot dogs. So keep the buttermilk at the ready in case you need another splash or two.
Start heating your oil. I used a Fry Daddy set to 340 degrees, but you can also use a frying pan with a good depth of oil. Just keep an eye on it while you’re doing this next step:
Take each hot dog on a skewer (or hot dog piece) and roll it first in the cornstarch, and then in the batter. You really must use the cornstarch or the hot dogs won’t stick at all to the batter.
A big serving fork works nicely for lifting the skewer-less pieces out of the batter.
Now drop them into your oil, being careful not to crowd them. The biggest challenge I had was trying to keep the pieces from sticking to the bottom of my Fry Daddy basket. I found that if I hold them in the oil with the fork for a few seconds before letting them go, that helped. I also tried to turn them once a few seconds after that so they didn’t have time to immediately cement themselves to the basket. If you have any better tips than this, please let me know!
Fry until golden. It only takes about five minutes.
Drain on a paper towel …
… and take a moment to clean up any stray crunchies. See that little ribbon of cornmeal-deliciousness? Do you really want to leave that? Do you want your guest to have to deal with that? I didn’t think so. It’s all but screaming, “Please remove me.” What you do with it from here is your business.
Ahh … Corn dog love. And it isn’t even September.