I love a good hot dog and I love a good hot dog even more when it's encased in a cornmeal batter and deep-fried. I love them enough that I included the recipe in my cookbook. Sadly, I'm often disappointed when I encounter a carnival corndog. There's nothing worse than a bland, mushy hot dog wrapped in soggy breading (although there is a vendor at Applefest every year that has decent hand-dipped corn dogs) and a few years ago (when I was writing the cookbook), I set out to crack the corn dog code.
Turns out, it's like everything else -- the raw ingredients are key to a kickass finished product. And in this case, the hot dogs from South Shore Meats are first-rate -- dense, meaty, and just enough seasoning to remind you that you are, indeed, eating a sausage. The rest of recipe is pretty simple -- make a batter (with the consistency slightly thicker than pancake batter), heat some oil, and fry. These are best eaten right away -- a soggy corn dog is a sad corn dog.
Good Corn Dogs
(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
3 cups pancake mix
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 whole egg, slightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup water, plus more if needed to thin batter
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
12 South Shore Meats all-beef hot dogs
Rhubarb Ketchup (recipe here)
In a large bowl, combine pancake mix and cornmeal. Stir to combine. Add egg and buttermilk. Add 1 cup water and stir, adding more water as needed for the batter to become slightly thick but not overly gloopy.
Heat peanut or vegetable oil over medium-high heat to 375°F in a cast-iron skillet. Drop in a bit of batter to see if it’s ready; the batter will immediately start to sizzle but should not immediately brown or burn.
Insert sticks into hot dogs lengthwise so they’re two-thirds of the way through. Pour the batter into a large drinking glass or quart-sized canning jar. Dip the hot dogs into the batter and allow excess to drip off for a couple of seconds. Cooking two corn dogs at a time, carefully drop them into the oil (stick and all) and use tongs or a spoon to make sure they don’t hit the bottom and stick. Using the tongs, rotate to ensure even browning, and cook until the batter is deep golden brown, about 4–5 minutes. Remove from the oil and continue with remaining corn dogs.