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Cocktail Corndogs

Piglets in a cornmeal sleeping bag.
difficulty:
yield:

24 mini (1½-inch) corndogs

time:

About 30 minutes

introduction

Corndogs and tragic puns. What a combo. Almost like ketchup and mustard. You think corndogs are junk food, right? You’re thinking of that Tums commercial, right? The one where the mustard-coated corndog whips a man about the face at a state fair (the corndog’s favorite hangout). Yeah, but . . .

Yeah, but these corndogs are different! They’re made with our cornmeal, for starters. That alone throws them into high-flavor frenzy. For another thing, they are small. A tender little fried-cornbread husk with a crisp one-and-half-inch dog inside. Additionally, we did a quick onion pickle in balsamic and mixed it with mustard for the dipping sauce. No cheap neon “yeller” mustard in sight.

These cocktail corndogs are fantastic with beer or bourbon, or any other chilled appetite-stimulating beverage.

Cooking Remarks

As much as we love natural-casing hotdogs and the juicy snap they offer, the casing acts as a barrier to full cooperation between cornbread batter and dog. We recommend uncured hotdogs, which typically have no nitrites or nitrates and may even be organic.

We’re suggesting you buy a Fry Daddy. His fry canister is deep and rather narrow, he heats up in a hurry, and he’s cheap. Fry Daddy don’t bother with settings or even an on/off switch, so in those respects he’s kind of a deadbeat dad, but he gets the job done without any gimmicks. Of course, you can fry in anything. Having a vessel about 7 inches high and 6 inches in diameter and the ability to twirl the wooden skewers around in the oil, however, is essential for this recipe.

equipment mise en place

To make the dipping sauce, you will need a heavy-bottomed small saucepan and a small bowl for serving.

To make the corndogs, you will need a medium bowl and a couple of small bowls; a whisk; a small saucepan; a Fry Daddy; a large plate; a tall drinking glass; an instant-read thermometer; 10-inch wooden skewers; and 8-inch wooden skewers or cocktail picks for serving.

  • for the dipping sauce:

    • 5
      ounces (⅔ cup) good-quality balsamic vinegar
    • 1.5
      ounces (2 tablespoons) pure maple syrup
    • 1
      Turkish bay leaf
    • Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
    • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
    • 4.5
      ounces (1 cup) minced sweet onion
    • Dijon mustard
  • for the corndogs:

    • 7
    • 1
      ounce (3 tablespoons) Anson Mills Colonial Style Fine Cloth-Bolted Pastry Flour or unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for dredging the dogs
    • 1
      teaspoon baking powder
    • 1
      teaspoon sugar
    • Scant 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • ½
      teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ¼
      teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 6
      ounces (¾ cup) whole milk
    • 0.5
      ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
    • 1
      large egg, room temperature
    • 8
      uncured hotdogs
    • 6
      cups peanut oil
  1.  

    Make the dipping sauce: In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the balsamic, maple, bay, salt, and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to combine. Stir in the onions and return to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and let the pickled onions cool completely (fig. 1.1). Spoon some pickled onions into a small bowl (taking very little balsamic with them) and mix in Dijon mustard to taste. Set the dipping sauce aside until you’re ready to serve.

  2.  

    Spoon some pickled onions into a small bowl (taking very little balsamic with them) and mix in Dijon mustard to taste. Set the dipping sauce aside until you’re ready to serve.

  3.  

    Make the corndogs: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, pastry flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until steaming, throw in the butter, and allow the butter to melt. Let cool to lukewarm. 

  4.  

    In a small bowl, whisk the egg until homogenous, and then whisk in the milk mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula just until the batter is evenly moist; as with cornbread batter, expect some lumps to remain. Set the batter aside for 10 minutes to let the cornmeal hydrate; after resting, it should be thick enough to hang heavily on the dogs when you dip them.

  5.  

    Dry the hot dogs on paper towels and cut each into thirds. Skewer each piece on a 10-inch wooden skewer. Put about ½ cup of pastry flour in a small bowl for dredging.

  6.  

    Pour the oil into your Fry Daddy and plug in the appliance. Line a large plate with a double thickness of paper towels. Pour as much batter as will fit into a tall drinking glass. Dredge 4 to 6 dog pieces in the flour so that they’re evenly coated and knock off the excess flour (fig. 6.1). When the oil registers 360 to 370 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, dip a dog into the batter in the glass, making sure it’s well coated on all sides (fig. 6.2). Plunge the dog into the hot oil. Batter and cook as many dog pieces as will fit comfortably in the frying vessel (fig. 6.3). Fry until the coating is deeply browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes, swirling the corndogs in the oil with their wooden skewers so that they brown evenly. Lift the corndogs out of the oil and transfer them to the paper towel–lined plate (fig. 6.4). Remove the 10-inch skewers and replace them with 8-inch wooden skewers or cocktail picks for serving. Dredge, batter, and fry the remaining dog pieces, refilling the glass with batter as needed and allowing the oil to come back up to temperature after each batch. Serve the corndogs hot, passing the dipping sauce alongside.

    1. 1.1
    1. 6.1
    2. 6.2
    3. 6.3
    4. 6.4