Ah, summer. There’s nothing like it! Lakes, camping, fishing, hammocks, sandals. It’s also that time of year when the stampede comes to town. Whether you live in a small town or giant city, chances are for a few days this summer there will be rides, games and deep-fried foods tempting you to part with your cash (and for some of us, our inhibitions). We wander among the throng of thrill seekers, looking to win that giant stuffed panda for our main squeeze. The brave wait in seemingly unmoving line-ups, only to get the bejeebers scared out of them for ten seconds on some sort of Drop of Doom. Some of us will ride around in teacups and pretend we are still young. But all most of us want when we walk through the gates is food that is bad for us. The more deep-fried, the better. Enter the corn dog. It’s a once a year treat, a guilty pleasure among the many to be had on a typical fairground this summer.
If heading to the Stampede grounds isn’t your thing, and yet you crave a corndog, I’m here to tell you that making your own at home is super easy. Plus, no parking nightmares, and no line-ups! First off, this involves deep-frying so safety first is number one. Make sure your pot is wide and deep, to prevent any spurts of oil coming your way. Heat oil to the proper temperature, too. This will ensure even cooking. Use long tongs when handling the dogs, and never move oil while it is still hot.
The batter is simple flour, cornmeal, buttermilk and eggs. I added some smoked paprika, cumin and dry mustard to jazz things up a bit. While the oil heats, make the batter and skewer the wieners. Pour the batter into something narrow and deep, like a small pitcher or drinking glass. Submerge the skewered hot dogs completely into the batter, then carefully slide into hot oil. It only takes a few minutes for them to turn golden brown use your tongs to flip them over, if you need to. Remove, drain on paper towels and serve with gussied up mustard and ketchup. Eat these crispy corn dogs while they are hot. And there you have it carnival food to make at home whenever the mood strikes.
But if you still want that giant stuffed panda, you’re on your own there!
Recipe and photo by Renée Kohlman
2 L canola oil for deep-frying
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
¼ cup cane sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp dry mustard
fresh black pepper
1 cup (240 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
8 precooked beef hot dogs or sausages
3 Tbs (45 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tsp (10 mL) maple syrup
3 Tbs (45 mL) ketchup
1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
- Fill a deep, wide pot with the canola oil. Heat over medium high to a temperature of 360º F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
- In a small bowl, beat together the buttermilk and egg. Whisk this into the dry ingredients. Pour into a deep water glass or small pitcher for dunking.
- Stick long skewers into hot dogs. If too long, cut a few inches off skewers you’ll need them to fit into the pot. Dip the wieners into the batter, submerging completely.
- Place two at a time in the hot oil and deep fry until golden brown, turning them over with tongs to ensure even cooking. Remove with tongs onto a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until all wieners are corn dogs.
- Combine mustard and maple syrup together in small bowl.
- Combine ketchup and balsamic vinegar together in small bowl. Serve with corn dogs.
Renée Kohlman is a food writer and pastry chef living in beautiful Saskatoon. She writes restaurant reviews for The Saskatoon StarPhoenix and whips up delicious gluten-free dessert creations at Leyda's Café. Check out her blog sweetsugarbean.com.